Foreign Funding Case


The controversial foreign funding debate had been going round in circles ever since Akbar S Babar issued a rallying cry against the so-called Indian and Jewish lobbies. Now that the Election Commission of Pakistan has spelled an end to the suspiciously sluggish proceedings, the opposition is painting the town red over the Damoclean sword finally falling down on the prime minister. But amid Maulana taking pride in his predictions that came true and PML-N top leadership whipping up a storm with crass (on the borderline of vile) adjectives, has Imran Khan actually landed in a sticky pitch? Quite the contrary!
As per the report, the PTI has been found guilty of concealing 53 bank accounts regarding public funding. A distasteful development for a party making such a strong case for transparency! There has been a string of clarifications from the spokespersons’ brigade but all this could have been easily avoided had a proper trail been given to the Commission in the first place. But nothing more has been brought to the fore.
Still, politics is a game of optics, and any misstep that bears the slightest resemblance with tactics (of other parties) widely slammed as that of a Sicilian mafia would have grave ramifications for not just the party but its boss. No trick from the playbook can let the prime minister off the hook if his reputation gets tainted in the eyes of his electorate. And that appears to be the likely agenda, with leading parties rolling up their sleeves to metastasize the case. While foreign funding itself is a forbidden fruit according to the Elections Act 2017, those harping to the tunes of “Jewish conduits” are indeed trying to cover all grounds. If the PTI is as confident about the order in its house (given the daring proposal to air the hearing live on television), it should honour its word and lend the helping hand to auditors. Information about over Rs 300 million missing from the bank statements should be accounted for! Championing for the supremacy of honest politics goes hand in hand with the very practice of honesty. The goal should not be to fight tooth and nail against the proceedings but to set a new precedent in the country: public probity. Until the books are put out in the open, charades to turn the masses away from the Khan’s government would continue in full swing. Those turning the nonexistent molehill into a mountain are headed for troubling times themselves, because while the PTI has not been red-marked, they have a lot to explain for. What about the sagas that begin at Avenfield, enjoy a pit stop at Aqama, and put the lid over multi-million Panama accounts?