LONDON: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has stolen the National Assembly ticket from a businessman who purportedly renounced his British citizenship at the behest of party founder Imran Khan. The businessman also reportedly paid tens of millions of dollars to secure the former prime minister while he was imprisoned.
Iftikhar Rasool Ghumman, Imran’s chief security advisor, was given a NA-98 ticket by the PTI on January 12 for the Samundari constituency (Faisalabad-IV). However, a week later, the PTI canceled Ghumman’s ticket and gave it to Mumtaz Ahmed, who is currently outside of Pakistan and left the party after signing an affidavit promising to stay out of politics for at least five years.
A copy of the May 20, 2023, affidavit states that Ahmed vowed to abstain from politics for five years, to stay out of politics, and to denounce the violent attacks on Pakistani state institutions on May 9 by PTI workers.
Ghumman began his campaign using the “Radio” symbol assigned to him by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) following the PTI’s confirmation of his NA ticket. Suddenly, and without any reason, the party informed him that his ticket had been withdrawn and that he needed to step down. According to two high-ranking PTI officials, Ghumman received a ticket based on Imran’s “personal instructions,” but that ticket was then modified.
Imran had promised Ghumman a general National Assembly ticket and had given him instructions to “get ready for the elections.”
Ghumman gave up his British citizenship about 16 months ago in order to conform with Pakistani election regulations and to be considered for the PTI ticket before he launched his campaign. The former prime minister had expressed gratitude to Ghumman for giving up his British citizenship and moving permanently to Pakistan in order to join the PTI.
Following Imran’s 2022 no-confidence vote, Ghumman gave Imran foolproof, round-the-clock security, which included ten bomb-proof and bulletproof cars and about twenty professional guards.
He has so far forked up tens of millions of dollars, more than the estimated cost, to outfit Imran with a bomb, bulletproof cars, and security personnel. Even though the police confiscated his cars and they are still being held in custody, he nevertheless keeps Bushra Bibi, the former first lady, safe.
PTI leaders who recounted Ghumman’s narrative verified that he had also paid almost half a million dollars to have an impenetrable container created for Imran for his most recent Minar-e-Pakistan event. It is the identical container that Saifullah Niazi and another PTI leader used to test the genuineness of the object by shooting it with an AK-47.
In an alleged money-laundering case, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Ghumman last year after he was involved in many cases. “My security chief, Iftikhar Ghumman, remains under FIA custody,” Imran tweeted. He was a Pakistani living abroad who came to Pakistan to support Haqiqi Azadi and gave up everything. He has been singled out on purpose to undermine my security and instill terror in the PTI hierarchy. Whoever is behind this is known to us.”
According to the FIA, two gang members were arrested when the Anti-Money Laundering Cell (AMLC) of the organization raided a “racket involved in the illegal business of money laundering based in Lahore.”
Along with Qaisar Mushtaq and Asim Hussain, Ghumman was allegedly conducting a fraudulent international money-laundering network, according to FIA officials.
They added that the scam was involved in the unlawful transfer of billions of rupees to several nations, and that the entire network had been uncovered, with those involved in money laundering through Hundi and Hawala apprehended. It further stated that the ring was sending money to foreign nations through almost 40 fictitious businesses.
Following the distribution of party tickets for national and provincial assembly constituencies in connection with the general elections on February 8, the PTI is experiencing severe internal strife, including accusations of nepotism and financial corruption.
Numerous top figures from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were utterly disregarded when giving tickets to the candidates, according to reliable sources within the PTI. Senior party figures Omar Ayub Khan, Hammad Azhar, Rai Hassan, Kanwal Shauzeb, and numerous others are among those who were disregarded and omitted.
Aleema Khan, Imran’s sister, has been visiting her brother in jail on a daily basis and has refuted the accusations made by PTI leaders against Umair Niazi. She stated to The News: “Umair Niazi was a point person for Punjab and Gohar Ali Khan for KP, Balochistan and Sindh.”
Imran disassociated himself from the party ticket distribution after first distributing the tickets, claiming that he was not informed of their distribution.