Lawmakers make mockery of mandatory declarations

Published: March 21, 2012

Give vague answers regarding accumulation of wealth.

ISLAMABAD: 

Lax laws governing the declaration of assets by legislators have evidently turned the practice into a jest. While some senators did declare realistic values of their assets, others showed either complete incomprehension or alarming apathy by jotting down nonsensical answers such as “limitless” or “not applicable” in the annual declaration of assets’ forms for the fiscal year 2010-2011, released by the Election Commission.

Taking advantage of the absence of any mechanism to scrutinise these declarations, senators, who decided to disclose any at all, grossly undervalued their assets.

Pervez Rashid

Perhaps the most puzzling response comes from PML-N’s chief spokesperson Pervez Rasheed who crossed out all columns and wrote “non-applicable,” without stating any reasons.

In one column at the end of the form, Rasheed mentions that he has Rs124,000 cash, without specifying if it is in-hand or in a bank account.

Senator with ‘unlimited’ wealth

A senator from Fata, Rashid Ahmed Khan declared his fixed assets’ worth to be “unlimited.” He mentions owning coal and soap stone mines and agricultural land, but listed their cost and present value as having no limit. Under the remarks column, he writes: “it has no limit.”

He also mentions transferring current assets worth Rs500,000; to whom or the nature of the assets was not specified.

Rehman Malik

The federal interior minister wrote “no change since last declaration” in the three pages of the form provided by the commission. The form has columns to list the actual cost of assets, their present market value, and another column seeking an explanation for the appreciation or depreciation of the same.

Nayyer Bukhari

Senate Chairman Nayyer Bukhari scribbled under the value of his immovable property “as previous declared in 2010 (sic).”

According to the details he provided of his immovable assets, Bukhari owns a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice worth 0.5 million, 35 tolas of jewellery, Rs1.4 million in two cash accounts and articles of personal use worth around Rs0.25 million.

Chaudhry Shujaat

PML-Q’s president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain declared the value of his 50% share in two residential properties located in posh neighbourhoods of Islamabad and Lahore to be worth just Rs5.2 and Rs3.4 million, respectively. He did not mention their current value.

The value of his agricultural holdings is also quite prudently stated. One stretch of 78 acres of agricultural land is worth just Rs3.76 million while another 12.5 acres of land is worth Rs4.5 million. Both properties are worth exactly what they were at the time of purchase, according to him.

He holds shares in stock markets worth Rs10.4 million and has Rs53.9 million cash-in-hand. However, he does not own a car, suggests his financial declaration.

Exceptions

While most lawmakers made a mockery of the exercise, some senators did provide reasonable details of their wealth.

Senator Tariq Azam, who retired this month after completing his six-year tenure, has mentioned the cost and present value of his assets both in Pakistan and abroad.

Similarly, PPP’s Abdul Hafiz Sheikh and Babar Awan, PML-N’s Ishaq Dar, MQM’s former senator Ahmed Ali are among those who have provided adequate details of assets owned by them and their dependents.

Most indebted

Senator Gulzar Ahmad Khan and his two sons Waqar Ahmad Khan and Ammar Ahmad Khan top the list of indebted lawmakers. Their collective debt amounts to Rs3.13 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2012.

Reader Comments (8)

  • Saad Ullah
    Mar 21, 2012 - 12:48PM

    There should be a panelty, somewhat like “20% of undisclosed property” or something like that, to teach these POOR peope in govt a lesson!

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  • ishrat salim
    Mar 21, 2012 - 1:48PM

    These lawmakers are making a mockery of the law they are supposed to protect & follow.Lax laws with holes which these lawmakers are supposed to plug hv become jesters themselves & then they call themselves servants of the people.When are people including us STOP supporting thse scoundrels ? they are termites eating away the very foundations of our country& we they civil society are providing them place to hybernate.We are as much responsible of the mess we are in as they are.Let us not forget, we all will be answerable to Allah swt for our action….what did we do to STOP this ?Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 21, 2012 - 3:12PM

    Since when has Transparency of any area of life in Pakistan’s society ever been considered, that these elite bunch will ever follow or respect !

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  • Owais Ehsan
    Mar 21, 2012 - 3:20PM

    Half of them need to be enlisted in Benazir Income Support Programe. Long live democracy.

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  • usman
    Mar 21, 2012 - 3:51PM

    All undeclared assets should be confiscated and the candidate declared ineligible to hold any public office for lifetime. Of course, I am not requesting the current govt or opposition as the situation is bleak on both sides.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Mar 21, 2012 - 6:46PM

    This has indeed become a mockery. And they can mock the system since there is no penalty.

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  • FJ
    Mar 21, 2012 - 8:30PM

    May be typo error. They forgot to add “0s”. Human error :)

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  • Mar 22, 2012 - 8:18AM

    Mandatory Declaration should have a clause possessing the assets in the names of wife/ close relatives.
    To fight against corruption media and social activists/general public should exert pressure to make legislation that any undisclosed asset/income (per income Tax return) be confiscated immediately . there should also be a provision to award 5% of asset value to the person/group/NGO who provide evidence of such undisclosed assets. Also such person should be debarred from election as well as holding any govt.post. In present day democracy public elect their representatives( law makers) but they may be asked to have opinion of the people whom they represent on important legislation to curb corruption. This is most important . Simply blaming the politicians and leaving them uncontrolled will not serve the purpose. It may take time but surely honest persons shall emerge in public life to be true representatives of people of Pakistan.

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