Dr Mubashir Hassan, the co-founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party, has asked the Supreme Court to watch over the Election Commission of Pakistan to prevent tax evaders, defaulters and bogus degree holders from running in the upcoming elections.
In a petition filed through Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, Dr Hassan has asked the court to form a special bench to ensure that the Election Commission and other state functionaries perform their roles in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
The petition names the chief election commissioner and members of the Election Commission, the chief ministers of the four provinces, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairman, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and the heads of nine major parties as respondents.
Dr Hassan, 91, submitted that he had moved the petition as a citizen of Pakistan, “one who has led a life of consistent and abiding interest in the wellbeing of the overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan”, as he felt “aggrieved of various corrupt practices of politicians”.
He asked the court to direct Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP chairman, to ensure that he does not award a party ticket to a person who does not qualify under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution; until the SBP and FBR confirm that the aspiring candidate is not a loan defaulter or a tax evader; and for PPP candidates who contested the previous elections, until the HEC confirms in writing that the education degree they attached to their nomination forms are genuine.
The heads of the PML-F, PML-N, PTI, PML-Q, MQM, JUI-F, ANP and PPP Parliamentarians, after awarding tickets, should be required to file affidavits affirming that none of the candidates have evaded taxes, defaulted on loans or indulged in corrupt practices as defined in the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance of 1999, and, “minor human frailties aside, has the character and integrity required to become a member of Parliament”, said the petitioner.
The SBP governor and the chairmen of the FBR and HEC should be required to file reports to the court stating that the candidates approved by the Election Commission have never defaulted on loans, have valid tax numbers and are regular tax payers, and have not submitted bogus degrees in previous elections, said the petitioner.
Dr Hassan asked the court to declare that the Punjab chief minister’s announcement of March 1, 2013, giving permanent jobs to 100,000 contractual employees of the government, was illegal. He said such steps were bribes to win votes.
The petitioner also sought a declaration that the Election Commission was independent and had the authority to frame rules and regulations and to pass any orders it deemed fit for conducting elections fairly and transparently, and for which purpose it needed no approval from the president.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2013.