Right to information: ECP accused of protecting the corrupt

Published: May 6, 2016
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Lahore High Court. PHOTO: FILE

Lahore High Court. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday sought a reply from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in connection with a petition challenging the removal of parliamentarians’ asset declarations from its website.

These include details of assets held by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Captain Safdar. Advocate Shabbir Ismail, the petitioner, said the ECP had removed the details from its website. Under Article 19-A of the Constitution read with Right of Information and Transparency Act, he said, the ECP was not authorised to remove such information from the website.

He said the move had been made to protect corrupt lawmakers by allowing them to amend their asset declarations. Ismail said the ECP had done this to conceal financial wrongdoings of the nation’s rulers. He said important information was being withheld from citizens, Ismail said, they were constitutionally entitled to it.

Ismail said the action was mala fide and illegal. He requested the court to direct the ECP to place details of lawmakers’ assets, liabilities and annual returns they had made available while filing their nominations in 2013 on its website. Justice Shah ordered the counsel for the ECP to submit a reply by May 6.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2016.

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