Only 30 members of Parliament admit to having assets outside the country, according to revelations made by the government in the National Assembly question hour on Monday.
Law Minister Maula Baksh Chandio made the disclosure in a written reply to a question, based on data collected from the self-declarations of assets submitted by parliamentarians to the Election Commission of Pakistan every year. Chandio’s information was based on data for financial year 2010.
Among the parliamentarians who admit to having assets abroad are National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Babar Khan Ghauri from the MQM, Senator Ishaq Dar from the PML-N, Senator Tariq Azeem from PML-Q and former minister Azam Khan Sawati from JUI-F.
The issue of legislators maintaining assets abroad has been raised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf head Imran Khan, who, while not holding any elected office, has publicly declared that he has sold off all of his assets abroad and brought the proceeds to Pakistan, in a bid to show that his loyalties are not divided. Several television commentators have also picked up on the issue.
Of the ten Senators who admitted to having assets abroad, only four have declared any details: Ishaq Dar (AED 153,038 in the UAE), Abdul Hafeez Sheikh (the equivalent of Rs2.5 million in the United States and Rs5 million in the UAE), Tariq Azeem Khan (£2,172 in the UK), and Azam Khan Swati ($487,000 in the United States).
Similarly, of the 20 members of the National Assembly who declared foreign assets, only four provided details.
Meanwhile, a written reply submitted on behalf of the human rights ministry claimed that the ministry had taken up 3,753 cases of human rights violations during fiscal year 2011 and had resolved 1,278 cases up to May 31, 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.
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