The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday restored the membership of 96 lawmakers, including Fawad Chaudhry, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri and Tariq Bashir Cheema, upon receiving their yearly asset details.
Last week on Thursday, the ECP had suspended the membership of 318 MNAs, senators as well as MPAs for not filing their statements of assets before the deadline (December 31, 2019).
A total of 70 MNAs and 12 senators, while 236 MPAs, including 115 from Punjab, 60 from K-P, 40 from Sindh and 21 from Balochistan, had been suspended.
According to the list issued by the ECP, the memberships of 31 MNAs, two senators, 39 members of the Punjab Assembly, 12 MPAs of Sindh, nine of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and three of Balochistan have been restored.
The lawmakers whose membership has been restored include former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Zartaj Gul, Farrukh Habib, Sadaqat Abbasi, Abdul Qadir Patel and Munza Hassan.
Section 137 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017 reads: “Every Member of an Assembly and Senate shall submit to the Commission, on or before 31st December each year, a copy of his statement of assets and liabilities including assets and liabilities of his spouse and dependent children as on the preceding thirtieth day of June on Form B.”
The law also provides for what can be called a grace period of 15 days.
Section 137 (3) of the Elections Act reads: “The Commission shall, on the sixteenth day of January, by an order suspend the membership of a Member of an assembly and Senate who fails to submit the statement of assets and liabilities by the fifteenth day of January and such Member shall cease to function till he/she files the statement of assets and liabilities.”
According to the section, members who fail to submit the statements by January 15, will be suspended until they submit relevant documents.
On non-compliance, the ECP bars lawmakers from performing duties. Their membership can be restored on compliance with the legal requirements.
The ECP, traditionally, gives two more weeks to the legislators besides the deadline after which the names of non-complying lawmakers are notified and the relevant legislatures are moved to bar them from attending sessions.