ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is due to suspend the membership of around 200 lawmakers today (Friday) through a notification as they failed to file annual statements of their assets and liabilities.
Under the Public Representation Act, the ECP is legally bound to suspend any member of national and provincial assemblies as well as senate who failed to file their financial details by October 15. However the commission has yet to issue any such notification, violating its own laws.
Sources in the ECP have claimed that there are over 200 members who have not filed their asset details so far despite the final date of submissions passing by on September 30 while the unofficial grace period ended on October 15.
“The chief election commissioner has now signed the suspension orders. Around 200 members would be suspended by tomorrow”, an official of the ECP told The Express Tribune. The official who was not ready to speak on record admitted that the delay was a violation of law. The official added that the names of delinquent members should have been made public and subsequently suspended on October 15. The concerned joint secretary did not send the file to the chief election commissioner for reasons best known to him, the official added.
According to ECP sources there were a total of 291 members on October 17 who had yet to file their asset details, some submitting their details during the past two days. However, conservative estimates believe the number to be around 200 members.
Instead of taking action against such defiant members, ECP officials wrote letters to the speakers of the legislative assemblies requesting them to persuade their respective members to file their asset details.
One such letter was written to Senate chairman Farooq H Naek. A joint secretary of the ECP sent a list of 16 Senators to Naik and pleaded him to request the defiant Senators to follow the law in his letter.
The list includes the names of three key ministers belonging to Prime Minister Gilani’s cabinet: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafiz Shaikh, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain. Other members belonging to opposition parties included, Leader of Opposition in Senate, Maulana Ghafoor Haidri.
Other Senators who have yet to file their asset details include Syed Javed Ali Shah, Muhammad Ali Durrani, Naeem Hussain Chatta, Pervez Rashid, Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, Islamuddin Shaikh, Maulana Gul Naseeb, Haji Ghulam Ali, Rahmatullah Kakar, Muhammad Hamayun Khan, Abdul Raziq and Malik Rashid Ahmed.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2011.