Senior leaders of the self-declared campaigners against corruption – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – declared their assets on their official website. PTI also submitted its annual statement of accounts to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday. All political parties are bound to submit details of their annual earnings and expenses to the commission by August 29.
Interestingly, the data provided by PTI’s leadership often contradicted statements filed with the ECP in the past.
While PTI has made several public announcements with regard to its priority to remain transparent, loopholes in the ECP’s policy mean that proving the authenticity of statements, whether from PTI or any other party, remain problematic. Under the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1976, if a member submits a statement of assets and liabilities which is found to be false, he may be proceeded against for committing the offence of corrupt practice.
Under section 42A of the RPA, every member shall submit a statement of assets and liabilities of his own, his spouse and dependents annually to the commission by September 30 each year.
Former ECP secretary Kanwar Dilshad said lawmakers always made a mockery of ECP’s lax laws regarding assets declaration. “A paradigm shift is needed to revise the RPA to make the system more transparent,” he observed.
Former lawmaker Jahangir Tareen, who submitted his annual assets as being worth Rs222 million last year, claimed that his assets were now worth Rs3.2 billion. The declaration was posted on PTI’s official website.
Tareen said he could not submit the asset statements of his dependents to the ECP last year. “Now I’ve declared my complete assets; including my children’s,” he told The Express Tribune. He added that the key issue in politics was payment of taxes, which he did every year. Tareen’s children own assets worth Rs1.5 billion and stock shares worth Rs922 million. Tareen also owns two plots in Islamabad and Changla Gali worth Rs173 million. According to the PTI website, he paid Rs49.7 million in taxes over the last three years.
PTI chairman Imran Khan himself did not mention the market value of his around 1,644 kanals of inherited land, located in Bhakkar, Khanewal, Sheikhupura and Islamabad. Significantly, Imran stated that the 300 kanals of land in Islamabad was inherited, although he has said in the past that this piece of land was purchased. Besides the land, he declared his net assets to be worth Rs22 million and also showed Rs0.38 million in liabilities.
Javed Hashmi, meanwhile, claims to own property worth Rs104 million, divided up over agricultural land, urban property, business property and the Makhdoom Cotton Factory. Hashmi paid Rs0.13 million in taxes over the last three years.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi mentioned his agricultural land without mentioning its net value. Besides, he announced properties worth Rs80 million in Islamabad, Lahore and Multan. He declared that he himself owned a little over 753 kanals of land while his son Zain Qureshi owns 1,040 kanals of agricultural land. He claimed that he paid Rs16.4 million in taxes over the last three years, and Rs0.27 million on land.
Meanwhile, Asad Umar declared his assets to be worth around Rs264 million, including his retirement fund worth Rs104 million. He also owns shares worth Rs162.5 million in the stock market. Umar said he owns an open plot worth Rs69 million in DHA Phase VIII in Karachi. His wife owns property worth Rs7.7 million. The former Engro CEO paid Rs34 million in taxes over the last three years.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2012.
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