As part of its annual ritual, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked lawmakers and all registered political parties to submit statements of their accounts for the financial year that ended on June 30, 2015.
The ECP on Monday issued two separate notifications: one for federal and provincial legislators to file yearly Statements of Assets and Liabilities of their own, their spouses and dependents by September 30; the second notification is a reminder to political parties that they are bound to submit the latest details of their accounts to the ECP every year.
Article 13 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 stipulates that every political party submit details of their accounts within 60 days of the close of each financial year. It should be a consolidated statement of accounts of the party, duly audited by a Chartered Accountant. The ECP has fixed August 29, 2015 as the last date for political parties to file statements of their accounts.
Section 42A of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and Section 25A of the Senate (Elections) Act, 1975, makes it binding on every elected member of the assembly and Senate to submit statements of assets & liabilities.
Inserted with intent to hold lawmakers accountable, the provision was never used more than a cosmetic exercise. Since the ECP has not developed any mechanism to verify these statements, it merely compiles and publishes them. Proposals to set up a financial wing comprising different government departments to check veracity of asset statements of lawmakers are pending with parliament for legislation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2015.