ISLAMABAD: Taking note of reports that about 70 per cent of lawmakers did not file tax returns in 2011-12, the Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to tighten the noose around the evaders and put in place a mechanism to ensure they do not manage to sneak into legislative bodies again.
According to sources, the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has suggested modifications in the declaration part of the nomination forms.
A letter sent to the ECP secretary by his counterpart at the FTO secretariat said the modified form would add transparency about tax matters of the prospective lawmakers.
The proposed declaration says: “I solemnly declare that I have filed all my income tax returns along with wealth statements and wealth reconciliation statements (copies enclosed) that were due during the last five years and no tax liability is outstanding against me on the date of filing of this nomination form-1. I further declare that no company of which I am a director or a shareholder of more than 10 per cent paid up capital is a tax defaulter. I also declare that no applicable tax, including agricultural income tax, is payable by me under any federal or provincial laws on the date of filing of this nomination form-1. I have enclosed attested true copies of no demand certificates from relevant authorities.”
An ECP official told Dawn that the commission was obtaining details of tax evaders, loan defaulters, dual nationals and fake degree holders in the existing parliament and the provincial assemblies from the Federal Board of Revenues, income tax and revenue departments, National Accountability Bureau, Higher Education Commission and other ministries and departments concerned.
He said those who had filed wrong declarations and forged documents with their nomination papers in the 2008 polls would not be able to contest the coming election.
The official said the commission was ready to hold the election as and when announced. He said the work on preparation of lists of polling stations and polling staff was in full swing in the field offices and would be completed well before the issuance of schedule for the general election.
He said lists of employees of federal and provincial governments were being compiled by the field offices and would be handed over to the returning officers.
Instructions for appointment of 50 per cent staff from federal departments and 50 per cent from provincial governments will be issued to the ROs as soon as their appointments are notified.
SYMBOLS: The commission is set to ask the political parties next week to meet the legal requirements to qualify for obtaining election symbols. The requirements include submission of details of party election and assets and liabilities.
The symbols will be allotted afresh to the parties in the first week of March. The parties applying for a symbol they had been allotted in the past will be given preference if they meet the legal requirements.