ECP avoids action against lawmakers

October 15, 2013

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Over the years, it has become a convention to take the issuance of notification to suspend defaulting lawmakers to the last date and even beyond that and using the days between the last date for submission of statements (Sept 30) and the last date for issuance of notification (Oct 15) as an undeclared grace period. — File photo
Over the years, it has become a convention to take the issuance of notification to suspend defaulting lawmakers to the last date and even beyond that and using the days between the last date for submission of statements (Sept 30) and the last date for issuance of notification (Oct 15) as an undeclared grace period. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan may violate the law requiring suspension of those lawmakers who have failed to meet the Sept 30 deadline for submitting statements of assets and liabilities.

Under the Representation of the People’s Act, 1976, all members of parliament and provincial assemblies are bound to submit to the commission a statement of assets and liabilities of their own, spouse and dependents by Sept 30, and the commission is bound to suspend by Oct 15 the membership of those who fail to meet the mandatory requirement “within the specified period”.

But the provision is set to be violated with sources in the ECP saying that no such notification was being issued on Monday and it would be done after Eid holidays.

Legal experts say it is a clear violation of the law.

Over the years, it has become a convention to take the issuance of notification to suspend defaulting lawmakers to the last date and even beyond that and using the days between the last date for submission of statements (Sept 30) and the last date for issuance of notification (Oct 15) as an undeclared grace period.

Over 450 lawmakers, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, two chief ministers and several federal and provincial ministers, were among those who had missed the Sept 30 deadline, but by Monday (Oct 14) the number came down to 79 – thanks to the ‘grace period’.

There will be public holidays till Oct 18 (Friday) and the notification for suspension of defaulting lawmakers at the earliest will be issued on Monday (Oct 21).

According to the latest figures, former president Asif Ali Zardari’s sister Dr Azra Fazal Pachuho is among the 19 members of the National Assembly who are yet to submit their statements of assets and liabilities. Others include Usman Khan Tarrakai, Shehryar Afridi, Nasir Khan Khattak, Dawar Khan Kundi, retired Col Amirullah Marwat, Muhammad Nazir Khan, Nasir Khan, Qaisar Jamal, Asad Umar, Qaisar Ahmad Sheikh, Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju, Nauman Islam Shaikh, Sardar Kamal Khan Chang, Sohail Mansoor Khawaja, Shah Jahan Baloch, Moulvi Agha Muhammad and Shaheen Shafiq.

The four senators who are yet to meet the legal requirement are Rehman Malik, Syed Mustafa Kamal, Islamuddin Shaikh and Faisal Raza Abidi.

Nine members of the Punjab Assembly who failed to file their statements are: Sibtain Khan, Najeebullah Khan, Rafaqat Hussain Gujjar, Chaudhry Asadullah, Malik Ghulam Habib Awan, Ali Abbas, Waheed Asghar Dogar and Abdul Majeed Khan Niazi.

Sindh Minister for Local Government Awais Muzaffar, Rauf Khan Khosa, Ghulam Rasool Jatoi, Faseeh Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Ali Bhutto, Aziz Ahmad Jatoi, Bashir Ahmad Halepoto, Jameel Ahmad Bhurgani, Abdul Haseeb, Saniya and Mukesh Kumar Chawla are members of the Sindh Assembly have also not yet filed their statements of assets.

Twenty-two members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and six members of the Balochistan Assembly are among those who are yet to file their statements of assets and liabilities.