ISLAMABAD: The Senate on the opening day of its new session on Monday (today) is likely to take up a PTI member’s resolution asking the election commission to devise a mechanism to verify details of assets of legislators and award “punishment” to those who have made false declarations.
The resolution has been submitted by Azam Khan Swati of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and it is on the agenda for the Monday’s sitting, which will be a private members’ day.
“This House recommends that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should evolve an effective mechanism to check and verify the truthfulness of the statements of assets and liabilities submitted to it by the parliamentarians to award punishment in case of making false statement and to frame rules in this regard, if required,” reads the resolution.
The Senate is taking up the resolution at a time when the ECP through a notification has recently reminded members of parliament and provincial assemblies to submit “yearly statements of assets and liabilities” of their own, their spouses and dependents which is a mandatory requirement under Section 42A of the Representation of the People’s Act (Ropa), 1976, and Section 25A of the Senate (Elections) Act, 1975.
The issue becomes a hot topic of debate every year when the media publishes stories, highlighting the details of assets of legislators.
The issue has come under discussion in the National Assembly and Senate on a number of occasions when legislators raised objections to media reports which accused them of submitting false declarations. During the discussions, members called for the publication of the details of the assets of bureaucrats, generals, journalists and judges.
The PTI has been raising the issue as part of its campaign against the government, accusing of PML-N members including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of submitting false declarations about their assets.
Under Ropa, every member of legislatures is required to submit a “statement of assets and liabilities of his own, his spouse and dependents annually” to the ECP by Sept 13 each year”.
The ECP is required to notify names of members who fail to file their statements by Oct 15. Details of these assets are published in the official gazette and copies can be obtained on payment of prescribed fee.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2015