ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued notices to 10 members of the National Assembly for submitting ambiguous statements detailing their assets and liabilities.
These were the first 10 documents that the ECP had examined in line with its decision to scrutinise statements of assets and liabilities, a public document submitted by lawmakers for the financial year 2015-2016, ECP Additional Secretary Fida Muhammad told journalists on Thursday. Inconsistencies had been found in all 10 forms examined so far, he said.
Notices have been issued to Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Hamid ul Haq, Sajid Nawaz, Gul Zar Khan, Imran Khattak, Siraj Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Gohar Shah, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Ali Muhammad Khan and Mujahid Ali — MNAs elected from NA-1 to NA-10 respectively.
Mr Fida said they had begun the process by examining statements submitted by MNAs, and statements submitted by senators would be audited next, followed by members of provincial assemblies. The process was expected to be completed by June. He said the MNAs who had received notices would be required to present explanatory statements as soon as possible and would be issued reminders if they failed to provide them in the next two weeks.
Discrepancies found in all statements of assets and liabilities examined so far
Without naming Awami National Party’s Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Mr Fida said an MNA had declared the value of his car to be around Rs0.9 million, without mentioning its make and model for years.
Similarly, some lawmakers had given details of assets owned by their dependants at the time of submitting nomination forms; however, the information was missing from their annual statements of assets and liabilities.
He indicated that the assets of one of the 10 lawmakers had risen steadily during the months after the elections. Without naming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Ali Muhammad Khan, who was elected from NA-10, Mr Fida said the assets he had declared when he submitted his nomination papers had multiplied by millions of rupees a few months after the election when he submitted his annual statement of assets.
The ECP additional secretary said a majority of lawmakers had not filled out their forms carefully and most of the forms had discrepancies and missing information.
In response to a question about a proposed electoral reform which seeks to replace the annual statements of assets and liabilities with a wealth tax form, he said if the relevant law was passed, the ECP would scrutinise the new form.
He explained that a four-member team was working on examining the statements and that the pace of scrutinising them would pick up in the coming days. Statements detailing assets for three years were being compared for analysis.
According to the procedure, the statements audited each week, along with the discrepancies and recommended action will be placed before the ECP for further directions.
Mr Fida said the first analysis report of 10 MNAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the recommendation of issuing notices to them for explanations had been approved by the ECP.
Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2017