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ISLAMABAD: Three former ministers and a number of sitting and former federal ministers are among 688 out of total 1,171 lawmakers who failed to file their annual statements of assets and liabilities with the Election Commission of Pakis­tan (ECP) by the last date (Dec 31) as prescribed under the law.

The membership of the elected representatives, who fail to submit details of their assets by Jan 15, will be suspended by the ECP through a notification to be issued on 16.

According to the data released by the ECP, 61 out of total 104 senators, 155 of 342 members of the National Assembly, 113 of 371 members of the Punjab Assembly, 81 of 167 members of the Sindh Assembly, 43 of 123 members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 30 of 65 members of the Balochistan Assembly have filed their statements by the ‘last date’.

Membership of legislators who do not file the statements by Jan 15 will be suspended

Former prime ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Muhammadmian Soomro, who presently holds a ministerial portfolio, are among the 187 members of the National Assembly who have failed to file their statements of assets.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Minister for Defence Production Zubeida Jalal, Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Minister for National Health Services Amir Mehmood, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Khan Soori are also on the list.

Balochistan National Party chief Akhtar Mengal, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, PPP stalwart Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali (Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal), Noor Alam Khan, Ali Amin Gandapur, retired Major Tahir Sadiq, Chaudhry Farrukh Altaf, Farrukh Habib and Dr Amir Liaquat of the PTI are prominent among the MNAs who have failed to meet the legal obligation in time. Nawab Yusuf Talpur, Syed Naveed Qamar, Abdul Qadir Patel and Hina Rabbani Khar of the PPP are also on the list.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Minister for Law Farogh Naseem, former federal minister Hasil Bizenjo, former law minister Maula Bux Chandio, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the spokesman for PPP chairman Bilalwal Bhutto-Zardari, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s brother Attaur Rehman, former KP chief minister Pir Sabir Shah, Rukhsana Zuberi, Sassui Palejo, Faisal Javed, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, Tahir Bizenjo and Sitara Ayaz are prominent among the 43 senators who did not file their statements of assets by the last date.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Speaker of the provincial assembly Siraj Durrani, provincial ministers Syed Awais Qadir Shah, Hari Ram, Imdad Ali Pitafi, Saeed Ghani and Mukesh Kumar Chawla, former CM Qaim Ali Shah, former provincial minister Nadir Magsi, Khursheed Shah’s son Syed Farrukh Ahmed Shah, Sardar Khan Chandio, Naeem Ahmad Kharal, Syed Muhammad Rashid Shah, Taimur Talpur, Makhdoom Mehmood Zaman, Sharjeel Memon, Hasnain Mirza, Ali Hassan, Malik Asad Sikandar, Hina Dastgir and Nida Khuhro are prominent among the 87 members of the Sindh Assembly who are yet to file their statements of assets.

The amended law requires the members of parliament and provincial assemblies to submit to the ECP the statements of assets and liabilities of their own, spouses and children by Dec 31.

Section 137 (1) of the Elections Act 2017 reads: “Every Member of an Assembly and Senate shall submit to the Commission, on or before 31st December each year, a copy of his statement of assets and liabilities including assets and liabilities of his spouse and dependent children as on the preceding thirtieth day of June on Form B.”

The law also provides for what can be called a grace period of 15 days. Section 137 (3) of the Elections Act reads: “The Commission shall, on the sixteenth day of January, by an order suspend the membership of a Member of an Assembly and Senate who fails to submit the statement of assets and liabilities by the fifteenth day of January and such Member shall cease to function till he files the statement of assets and liabilities.”

When the statement of assets filed by a member is found to be false in material particulars, he may, within 120 days from the date of submission of the statement, be proceeded against for committing the offence of corrupt practice, under the law.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2019