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ECP: probe into candidates’ assets

March 16, 2013

WHEN elected MNAs, MPAs or senators are given development funds from taxpayers’ money, why shouldn’t they be asked to give an account of expenditure, or at least mention the projects undertaken?

This country can no longer afford to allow the electoral process to be abused by those who do not pay taxes, have no stakes in this country, have been involved in submitting fake documents such as academic qualifications, and possess multiple passports or CNICs.

We cannot allow those people to run for elections who are involved in illegal activities, or heinous crimes like forcible land occupation, smuggling or are either instrumental in murder, kidnapping, running private torture cells or armed militias and even rape.

It is unfortunate that most of our political parties lack moral courage to screen those whom they award tickets for elections.

Democracy is a system which was evolved more than a century ago and today is considered the most efficient system of governance because of in-built checks and balances, accountability, independent judiciary and strict regulatory controls.

Why are we hesitant about following these ethics adopted all over the world for screening people who voluntarily offer to hold public offices of repute? It will impact the destiny and fate of over 190 million citizens of Pakistan, a country which has been declared as the second-most corrupt nation in the world and which has been facing an acute energy, financial and internal-security crisis.

I am sure it is not in our destiny as a nation to be ruled by despots whether elected ones or those in uniform.

A. MALIK Lahore

Too many questions

POLITICAL analysts have recently advanced a rather weak argument against the amended nomination forms.

They say the amended forms ask too many details from the nominees and that if only the copy of the latest tax returns are enclosed all the details like property, sources of income, children’s education and foreign trips, etc., will automatically be checked by the FBR once the tax returns are sent to them for scrutiny/clearance.

Similarly, the applicant’s loan defaults will be pointed out by the SBP when they scrutinise the nomination papers. No doubt this can simplify the scrutiny of nomination papers by the ECP. The only trouble is that knowing the efficiency and integrity of our institutions, the scrutiny can never be completed within the specified time limit.

There will be innumerable delays and bottlenecks in a prompt and honest scrutiny and new avenues of corruption will open up during scrutiny which will defeat the whole purpose of an objective exercise.

The simple procedure suggested by the gentleman can work in a developed democratic country but not here.

Most political parties like the PPP, the PML(N) and other coalition partners of this government have to gather together to oppose the proposed amendments to nomination forms.

The obvious reason is that many of their ‘winnable’ candidates have not paid their taxes or have defaulted on loans, dual nationality issue and have done no significant development work in their constituencies in the last five years.

The party leadership wants to protect such members from a proper and thorough scrutiny in accordance with Articles 62 and 63. Only the PTI have endorsed amendments.

Probably because they have the least reason to be afraid of such detailed inquiries about their nominated candidates.

By asking for all the details as indicated in the revised forms, the entire onus will lie on the applicant who submits the nomination forms to prove his eligibility. If he gives a wrong statement or hides something which comes out during a quick scrutiny by the ECP team, composed of representatives of the FBR, SBP, Nadra and others, he will immediately get caught and be disqualified within the specified time limit.


Best wishes

I WOULD like to convey my best wishes to Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and his team for putting their foot down against the dilly-dallying of the government about approving the amended nomination form.

The request had been pending since Feb 21. My appeal to the Chief Election Commissioner and the members of the ECP is to strictly stick to the constitution as they are all under the oath to do so.

They should now go ahead to disqualify all those who are not eligible under Articles 62 and 63. Pakistan needs a break. Mr Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, please go ahead. The whole nation is behind you.


Transparent elections

FULL marks to the ECP and the team for ordering the printing of amended election nomination papers/forms and further refusing to meet the law minister on the issue until the present assemblies are dissolved.

This is what is expected of a person of his reputation. He is a strong supporter of democracy and is trying his utmost to leave no stone unturned in order to have free and fair elections in the country, but alone it won’t be possible for him as, on the other hand, there are very powerful politicians who have all the resources, along with foreign support, to manipulate the elections, so the other institutions of the country like the Supreme Court and the army also have to shift their gears and put their support behind the Election Commission in order to ensure transparency in the elections.

AMAN AHMAD                  Karachi