Islamabad: 141 lawgivers suspended
ISLAMABAD: Dawn News reported on Tuesday, after giving concession to lawmakers by allowing them to submit statements of their assets and liabilities 18 days after the expiry of the last date, the Election Commission on Monday suspended memberships of 141 lawmakers who failed to make it despite the leniency.
However, membership of a few Senators who did not submit their statements has not yet been suspended.
Sources in the Election Commission said although six Senators had not submitted statements of assets, their membership cannot be suspended till the appointment of four members of the Election Commission who ceased to exist after adoption of the 18th Amendment.
Prominent among those whose membership was suspended include the Minister for Labour Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Education Minister Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali, Tourism Minister Attaur-Rahman, Minister of State for Information Sumsam Ali Bukhari, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Kashmala Tariq.
Those whose membership has been suspended through belated issuance of a formal notification include 34 members of the National Assembly, 69 members of the Punjab Assembly, 16 of the Sindh Assembly, 12 of Balochistan Assembly and 10 of the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Assembly.
Those who failed to submit their statements of assets include some lawmakers accused of possessing fake or invalid degrees. They include Syed Akhunzade Chitan, MNA, and Punjab Assembly member Sardar Meer Badshah Khan Qaisrani.
The last date for members of parliament and provincial assemblies to submit statements of their assets and liabilities was Sept 30.
The Election Commission was bound to notify by Oct 15 the names of those who failed to do so. But it has become a norm that the notification is withheld till the last date, giving a grace period of two weeks to lawmakers by accepting their documents till the issuance of the notification.
But this time no notification could be issued even on Oct 15 when statements of assets were accepted till late in the night.
The Election Commission sources told Dawn that over 500 members submitted their statements after the last date prescribed by law expired. Many managed to submit their statements till Monday.
The Joint Secretary (Elections) of the Election Commission tried to play it down and said that the spirit of the law had to be ensured.
“The membership of all suspended lawmakers is restored soon after they submit their statements. There will be no use of suspending the membership of those who come to us before the notification’s issuance.”
Experts, however, believe that what is very clear is that the Commission must stop receiving statements of assets on Sept 30. They say that Oct 15 is the deadline for issuance of the notification, which can be issued even on Oct 1.
Another official said that the Commission would need to issue dozens of notifications to restore membership of the suspended lawmakers, if their statements were not accepted by the due date.
He conceded that political pressure was another factor which stopped the Commission from putting its foot down and stop receiving statements after Sept 30.