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ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Thursday, formally started the scrutiny of the wealth statements of all the lawmakers of the country; the parliamentarians and members of the four provincial legislatures- for the previous financial year 2020-21- with the passage of the related deadline, a day earlier, for legislators to submit their wealth details and those of their spouses and dependent children.

The legislators were required to submit their wealth statements to the electoral body not later than Wednesday (June 30). The commission has now started scrutinising the yearly statements of the legislators and those of their spouses and dependent children, and notices are being sent to those lawmakers whose wealth statements are found to be insistent with their declared sources of income, Business Recorder has learnt.

In a related development, reports emerged on Thursday suggesting that ECP sent two notices to Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar-first on May 9 and then on June 8- to clarify his position regarding certain discrepancies in his wealth statement submitted to ECP.

Constitutionally, all the parliamentarians and members of the provincial assemblies are bound to submit their yearly statements of assets and liabilities and those of their spouses and dependent children as on each year's June 30, a mandatory requirement under Section 137 of the Elections Act, 2017.

This section reads, "Submission of statement of assets and liabilities - (1) 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.

(2) The commission, on the first day of January each year through a press release, shall publish the names of members who failed to submit the requisite statement of assets and liabilities within the period specified under sub-section (1).

(3) 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.

(4) Where a member submits the statement of assets and liabilities under this section which is found to be false in material particulars, he may, within one hundred and twenty days from the date submission of the statement, be proceeded against for committing the offence of corrupt practice."

The ECP, every year, makes public the wealth details of the legislators, their spouses and dependent children of the previous fiscal year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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