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ISLAMABAD: Three chief ministers, six federal ministers, deputy speaker National Assembly and two former prime ministers were among 331 lawmakers who had not filed their wealth statements to the electoral body (by Monday evening).

According to the data issued by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), of the 1,191 total lawmakers, 860 filed their wealth statements.

The data revealed that 83 of 100 senators filed their wealth statements, 240 lawmakers in 342-seat National Assembly, 244 legislators in 371-seat Punjab Assembly, 137 in 168-seat Sindh Assembly, 105 in 145-seat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 51 in 65-seat Balochistan Assembly filed their wealth statements (till the filing of this report on Monday evening).

Punjab CM Usman Buzdar, CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah, CM KP Mahmood Khan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar, Religious Affairs Minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, Law Minister Farogh Naseem, Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Fehmida Mirza, State Information Minister Farrukh Habib and Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri were among the lawmakers who did not file their statements of assets and liabilities to the ECP despite the expiry of the related deadline on December 31.

Former prime ministers Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf were also among these lawmakers. Constitutionally, the lawmakers 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, not later than December 31, a mandatory requirement under Section 137 (1) of Elections Act, 2017.

This section reads, “Submission of statement of assets and liabilities - 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.””

On January 1 each year, the ECP publishes the names of legislators who do not share the required wealth statements.

Section 137 (2) reads, “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).”

On January 16, the legislative memberships of those legislators who do not submit the wealth statements to ECP by January 15 are suspended under Section 137 (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.”

If the statement of any legislator is found to be false, the ECP can proceed against him/her within 120 days of the submission of the wealth statement to the commission.

“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,” Section 137 (4) of Elections Act 2017 reads.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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