ISLAMABAD: Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, four federal ministers Shafqat Mahmood, Hammad Azhar, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Fehmida Mirza and State Information Minister Farrukh Habib were among 150 lawmakers who saw the suspension of their legislative memberships at the hands of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on Monday, for not submitting their wealth statements to the electoral body.

The suspended lawmakers included three senators, 36 lawmakers from National Assembly, 69 from Punjab Assembly, 14 from Sindh Assembly, 21 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and seven from Balochistan Assembly.

The suspension of legislative memberships implies that the related lawmakers would not be eligible to participate in any activity related to the respective legislative houses they belong to or perform duties as public office holders till they submit the required statements of assets and liabilities and their legislative memberships are restored by the electoral body.

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.”

However, given that January 16 was a weekly holiday (Sunday), the legislative memberships of the related lawmakers were suspended on Monday.

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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