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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sought explanation from Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari regarding certain 'discrepancies' in his wealth details recently submitted to the electoral body.
In this regard, the ECP's Political Finance Wing has asked the PPP chairman to appear before the commission either in person or through his counsel on January 14 to address certain queries related to his latest statement of assets and liabilities submitted to the ECP.
Given that the ECP is presently dysfunctional, the acting chief election commissioner/members ECP are not authorized to deal with the matter, it is learnt.
Bilawal or his counsel is expected to appear before ECP's Director General Political Finance Zamir Ahmad, the competent authority to deal with any matter concerning the finances of politicians, including lawmakers, and political parties, sources said.
Keeping in view that the ECP has been left dysfunctional following the retirement of CEC former Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza on December 5, 2019, the acting CEC/members ECP are no longer authorized to hear the case or decide any matter concerning politicians, lawmakers, political parties or any related electoral dispute, sources in the ECP told Business Recorder.
While the ECP's functions performed by the CEC and members ECP have come to a halt due to its incomplete formation, the ECP officers continue to perform their duties as per routine and are authorized to take decisions on related issues, sources added.
On December 6, 2019, former Justice Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, a sitting ECP member from Punjab, took oath as acting CEC but the ECP would remain dysfunctional due to its incomplete formation. The position of members ECP from Sindh and Balochistan has been lying vacant since earlier last year.
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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020