84 legislators restrained from entering Punjab Assembly after ECP suspension

  • The ECP suspended membership of 261 lawmakers on Monday for failing to submit their financial details
Pakistan

LAHORE – Eighty-four legislators were not allowed to enter the Punjab Assembly to join the session on Tuesday after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suspended their membership for failing to submit details regarding their assets, local media reported.

A total of 74 MPAs of PML-N, six Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, two Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and two legislators of PML-Zia were stopped at the gate following their suspension by ECP.

On Monday, the election body suspended the membership of 261 lawmakers after they failed to submit their financial details under sub-section 42A of the Representation of People Act (RoPA) by Sept 30.

They include seven senators, 71 MNAs, 84 MPAs from Punjab, 50 from Sindh, 38 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 11 from Balochistan.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s Capt (r) Safdar, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s estranged MNA Ayesha Gulalai, interior minister Talal Chaudhry, Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousaf and former National Assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza are among the suspended lawmakers.

An ECP notification issued on Monday named members of the National Assembly, Senate and provincial assemblies in the list of those “who have failed to file their statements of assets and liabilities” for themselves, their spouses and their dependants.

The notification directed that the lawmakers “shall cease to function as such members with immediate effect and till such statements are submitted by them”.

Click here to open the list of suspended lawmakers

The greatest proportion of lawmakers who did not disclose their assets belong to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly, in which the financial statements of 30.7 percent of the assembly are awaited by the ECP, followed by the Sindh Assembly (29.7pc), the Punjab Assembly (22.6pc), the National Assembly (20.7pc), the Balochistan Assembly (16.9pc) and the Senate (6.7pc).

Under the law – RoPA – all parliamentarians are required to submit details of their assets, including those of their spouses and children, to the ECP by Sept 30.

Section 42A of the RoPA, 1976, states: “Every member shall, on a form prescribed under clause (f) of sub-section (2) of Section 12, submit a Statements of Assets & Liabilities of his own, his spouse and dependents annually to the Commission by the thirtieth day of September each year.

Last year, 336 lawmakers were suspended by the ECP for failure to submit their financial statements to the commission.

‘CREATE NEW CONSTITUENCIES’

In another development, the election commission has written to the government for creating new constituencies while raising apprehension that questions will be raised if the next general elections are held without delimitation of new constituencies.

Addressing a seminar on Electoral Reforms Act 2017 here on Monday, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob informed that they have objected to some clauses of the newly-passed law because it will deprive the poor of contesting elections in the upcoming polls. He also said that this law should have been passed earlier in the Parliament.

“Once the Census 2017 results are finalised, the new electoral constituencies would be formed,” said Yaqoob, adding that the ECP needed a minimum of five months for making new constituencies.

Talking about the electronic voting machines (EVM), he said the experiment of using BVMs will not succeed in the country because of its high cost, and added that a policy on the matter is being devised.

The secretary said that the use of BVMs in the NA-120 by-election in Lahore last month revealed the anomalies in the system as thumb impressions of 10 to 12 per cent of the voters of the constituency could not be verified. He added that around 12.5 million voters were not registered with the National Data and Registration Authority (NADRA).