261 lawmakers suspended by Election Commission in Pakistan for financial non-disclosures

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday suspended membership of 261 lawmakers for failure to submit with them details of their financial assets as required by law which fixes September 30 as the deadline each year.

An ECP notification named members of the National Assembly, Senate and all the provincial assemblies as among those “who have failed to file their statements of assets and liabilities” for themselves, their spouses and their dependents, report local media.

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

Seven senators, 71 MNAs, 84 MPAs from Punjab, 50 from Sindh, 38 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 11 from Balochistan are among those whose membership has been suspended by the ECP.

Introduced in 2002 by then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, the Parliamentary Act called “RoPA” (Representation of People Act) is flouted by politicians at will. Under the law, all parliamentarians are required to submit details of their assets ─ including those of their spouses and children ─ to the ECP by Sept 30.

Lawmakers allege that the relevant law has several flaws and has failed to motivate any meaningful accountability, which was the basic spirit of the legislation.

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

Fresh electoral rolls will be prepared before next polls

The secretary of the ECP said on Monday that fresh electoral rolls would be prepared for the next elections in line with the results of the latest census.

“The next elections will be conducted after constituencies are revised in accordance with the new census,” Babar Yaqoob told the participants of a seminar in Islamabad, Express News reported.

He noted that it was a constitutional requirement that this process was carried out before the general elections next year now that the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017 had been conducted.

According to the official, over 10 million female voters remain unregistered. “The fact that 10 million female voters of the country are unregistered is our national failure,” he remarked.

“It’s unfortunate that political leaderships aren’t taking this issue seriously.”

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