Pakistan Election Commission have suspended 261 members of national and provincial assemblies after they failed to provide details of their assets and liabilities.
A report by Pakistani newspaper, Express Tribune, said that the suspended lawmakers included Sharif’s son-in-law and Pakistan Muslim League (N) member Captain Mohammad Safdar, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Ayesha Gulalai, Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousaf and former National Assembly speaker Fehmida Mirza.
Of the 261 members suspended, 71 are MNAs (MPs), 84 Punjab Assembly members, 50 Sindh Assembly members, 38 Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa members and 11 Balochistan lawmakers.
The ECP’s had asked the members of parliament and provincial assemblies to submit statements of their assets and liabilities and also of their spouses and dependents under Sub-Section 42A of the Representation of People Act (RoPA) or face suspension.
An ECP notification named those members of the National Assembly, the Senate and the provincial “who have failed to file statements of assets and liabilities of themselves, their spouses and their dependents”.
It was introduced by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to check rampant corruption, but so far it has proved ineffective.
The law has also been criticised as “toothless” as any suspended lawmaker can get his or her suspension revoked by providing details of assets to the ECP.
Constitutional bodies in Pakistan have earned plenty of plaudits for their exemplary work in the recent months. Not so long ago, the Pakistani Supreme Court had passed a landmark judgement disqualifying the country’s then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in Panama Papers leak case.
In contrast, those whose names featured in Panama case, continue to enjoy the government’s blessings with some even hired to endorse the key government schemes. As for the Indian EC, a ruling party MP, Varun Gandhi, had recently called the Indian poll panel a ‘toothless tiger’ after it refused to announce election schedule for Gujarat allegedly under pressure from the Centre.