Membership of 154 MPs, including Rehman Malik, suspended
By: Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday suspended the membership of 154 parliamentarians and members of provincial assemblies, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Mian Manzoor Wattoo for their failure to submit details of their assets.
After the issuance of a notification containing their names, they cannot perform duty as legislators and there is a question mark on the status of those having the ministerial slots. Their suspension will end only after they comply with the legal requirement and file their statements of assets and liabilities and those of their dependents to the Election Commission.
Of 342 members of the National Assembly, 31 are yet to file their statements with the Election Commission, whereas eight senators are still to do so. Among the MPAs, 82 of 371 members of the Punjab Assembly have so far failed to submit the required documents with the ECP, while 16 from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, 14 from the Sindh Assembly and three from the Balochistan Assembly have been suspended for their non-compliance of the electoral rules.
Prominent parliamentarians whose membership has been suspended include Abdul Qadir Gilani, Musa Gilani, Kashmala Tariq and Abid Sher Ali. Each year, the legislators are required to file their statements of assets and liabilities with the Election Commission by September 30, failing which the Election Commission publishes a list of those who fail to do so by October 15.
The legislators who fail to file the related documents by October 15 are automatically barred from functioning as lawmakers. However, on submission of their documents, their status as lawmaker is restored.
But there is no penalty for the violators, though a proposal is being considered by the Election Commission to introduce some penalty such as withdrawal of TA/DA or deduction from their salary for the days they remain suspended. It is to be seen whether political parties support such an initiative.