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ECP takes strict action against 150 lawmakers

ECP named 36 members of the National Assembly, 69 members of the Punjab Assembly, 14 members of the Sindh Assembly, 21 members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, and seven members of the Balochistan Assembly.

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a notification against 150 lawmakers for their suspension. The strict action comes as lawmakers did not submit the details of their assets, failing to comply with ECP rules.

Sub-section 3 of Section 137 of the Elections Act bounds members to submit their tax returns every year till December 31. Therefore, the members who missed the deadline cannot participate in parliamentary proceedings till they submit the details of their assets. However, once the members submit their tax returns, ECP will reinstate their membership.

ECP named 36 members of the National Assembly, 69 members of the Punjab Assembly, 14 members of the Sindh Assembly, 21 members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, and seven members of the Balochistan Assembly.

The suspended members include three senators from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) including Musaddiq Malik, federal ministers including Noorul Haq Qadri, Hammad Azhar, Shafqat Mahmood, Fehmida Mirza, and ministers of state including Farrukh Habib and Shabbir Ali Qureshi.

Read more: ECP warns PM Khan of legal action for violating code of conduct

The ECP has also suspended the membership of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Dr Amir Liquat Hussain, Firdous Shamim, Ali Gohar Khan, Sadaqat Abbassi, Raja Fayyaz, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Yar Mohammad Rind, Mir Sikandar Ali, Sardar Owais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Samiullah Chaudhry, Salman Naeem, and Sabtain Khan Niazi.

Over 100 MPs violating tax laws

In December 2021, a report emerged revealing that more than 100 parliamentarians did not pay their income tax. Some of them did not even register themselves with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Out of 1,170 MPs, 161 violated tax laws as they did not pay their due income taxes or file any tax returns. Furthermore, at least 103 MPs own collective assets worth Rs 8 billion. However, official data shows that they do not pay their taxes regularly. Also, four MPs, despite not paying taxes, purchased properties worth millions of dollars in Dubai, Norway, and London in the last ten years.

Interestingly, the report claimed that 73 of the 103 MPs belonged to major political parties. Also, two hold a minister’s portfolio in the federal cabinet. However, the mainstream media did not reveal the names of the federal ministers in question.

Read more: 160 Pakistan Parliamentarians don’t pay taxes?

Important to note, non-filing of return and wealth statements is a violation of Sections 114 and 116. A leading news outlet revealed that FBR denied commenting on the matter.