News Analysis |
In an interesting development the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was going to file a disqualification reference against former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari for failing to mention an apartment that he allegedly owns in the United States in the assets declaration submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Federal Minister maintained that the former president was bound to declare his foreign property under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. However, he did not do that and hence he is not eligible to be a member of the parliament anymore. Article 62 and 63 address the qualification and disqualification of a member of the national assembly.
It is generally believed that Mr. Zardari remained unable to fulfill the legal requirements and did not mention his assets as per law. He is likely to be disqualified by the competent authority.
Anyone found guilty of hiding assets or mentioning his/her belongings stands disqualified. Former PM Nawaz Sharif was found guilty of hiding his assets and not being truthful and honest before the nation and was disqualified from holding public office. Moreover, Mr. Chaudhry said that the PTI’s MPA in Sindh Assembly, Khurram Sherzaman would soon file a reference against Mr. Zardari for not declaring the property in his nomination papers.
As a matter of fact, there is already an inquiry being conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against Mr. Zardari and his sister. Mr. Zardari is accused of money laundering via fake accounts during his tenure as the president of Pakistan. It is also worth mentioning that the former president has denied all the allegations and maintained that inquiries against him were politically motivated.
Read more: Dawn of Accountability: Zardari’s close aide being investigated by FIA
The fake account Joint Investigation Team has already finalized a report in that regard on Wednesday and has recommended a legal course against around 415 key individuals and 172 entities allegedly involved in the transactions of Rs220 billion through 104 fake accounts.
As per report, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had handed over all required documents to JIT but Sindh government interestingly yet had to hand over complete record.
According to the sources, Pakistan People’s Party has already decided to launch a countrywide protest campaign and to give a tough time to the government in the Parliament in case Asif Ali Zardari gets arrested.
The opposition parties accuse the sitting government of PTI of controlling the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Several members of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PPP have been arrested and being probed by the anti-corruption watchdog for their alleged misuse of authority and taking kickbacks. But the Federal Minister on Wednesday reaffirmed the stance of his government that there would be no compromise on malpractices or corruption in any department.
He further said that “the world could see” that Pakistan’s systems were becoming more transparent due to the PTI’s anti-corruption stance. That stance had also encouraged increased investments in the country, he claimed. He pointed out that British Airways had resumed its flights to Pakistan and Exxon Mobil was also planning to invest in the country.
It is generally believed that Mr. Zardari remained unable to fulfill the legal requirements and did not mention his assets as per law. He is likely to be disqualified by the competent authority. Also, there may be an investigation into the case of new property to determine that how did Mr. Zardari get it.
Read more: Is Asif Ali Zardari afraid of accountability?
According to the sources, Pakistan People’s Party has already decided to launch a countrywide protest campaign and to give a tough time to the government in the Parliament in case Asif Ali Zardari gets arrested. This clearly indicates the paranoia that party believes that Zardari will be indicted and arrested in the cases against him.