Lawmakers flout law


THE Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday suspended the membership of 336 members of Parliament over their failure to submit details of their assets. Under the relevant law, all parliamentarians are required to submit details of their assets, including those of their spouses and children, to the ECP by Sept 30. This is not for the first time that membership of parliamentarians has been suspended for flouting the law as in the past, on a number of occasions, the ECP resorted to suspension and restored membership after compliance of the law. The question arises as to why lawmakers, who frame laws and are supposed to be the role model as far as practical implementation of law is concerned, show scant respect to law and the constitution. Regrettably, the violators come from all political parties including Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah, Federal Minister Khurram Dastgir, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad and Dr Arif Alvi. This requirement is not unique to legislators as all government employees routinely file declaration of assets every year, which is supposed to be a check on corruption and amassing of wealth through illegal means. It is also clear that defaulters would file their statements of assets and liabilities and their membership would be restored but it is question of respect for law. It has been observed that elected representatives, whose main responsibility is to represent their electorates in assemblies, do not come to upper and lower houses of Parliament for weeks and months and yet draw salaries. Lack of quorum has become order of the day and even ministers take no worthwhile interest in parliamentary sessions and proceedings. Anyhow, we hope that MPs would not only file their statements of assets but also make declaration honestly, as with some exceptions, such statements have proved to be a mere formality.