22 C
Lahore
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
EditorialECP suspension of lawmakers

ECP suspension of lawmakers

Suspension of scores of lawmakers’ memberships by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over the failure of filing their assets details year after year is proving to be nothing but a mockery of the electoral system in the country. On Monday, the electoral watchdog suspended memberships of 150 legislators across the country, including those in the federal cabinet. According to the rules stipulated by the commission, each member is supposed to submit the statement of their assets as well as those belonging to their dependents and spouse by the end of each outgoing year. The deadline for the year ending on June 30 was December 31, 2021. However, as many as 150 lawmakers had failed to submit the details leading to their suspension. The ECP in a statement stated that “lawmakers cannot participate in parliamentary proceedings and their membership will remain suspended until they submit their respective statements.”

But this is not the first time the commission has suspended memberships of lawmakers. In 2019, memberships of 332 members of the parliament and provincial assemblies were suspended and then again in 2021, 154 legislators faced suspension for the same reason. Is it then only a wonder why lawmakers despite being aware of the rule and notified to submit details way in advance still fail to do so? Or does the ECP lack the authority and respect it is entitled to? The failure of legislators to abide by the rules set for them as well as failing to submit details shows there is something seriously rotten in our system. The layman is then left to believe that our legislators are intentionally handling, which may be contrary to the fact.

Such unnecessary speculations only mar the political system in a country which already suffers from a weakened democracy in the face of political point scoring. Our lawmakers ought to do better, especially those chanting the anti-corruption slogans. On the other hand, the ECP needs to come up with a more efficient system where legislators can file details without the need of much paperwork. More importantly, the electoral watchdog needs to establish its authority in an atmosphere where its members do not leave an opportunity to question its credibility. Suspensions shouldn’t become a yearly tradition.

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