Poll candidates: Dr Mubashir Hassan asks SC to watch over Election Commission
Dr Mubashir Hassan, the co-founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party, has asked the Supreme Court to watch over the Election Commission of Pakistan to prevent tax evaders, defaulters and bogus degree holders from running in the upcoming elections.
In a petition filed through Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique, Dr Hassan has asked the court to form a special bench to ensure that the Election Commission and other state functionaries perform their roles in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
The petition names the chief election commissioner and members of the Election Commission, the chief ministers of the four provinces, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairman, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and the heads of nine major parties as respondents.
Dr Hassan, 91, submitted that he had moved the petition as a citizen of Pakistan, “one who has led a life of consistent and abiding interest in the wellbeing of the overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan”, as he felt “aggrieved of various corrupt practices of politicians”.
He asked the court to direct Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP chairman, to ensure that he does not award a party ticket to a person who does not qualify under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution; until the SBP and FBR confirm that the aspiring candidate is not a loan defaulter or a tax evader; and for PPP candidates who contested the previous elections, until the HEC confirms in writing that the education degree they attached to their nomination forms are genuine.
The heads of the PML-F, PML-N, PTI, PML-Q, MQM, JUI-F, ANP and PPP Parliamentarians, after awarding tickets, should be required to file affidavits affirming that none of the candidates have evaded taxes, defaulted on loans or indulged in corrupt practices as defined in the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance of 1999, and, “minor human frailties aside, has the character and integrity required to become a member of Parliament”, said the petitioner.
The SBP governor and the chairmen of the FBR and HEC should be required to file reports to the court stating that the candidates approved by the Election Commission have never defaulted on loans, have valid tax numbers and are regular tax payers, and have not submitted bogus degrees in previous elections, said the petitioner.
Dr Hassan asked the court to declare that the Punjab chief minister’s announcement of March 1, 2013, giving permanent jobs to 100,000 contractual employees of the government, was illegal. He said such steps were bribes to win votes.
The petitioner also sought a declaration that the Election Commission was independent and had the authority to frame rules and regulations and to pass any orders it deemed fit for conducting elections fairly and transparently, and for which purpose it needed no approval from the president.
Interesting - if SC act and direct EC to ensure such steps then this will be a big blow for traditional politicians. Though I wonder if Dr Mubashir Hassan really acting on his own.
is there any doubt he's acting on behalf of people of Pakistan?
Watching Kashif Abbasi's show today. What a pack of rats and dogs. Afzal Chan, Chandio, Saeed Ghani...
I have no reason to doubt his sincerity.
I also like the idea of holding political parties responsible for issuing tickets to the crooks.
Now is the time to filter and get rid of uneducated, non serious and uncivilized stuff out of politics.
Pakistan cannot afford persons like Budha Gujjar, Gama Gurd, Maula Jatt, Sheeda Leechar, Bala Khanjar, Achoo Kirla or Bakka Talli
as members at the Legislatures.
Get rid of as many corrupt, cheaters as you can right now.
these uneducated have one vision only. Thats the vision to loot.
Its no surprise the Ministers hanging upside down to not have to answer to their assets, traveling expenses, degrees, Tax paid, Zarai Tax paid.
The election commission certainly has the right to make the FBR and HEC clearance certificates as a requirement for filing the nomination papers. But in their suggested amendments, the election commission is also asking for the number of wives and a list of total expenditures if a candidate has sent his/her children abroad. Similarly, a candidate is considered disqualified if there is a pending utility bill. So, there are some good things but there also some unnecessary items in the nomination papers.
If it were up to me, I would like it the old fashioned way; people should be able to decide who they want as their representative or leader. If they select someone with a questionable reputation, then so be it. Jamshed Dasti is a recent example.
Today, election commission is moving forward with the proposed changes in election laws without the consent from the president. Although I'm a strong advocate of the independence of election commission, it make me a little uneasy because once we start rolling the wheel of article 62 & 63, there might not be any stopping. What if the election commission crafts an amendment in which only those people who pray fives times, fast for 30 days, pay zakat, have done Hujj are able to run for elections. What then?
This is not a good path forward. Articles 62 & 63 don't belong in our constitution. Only a conviction not allegations should bar someone from participating in the election process.
There is some degree of hate on this forum against people who are feudal lords or have wealth in general. Just because one has money, it doesn't automatically make him a crook or suspicious.
This also reminds me of Iran's election commission; any candidate who, in the past, has uttered a word against the Iranian revolution movement, or criticized their current or former supreme leader, is considered disqualified.
So, we must be careful what we wish for!
SC backs ECP’s prerogative to amend nomination form
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was fully authorised under the constitution to amend the nomination form and also to make other necessary changes in the run-up to the upcoming polls.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, while hearing pleas seeking electoral reforms, directed the ECP to ensure timely holding of the upcoming general elections.
The court noted that it had already interpreted Article 218(3) of the Constitution in its June 8, 2012 judgment making it clear that the election commission was tasked to “organise and conduct the election.”
It said the language of the said Article implies that the ECP is responsible not only for conducting the election itself, but also for making all necessary arrangements for the said purpose, prior to the election day.
The Supreme Court is over stretching in this case - an example of judicial activism. I reiterate my earlier point that the election commission and the supreme court have no right to legislate from the bench; this power lies only with the parliament.
It's possible that their intentions are honest and they are acting for the good of the public, but it's the future I'm worried about. We are stepping into unknown and dangerous waters. Imagine, unelected judges or members of EC legislating on their own.
The questions being asked by the Election Commission on the nomination forms are not subjective as under some of the clauses of articles 62&63.
The objective of the commission here is to filter out the bad apples.But the problem is, majority of our politicians are afraid to provide information that will render them ineligible in the eyes of the voters.If they can't tolerate the scrutiny then they should change their profession.
Dr Hassan's petition has several flaws; for instance, how would the heads of the parties validate that their candidates have submitted an accurate information about their tax and loan records?
Also, Dr Hassan asked the court to declare the Punjab chief minister’s announcement of March 1, 2013, as illegal where he declared the contractual employees of the government as permanent.
Well, can he show us where it is written in the constitution that an elected government loses it's authority to govern before the end of the tenure or during the final year.
If the political party issuing a ticket to a candidate don't know enough about their own candidate wonder how we can expect an average illiterate voter to make a decision?