Pak politicians oppose scrutiny of asset declarations by auditors, revenue board

Islamabad, Feb 25(ANI): Pakistan political parties have collectively opposed a proposal floated by the Election Commission to get parliamentarians' assets scrutinised by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Auditor-General of Pakistan (AGP).

The Election Commission had forwarded the proposal when the representatives of all political parties gathered at a consultative meeting organised by the commission in connection with reforming the country's electoral system.

Top Election Commission officials said that it was planning to verify asset declarations submitted by parliamentarians from FBR and the audit authorities, The Express Tribune quoted sources privy to the meeting, as saying.

However, leaders of major political parties, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) shot down the proposal, the sources added.

"We believe that the proposal, if materialised, can be used as a tool to exploit politicians," a political party member argued, and added that there was no disagreement on scrutinising assets, but the political parties wanted the inquiry to be conducted by the Election Commission itself.

"We completely agree that the assets we declare annually should be properly scrutinised, but not by any other department except the Election Commission," another participant of the meeting said.

Secretary of the Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed conceded that the issue figured in the meeting, adding that the idea was first discussed at a workshop a few months ago.

Ahmed said that the Election Commission needed the assistance of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Auditor General of Pakistan because it did not have any such mechanism in place.

Interestingly, the meeting was not attended by two mainstream political parties, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). (ANI)

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