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Above the law: CEC disqualifies 26 lawmakers in Gilgit-Baltistan

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan’s chief election commission (CEC) has disqualified over two dozen members of the legislative assembly for failing to submit details of their assets and liabilities. Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman and G-B Assembly Speaker Fida Muhammad Naushad are among the 26 lawmakers.

This was stated in a notification issued on Thursday. The document contains the names of 26 members in the 33-member house.

“The members of the assembly will cease to function with immediate effect,” read a notification issued by the G-B CEC Justice (retd) Tahir Ali Shah.

“The disqualification will remain effective until lawmakers submit details of their assets and liabilities.”

As per the notification, under Section 42-A of Representation of People Act 1976, all lawmakers are expected to submit a statement which provides details of their own assets and liabilities as well as their spouse’s before September 19 every year.

“Under subsection 3 of the clause, the chief election commissioner will notify lawmakers by October 15 and disqualify them till they submit the details.”

Righting wrongs

The decision to disqualify lawmakers has triggered a wave of panic and many of them have started submitting the details in accordance with the CEC’s orders.

Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune, Rahman submitted details of his assets and liabilities immediately after he received the notification.
However, the CEC has yet to issue orders to reverse the decision to disqualify him.

Sajadul Haq, a spokesperson for the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, has confirmed they received the notification. Speaking to The Express Tribune, he said the details of the CM’s assets and liabilities have been submitted to the CEC.

Deputy speaker Jafarullah, senior minister Akbar Taban, PPP’s Imran Nadeem and five women lawmakers elected on reserved seats are among the lawmakers who have been disqualified.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.


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