PILDAT wants ECP to revise nomination form
26 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: A public policy research think tank has urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to re-examine amendments it had proposed to the nomination farm for candidates in the next general election.
While some revisions by the ECP are in line with requirements of transparency, some others are vague and unnecessarily intrusive and must be removed from the form, PILDAT said on Monday. The organisation threw its support behind new clauses 4, 5, 12, 13, 14 and 15 under the section titled 'Declaration and Oath by the Person Nominated'.
Clause 4 requires candidates to provide details of account opened for election expenses, in line with the direction of the Supreme Court wherein the court had directed ECP to make it mandatory for candidates to open election expenses account and provide weekly statements to the commission.
Commenting on clause 5, PILDAT said that while information being sought from candidates including names of spouse and dependents is to be supported, section ii of clause 5, which asks candidates to state that neither candidate nor her/his spouse or dependent own 'any company', is vague and must clarify whether they should declare only 100% ownership, 50% ownership or shares in any company.
PILDAT has also supported the inclusion of clause 12 that seeks detailed information from the candidates on the income tax paid and asks for attachment of copies of income tax returns paid in the past 3 years. It also supported clause 13 which requires details of children studying abroad and expenses incurred on their education for previous three years; clause 14 which requires information on travel abroad and expenses incurred; as well as clause 15 which requires candidates to provide details of any agricultural income tax paid and copies of agricultural tax returns.
PILDAT, however, expressed strong reservation over the insertion of clause 16 which requires former MNAs or MPAs to describe 'single most important contribution ... made for the benefit of constituency'. Role of the elected legislators is not governed by their 'contribution to the constituency'. Their role is legislation, representation and oversight over the executive. Moreover, the Election Commission neither has the authority, nor is its role, to sit in judgement of the 'contribution' of elected representatives. How have elected representatives performed their responsibilities, is to only be judged by the voters who can choose to return their candidate to the assemblies or vote them out. PILDAT demanded that ECP remove this clause from the nomination form.
Similar clause 19, which requires candidates to declare whether they have made donations to charitable institutions, is strange and beyond comprehension, says PILDAT. Why the ECP should be asking candidates to declare such information when this kind of information is even morally expected to remain between the person making any donation and to the charity to which donation is made. PILDAT demanded that this must also be deleted from the nomination form.
Supporting the insertion of clauses 17 and 18 that ask a candidate to declare whether they have made any financial contribution to the political party which has awarded party ticket for the election, and whether the party has paid any sum to the candidate, PILDAT questioned the insertion of clause 20 that asks a candidate to declare he/she will abide by the code of conduct issued by the ECP and has termed it superfluous.