ISLAMABAD: The Election Commis-sion of Pakistan (ECP) has begun sifting through nominations filed for the upcoming Senate elections to weed out ineligible candidates as part of a pre-scrutiny process.
A senior ECP official told Dawn on Saturday that the commission had started forwarding nomination papers to focal persons named by various organisations involved in the process to identify tax evaders, loan and utility bill defaulters, beneficiaries of written-off loans, dual nationals and those who had provided false information about their family members to conceal their wealth.
He said that returning officers would decide whether to accept or reject a candidate’s papers on the basis of reports provided by the departments concerned regarding their financial integrity.
Nominees asked to file tax returns along with nomination forms for the first time
He said this was the first time that Senate candidates were required to submit copies of their income and agricultural tax returns for a three-year period, besides providing details of expenses on trips abroad during this time and any expenses regarding children studying overseas.
The candidates were required under Section 12(2) of the Representation of the People Act to file a declaration that no loan of Rs2 million or more obtained from any bank, financial institution, cooperative society or corporate body in their own or any of their dependents’ names, or any business concern mainly owned by them or their dependents stood unpaid for more than a year from the due date, or had been written off. A declaration regarding default in payment of government dues or utility charges in excess of Rs10,000 for over six months at the time of filing the papers was also required.
Under the definition provided in the law, a loan means any loan, advance, credit or finance obtained or written off on or after Dec 31, 1985, but shall not include the loan whose recovery has been delayed or suspended by any other order of a court or tribunal, including the high courts and the Supreme Court.
Taxes include all those levied by the federal, provincial or local governments, but not those whose recovery has been stayed or suspended by a court or tribunal.
Government dues and utility charges include rent, charges of rest houses or lodges owned by the federal, provincial or local governments or corporations established or controlled by them, except those stayed by judicial orders.
The ECP official said the candidates are also required to submit a list of their dependents, which would be verified through the family tree stored in Nadra’s database.
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