332 lawmakers have failed to submit the annual statement of assets and liabilities to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). This is a gross violation of Section 137 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017. The law requires each member of an Assembly or Senate to submit these documents on or before December 31st. The ECP also provided an extension to these lawmakers which again resulted in non-submission of the documents. The failure of the lawmakers to comply to the deadline provided by ECP, not once but twice, can only point towards a lack of regard not just for the orders of the Commission but also the laws of the country.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Khan Afridi, Dr Amir Liaquat, Ahsan Iqbal, Muhammad Akhtar Mengal, and Sharjeel Inam Memon among others have been listed as the members who have failed to submit the documents. According to Section 137 (3) of the Elections Act, any lawmaker who fails to submit these documents shall be suspended from service immediately until the required documents are filed. This automatically translates into the suspension of these lawmakers and they should be provided no leverage for failure to follow orders. Assets and liabilities have been part of the entire political debate during the election year. Such negligences should not be ignored, especially by the members of the ruling party.

What is interesting to observe here is the mention of former finance minister and Senator-elect Muhammad Ishaq Dar and former interior minister and member-elect of the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the list. This gives rise to the debate about whether the ECP can suspend those who are members-elect and yet to take an oath. In the absence of legislation regarding the matter, the lawmakers must be prompted to submit the documents as early as possible.