Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Wednesday instructed aspiring candidates to submit an affidavit, detailing their assets, along with their electoral nomination papers.
The affidavit would include details about holding foreign passports, dual nationality, and any criminal cases against the candidates. The court said that all candidates will have to submit the affidavit within three days as the last date for submission of papers is nearing.
A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing of a petition filed by former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq challenging a Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict rejecting nomination papers, drafted by a parliamentary committee, for violating Article 62, 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The decision has been announced following Lahore High Court’s June 1 ruling which highlighted that nomination form of the electoral candidates did not seek necessary information and declarations such as details on educational background, criminal record, and dual citizenship.
The LHC had noted that the forms did not contain the information and declarations that were part of the 2013 nomination forms such as educational qualification of the candidate, occupation/job/profession/business of the candidate, dual nationality, national tax number/income tax returns, agriculture tax returns, criminal record, assets and liabilities of dependents.
However, Pakistan’s top court has ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to again add the missing requirements of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution to the nomination papers by midnight to avoid any delays in the elections scheduled for July 25. The step has been taken to encourage honest candidates and to ensure transparency in the electoral process.
“We need completely clean people [to contest] in the elections,” Chief Justice of Pakistan said, adding that contempt proceedings would follow if incorrect information was submitted.
Affidavit to be filed with Nomination Form
Article 62 of the constitution defines the eligibility of candidates to be elected representatives of the people under which a person cannot be qualified as a member of the national or provincial legislatures if he is not ‘Sadiq and Ameen’ — truthful and trustworthy. The Article 63 outlines the conditions on which a Member of Parliament ceases to remain one; for instance a person shall be disqualified as an elected representative if he or she has been convicted by a court of “contempt of jurisdiction.”
Pakistan’s former premier Nawaz Sharif was disqualified first as prime minister and later declared ineligible to head his party under Article 62.
Candidates throughout the country are busy in filing their nomination papers for seats of national and provincial assemblies as the last date for submission of papers for the upcoming general elections (June 8) is nearing. The nomination papers will be examined on June 14. The list of final candidates would be displayed by the end of June.