ISLAMABAD - Interesting details have come to light with the issuance of the annual wealth details of the elected representatives by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), with traditionally clear fluctuations detected in this year’s assets of legislators compared to those of the previous year.
In a convenient bid to bail itself out of this entire affair, the seemingly toothless ECP, the other day, had expressed its inability in probing the wealth details of the parliamentarians, in plain negation of its towering claims made in the past on the creation of a political finance wing to scrutinise the wealth of lawmakers.
According to details released by the commission, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the richest lawmaker with declared assets worth Rs1.824 billion. Jamshed Dasti takes the last place, having the least amount of assets, with only his salaried bank account.
Nawaz Sharif submitted his wealth details with the ECP for the first time since he was not a legislator in the previous assemblies nor was he a member of the parliament in 2002 when the practice of submission of wealth details on part of parliamentarians was first envisaged.
PM’s wealth includes his agricultural land valuing Rs 4.43 billion, but there is no mention of his assets abroad. The PM has four vehicles registered in his name including a ‘tractor’. The other three vehicles are Toyota Land Cruiser (model 2010), Mercedes Benz (1991) and Mercedes Benz (1973). One Farooq Barkat owes Rs1.1 million to Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz whereas Begum Shamim owes PM’s spouse Rs1.65 million.
Imran Khan was also not a parliamentarian in the previous assemblies (2008-13) and his record for the specified time period is not available with the ECP. As per fresh statement, Khan’s entire wealth including his lands, vehicles and related properties is counted only at less than Rs60 million.
PTI chief’s has two dollar, one pound and one euro bank accounts in Islamabad. Khan’s lands in Islamabad, Lahore, Mianwali, Bhakkar and Sheikhupura are all inherited or ‘gifted’. There is no specific mention of his lavish mansion-like bungalow located in Banigala Islamabad. He has a Toyota Prado.
Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali’s statement shows an increase of six kanals in his wife’s land compared to last year. He has 627 kanals and 15 marlas of land in his name, 319 kanals and six marlas in his wife’s, while 159 kanals and five marlas in his daughter’s name. Last year, the land registered in his wife’s name was 313 kanals and five marlas.
Nisar’s wealth return for the last year, however, had a corrigendum note that read, “Due to an oversight earlier, the details of the assets of Ch Nisar need correction.” The minister’s entire land registered in his name is ancestral and he owns a Mercedes Benz and Mitsubishi Pajero.
Hamza Shahbaz Sharif’s assets have shown an increase of Rs40 million. His net wealth this year is Rs250 million compared to last year’s Rs210 million while he is still ‘car-less’ i.e. no automobile is registered in his name.
The assets of Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, Ch Shujaat Hussain, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Rehman Malik and several other prominent legislators have generally remained unchanged. Like last year, Shahbaz is one of the richest legislators of Punjab Assembly with assets worth over Rs482 million. Of them, Rs210 million assets belong directly to him and those of over Rs270 to his two wives.
The CM officially owns a Toyota Land Cruiser, his wife Nusrat Shahbaz has a Honda Civic and his second wife Tehmina Durrani has a Honda Civic and a Suzuki Alto. Shujaat Hussain owns 78 acres of agricultural land. Former interior minister Rehman Malik has mortgaged land worth one million pounds in UK.
Strangely, Opposition Leader in NA Khursheed Shah does not have any vehicle. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid’s net assets, like last year, are slightly over Rs100,000 only and he owns no land or vehicle. The CMs of Sindh and Balochistan Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Abdul Malik Baloch are also ‘car-less’. The KPK CM Pervaiz Khattak has a Toyota Corolla.
In April 2011, ECP had claimed that it was working on a mechanism to address the issue of false details of assets and was consulting FBR, AGPR, finance ministry and Auditor General, but such a mechanism seems to be a far cry.