ISLAMABAD - Majority of the sitting members of Parliament might be dropped in the electoral race for the upcoming polls following the merciless fourteen-day scrutiny process the election commission intends to follow, sources said on Sunday.
Extolling the fourteen-day scrutiny process agreed between the PPP-led ruling coalition and Dr Tahirul Qadri, the chief of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the sources said it was an appropriate step. They hoped that seventy per cent of the sitting MPs would not be able to contest the next polls.
They believed that the new process for aspiring candidates was an appropriate timeframe and did not need any legislation by the government to make it two weeks instead of the existing one-week process.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under Section 107 of the Political Parties Act, 1976, can change the timeframe for scrutiny from one week to two weeks, without any piece legislation," former ECP secretary general Kanwar Dilshad told The Nation.
He was of the view that the president of Pakistan could do the needful by promulgating an ordinance. Dilshad went to say that in the presence of powerful returning officers, none of prospective candidates would be able to pass through the scrutiny process should they found involved in tax evasion and loan defaults.
The sources pointed out that the ECP would get lists of tax evaders from the Federal Board of Revenue for the past five years and loan defaulters from the State Bank of Pakistan since 1985 as well as the National Accountability Bureau and other utility institutions.
At the same time the ECP has given choice to the prospective candidates to get NOCs from these institutions and present it to respective returning officers; otherwise the returning officers would be having lists of tax returns of the prospective candidates as well as names of loan defaulters and those who have got their loans rescheduled since 1985 to check to clear the prospective candidates names from these lists.
Most of the informed sources believed that fourteen-day scrutiny was more than sufficient to screen out ‘black sheep’.
Describing these developments as revolutionary changes in the electoral history of Pakistan, they were of the view that the caretaker government would be installed for ninety days, out of which fourteen days would be set for scrutiny and twenty-two days for election campaign for the elections of national and provincial assemblies. The caretaker governments would be left with only thirty days to complete the process of installation of the federal and provincial governments.
Sources privy to these developments were upbeat that the entire process of election and democratic transition would be completed within ninety days.