Sunday, 1 May 2016

Cases of bank default, loan write off: over 200 top politicians who should have been disqualified under articles 62, 63

This article appeared 3 years ago.Why no action was taken by the government is obvious because their hands are not clean.

Former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani would stand disqualified even if he was not convicted by the Supreme Court for a loan write off by his wife Fauzia Gilani. Yousuf Raza Gilani's wife took a loan of Rs 40 million against Naqi Beverages but got a clean chit after returning only eight million rupees when her husband was the country's prime minister. 

According to Article 63 (1) (n), (o), (p) a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Parliament if he has obtained a loan for an amount of two million rupees or more from any bank, financial institution, co-operative society or co-operative body in his own name or in the name of his spouse or any of his dependents, which remains unpaid for more than one year from the due date, or has got such a loan written off; or he or his spouse or any of his dependents has defaulted in payment of government dues and utility expenses, including telephone, electricity, gas and water charges in excess of ten thousand rupees, for over six months, at the time of filing his nomination papers; or he is for the time being disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of a parliament or of the provincial assembly under any law for the time being enforced. 

A report submitted to the Supreme Court by Justice Jamshed Commission exposed over fifty thousand cases of loan defaulters but only 740 cases were considered by the Justice Jamshed Commission. A source privy to the development claimed that Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of PML-N has conveyed to the PPP that both parties should discuss a joint strategy to counter the ECP's moves to disqualify loan defaulters. 

Another source in the PPP confirmed that the thinking in the party is that if a joint strategy was not evolved, there was a strong possibility that several PPP leaders would become victim of Articles 62 and 63 due to the loan write off. He said there were strong chances that over 200 top politicians, including Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif would become victim of the said articles due to cases of bank default and loan write-off. 

He said that the ECP's move to tighten the noose around politicians by implementing Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution in letter and spirit had annoyed parliamentarians belonging to both the government and the opposition. In this regard, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim also held detailed meetings with SBP Governor Yaseen Anwar, FBR chief Ali Arshad Hakeem and officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to filter out the tainted politicians. 

According to the decision, NAB would provide the ECP with a list of convicted politicians while the SBP would give the details of the defaulters on bank loans, and the FBR and NADRA would furnish the details of tax evaders. When contacted the legal experts maintained that the constitution is very clear about loan defaulters, tax evaders, and stressed the need to ensure implementation of Article 62, 63 to filter the black sheep. 

A senior lawyer who wished not to be named said that the implementation of Article 63, would be resisted by the old guard of the country's politicians as very few of them had a clean past record. "It's not only Gilani and his spouse [and] there are so many other big fish who are wandering free...so the chance to tighten the noose around these people [tax evaders, loan waivers] does not seem to be possible, at least this time around", he added. 

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