A news item captioned "No extension in last date for MPs filing of assets details: EC" appeared on the inside pages of a newspaper in an inconspicuous place, making it one of those routine, run-of-the-mill type news. If the paper had realised the importance of this news story, it would have found space in bold on the front page. It didn't. But nothing could be more important for running an honest government than subjecting our elected politicians to fiscal and monetary transparency and accountability. MPs should compulsorily be made to file their returns every year, media should publish their details and EC should put these details on its website for all to see whether they gained or lost in value during the year. Mere publishing the assets of the MP, his/her spouse(s) and dependents as declared in their returns required under Section 42-A of the Representation of the People Act 1976 and the Senate (Election) Act 1975 is not enough. These must be thoroughly examined by tax authorities for accuracy and the hidden assets and tax evasions of MPs, if found, made public. As the last date - September 30th - has already passed it is sincerely hoped that the EC will take necessary action against defaulters and publish the action taken against them on the EC website. The Election Commission could invite information from the general public about the undeclared assets of an MP, with an assurance of complete secrecy. Public could also be offered suitable incentives - monetary rewards, etc. for disclosure of sizeable hidden assets. -COL (Retd) RIAZ JAFRI, Rawalpindi, via e-mail, October 5.