LAHORE - The most significant outcome of the parleys held between the coalition partners and Dr Tahirul Qadri on Thursday is the consensus point on the proposed legal provision to be incorporated in the electoral laws regarding pre-clearance of candidates under Articles 62, 63 and 218 of the Constitution. 

As per the proposed new legal provision, one month will be given for scrutiny of nomination papers and the candidates would not be declared eligible to contest the elections unless all concerned departments including FBR, Income Tax, commercial banks, NAB, police and other institutions issue a clearance certificate about his/ her being not a defaulter on any count. 

In other words, all such candidates would be ineligible to contest who had a history of having defaulted on account of payment of their taxes or the loans acquired from different financial institutions. Likewise, the Election Commission would also ensure that prospective candidates have not been found involved in any kind of fraud, financial or other at any stage in their life. A person with criminal background would also be ineligible and a certificate from the police department would be sought. A clearance certificate from NAB would also be mandatory to confirm that the candidate had never committed corruption.

However, it has not been clarified whether or not the candidates would have the right to file appeal against rejection of their nomination papers in the appellate benches consisting of the superior judiciary. The candidates have this under the existing arrangement.

Dr Qadri’s demand regarding dissolution of National Assembly before March 16 is directly linked to this provision. The election time has been extended to another month to provide sufficient time to the Election Commission to complete the process of scrutiny of candidates’ credentials. This would happen for the first time in country’s electoral history.

It is expected that majority of the existing lot of politicians would be filtered out as a result of this tight scrutiny to be undertaken jointly by the Election Commission and the departments concerned.