The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has published a report, which encloses the annual wealth ‘details’ of our elected representatives. The figures contained in the document are those submitted by the parliamentarians themselves. The esteemed members have not exactly been the beacons of uprightness and fairness till now. Therefore, the prevalent cynicism over the validity of the numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially, when there is so much else to be amazed by.
For example, this whole ‘theory’ about elections being the game of the rich has been completely busted. Forget extravagances and indulgencies, some of our members don’t even have a single car to their name. The list of these financially challenged individuals includes Leader of the Opposition, Khursheed Shah, Sindh CM, Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Balochistan CM, Abdul Malik Baloch.
Then, there are those who are truly gifted. Not in terms of their capabilities, but by the virtue of their ability to attract “gifts”. Cars, agricultural and commercial properties, and a 9mm pistol – they have received it all as gifts. If only, everyone was so lucky to be surrounded by such giving people. Apart from various problems, which our politicians often complain about, they have also “inherited” many of their current possessions.
The simple fact is this: the ECP cannot expect the people of this country to believe the figures presented in the report. It’s Pakistan. The majority of our parliamentarians do not belong to middle-class families. They are richest people around, the privileged few who can afford to participate in elections as candidates. The declared assets are, in no way, reflective of their lavish lifestyles. Clearly, a lot of skillful work has gone towards presenting them as such.
Politics is a business. The only reason that parliamentarians are always keen to spend millions during election campaigns is because they view the sum as an investment. They can earn multiple times more once in office. Politics is good business. Secures the shenanigans of the past, opens doors to an even more prosperous future. But, this corruption is not exclusive to our representatives. It’s just as much prevalent amongst those who vote for them.
Only 7% pay the taxes in this country. The economy is undocumented to a large extent. While we are sure that there are discrepancies in the ECP report, there is no mechanism in place to clearly prove it. ECP had claimed that it was working on a plan to deal with the issue of false details of assets, and was consulting FBR, AGPR, finance ministry and Auditor General. Now, it has raised its hands in surrender. There is no going forward until or unless accountability is ensured. But, one wonders, who’s going to do it?