5 December 2023
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For transparency and accountability, an electronic asset declaration system will be set up through which movable and immovable assets of the bureaucracy abroad would be made public.

Citizens will also be able to access the declaration of the assets of the members of parliament.

The federal government has decided to give public access to the details of the assets of parliamentarians and bureaucrats to fulfil the terms of the agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the previous PTI regime.

Besides, the assets possessed by the wives and children of grade-17 to grade-22 employees would also be made public. Apart from this, bureaucrats, who have secret assets abroad, would be taken to the task.

Sources in the finance ministry said Pakistan had agreed in the Letter of Intent (LoI) signed as per the agreement with the IMF that the details of the foreign assets of the bureaucracy would be provided to the people.

The previous PTI government had resisted the demand to ensure compulsory declaration on the grounds that these people were already required to submit their asset details in the Establishment Division. However, the IMF did not agree to it and instead asked Pakistan that such declarations should be filed with the tax authorities.

The IMF’s view was that any important position holder drawing salary from the budget should disclose assets to ensure transparency.

However, that government had found a way out where the declarations filed by members of the armed forces would not be made public, the sources had said, adding that the exception had been created by then law minister Barrister Farogh Naseem.

The sources had said that the requirement of non-disclosure of the asset declarations would not be applicable on those who were currently exempted from the applicability of the National Accountability Ordinance.

A proviso was likely to be inserted in the law that would state that nothing in clause (t) shall apply to those who are expressly exempted under clause (iv) of sub-section (m) of Section 5 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

Clause 5(m)(iv)

A person who is holding, or has held, an office or post in the service of Pakistan, or any service in connection with the affairs of the Federation, or of a province, or of a local council constituted under any federal or provincial law relating to the constitution of local councils, or in the management of corporations, banks, financial institutions, firms, concerns, undertakings or any other institution or organisation established, controlled or administered by or under the federal government or a provincial government, other than a person who is a member of any of the armed forces of Pakistan, or for the time being is subject to any law relating to any of the said forces, except a person who is, or has been a member of the said forces and is holding, or has held, a post or office in any public corporation, bank, financial institution, undertaking or other organisation established, controlled or administered by or under the federal government or a provincial government.

Abdul Gh Lone