Finance secretary, AGP summoned by SC for non-provision of election funds

  • Registrar of the top court says the failure of the federal govt to comply with the order of the court is prima facie disobedience
Published April 12, 2023

As a result of the government’s failure to disburse Rs21 billion for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Supreme Court (SC) issued notices on Wednesday to the finance secretary, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Aaj News reported.

The development comes after ECP submitted a report on whether it had received funds from the federal government for general elections in Punjab province. The ECP, in a sealed envelope, filed the report at the SC’s Registrar’s Office on Tuesday.

The Registrar of the Supreme Court confirmed today in a notice that the ECP’s report from yesterday stated that no funds have been released and provided to it in accordance with the order of the court.

“The failure of the federal government to comply with the order of the court as aforesaid is prima facie disobedience,” it observed. “The consequences that can flow from such prima facie defiance of the court are well settled and known.

“Every person who embarks upon, encourages or instigates disobedience or defiance of the court can be held liable and accountable,” the notice pointed out.

Earlier this month, the SC ruled that the ECP’s decision to postpone polls in Punjab till October 8 was “unconstitutional.”

The apex court directed the caretaker government in Punjab to assist the ECP with elections and said the federal government has been asked to help with this, ordering authorities to release Rs21 billion to the ECP by April 10.

After the court’s order, the National Assembly (NA) passed a resolution rejecting the decision of the Supreme Court in the Punjab elections delay case. The resolution stated that the house considers the conduct of general elections simultaneously across the country as the solution to all the problems.

Separately, the federal cabinet had also rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict that termed the ECP decision to postpone polls in Punjab till October 8 as unconstitutional and ordered elections on May 14.

The government has so far not issued the funds for polls and instead referred the matter of election funds to the Parliament. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar introduced the “Charged Sums for General Elections (Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa)” Bill 2023 in both houses of parliament.

The bill is aimed at carving a legal way for the release of Rs21 billion in funds for holding elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Dar introduced the piece of legislation as a “money bill”, which gives the voting right on it to the National Assembly and a maximum 14-day time to the Senate to give recommendations on the bill.

A day ago, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja wrote letters to National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, proposing amendments to Sections 57 (1) and 58 of the Elections Act, 2017.

Letters on similar lines, signed by ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, were also sent to the principal secretary to the prime minister and secretary for parliamentary affairs. Under the proposed amendments, the ECP wants its power back to announce and alter the election schedule at any stage without any intervention by a ‘third party’.

“Section 11 of the original (Peoples’ Representation) Act of 1976 empowered the Commission to announce poll date unilaterally without any trace of intervention by a third party. The Section was amended through Ordinance No. 11 of 1985 (12.1.1985) with the sole object to create the role of the President to hold the elections at the whims of one man,” say the identical letters.

“The role of the president to appoint a date for poll in case of dissolution of the National Assembly on the advice of the prime minister or the dissolution of the National Assembly on expiry of the term, is not supported by any constitutional provision,” one of the letters pointed out.


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Tulukan Mairandi Apr 13, 2023 04:40am
There are no funds to even feed people. What election?!
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Iftikhar Apr 13, 2023 06:16am
This decrease nothing enough for middle class Car company should decrease half price of cars
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