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Pakistan

SC, govt confrontation deepens after NA approves summary on non-provision of election funds

  • Supreme Court’s deadline to release Rs21 billion for KP, Punjab polls ends today
  • Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha says SBP and Finance Division have no authority to release money from Federal Consolidated Fund
Published April 17, 2023

In a clear violation of the Supreme Court's order, the National Assembly on Monday approved the election summary sent by the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue regarding the non-provision of funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Aaj News reported.

The development comes after the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Monday sent the issue pertaining to funds for Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa elections back to Parliament.

Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha told reporters after the meeting that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Finance Division had no authority to release funds from the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF).

Earlier, sources in the SBP told Business Recorder on Sunday that on the Supreme Court’s order, the SBP had decided to hold the required amount from the government’s treasury to ensure the availability of the funds for the elections in the two provinces on May 14.

The Supreme Court’s deadline to release Rs21 billion for the polls ends today for which a special meeting of the NA Committee was called.

Supreme Court directs SBP to release Rs21bn for Punjab elections

According to Dr Pasha, Parliament's approval is required prior to the allocation of the funds.

“Without the approval of Parliament, no bill or budget has any legal authenticity,” she stressed. “Hence, we leave the entire matter to Parliament now. The Parliament is supreme for us because this is what is written in the Constitution.”

She clarified that the SBP could allocate the funds but it cannot release them before Parliament's approval.

Elections in Punjab, KP: NA body rejects bill about provision of funds to ECP

“And then the Finance Division can only act on the orders of the federal cabinet. Now, it is the federal cabinet’s will to take the matter to Parliament … if Parliament says yes, we will disburse the funds today,” Pasha added.

Meanwhile, during today's NA Committee meeting, SBP Acting Governor Sima Kamil said the central bank has allocated Rs21 billion for the ECP to conduct polls in Punjab on the directives of the Supreme Court but does not have the authority to release funds directly.

Law Minister Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, meanwhile, informed the panel that the Ministry of Finance had already said it does not have sufficient funds to hold elections in Punjab on May 14.

Supreme Court orders Punjab elections to be held on May 14

"Spending twice on elections is not in the country's interest", the law minister said, adding that the apex court had directed the central bank to manage the funds.

He maintained that the trustees of government funds are elected representatives of the people.

Background

On April 4, the SC stated that the ECP’s decision to postpone polls in Punjab till October 8 was unconstitutional.

It ordered that elections in Punjab be held on May 14 and directed the federal government to assist the commission, ordering authorities to release Rs21 billion to the ECP by April 10.

When this did not happen, on April 14 the Supreme Court directed the SBP to arrange the money from the Federal Consolidated Fund.

Comments

Comments are closed.

Tulukan Mairandi Apr 17, 2023 02:03pm
If the money isn't released, that's the end of any further IMF support. An imminent default will instead be a confirmed default.
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Boncr Apr 17, 2023 02:53pm
@Tulukan Mairandi, send money first buying property in the UK and Dubai. From top to bottom all Punjabi are currupted and Chor.
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Parvez Apr 17, 2023 05:14pm
Jack sends it John and John sends it back to Jack.....the Constitution is not being followed and the PDM government stands disgraced.....
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Maqbool Apr 17, 2023 05:23pm
But the Supreme courts sits on huge amounts of Funds, Dam Funds , litigation funds,etc. why don’t they help and provide the funds. NAB sits on funds , where has that gone ?, We are told Pakistan was payed Usd 2 billion for FIFA World Cup security , where are all these funds ? Hidden under different heads ? Personally after the 18 amendment the Provinces must provide those funds required for Provincial elections, before it’s spent on Luxury cars and Perks and Foreign Travel and expanded Cabinets
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Love Your Country Apr 17, 2023 06:22pm
@Tulukan Mairandi, baseless statement.
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Asif Apr 17, 2023 09:23pm
@Dr. Kay, and that explains the lack of rule of law.
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Kashif ALI Apr 17, 2023 09:38pm
The onus of such crisis lies squarely on PTI and its supporters. Why did PTI get out of the parliament and now, they are so desperate to get back to the same parliament? Only this aspect shows how brainless, stupid, emotional and non-democratic behaviour persists in PTI. There was strong voice within PTI and its allies that provincial assemblies should not be dissolved but that moron Pied Piper (IK) stuck to his guns. What a nonsense dictatorial behaviour by him? Now, his allies and party members are desperate to polish the same boots for which he used to abuse his political opponents. Is it the principled politics that he claims to bring about a change in new Pakistan? Is it the rule of law? If PDM are decades old thieves, PTI is no different. The only difference is that they are not given enough opportunity to repeat the same what PDM has been doing for 4 decades. Why should that be allowed? We need Nationalist Technocrats whose moto should be PAKISTAN FIRST. At any cost.
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Asim Apr 18, 2023 03:26am
@Kashif ALI, tenhnocrats a receipe for another 1971!
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Asim Apr 18, 2023 03:28am
Constitution is sumpreme! Period! Same paindoo mindset that let 1971 happen is active to save their skins!
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