ISLAMABAD: Officials of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Finance Division and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on Tuesday submitted reports on provisions of funds for holding elections in Punjab and the KP.
The National Assembly, on Monday, rejected a motion seeking a supplementary sum of Rs21 billion for elections in Punjab. The Supreme Court, on April 14, had directed the SBP to allocate Rs21 billion for holding of general elections in Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies by Monday (April 17).
The court ordered the State Bank and the Finance Ministry/Division to file the compliance reports on 18-04-23, while the Finance Ministry report shall also include a confirmation in relation to the AGPR. The ECP was asked to file a report on 18.04.2023 confirming that Rs21 billion have become available to it.
The order said that the sum of Rs21 billion shall be and become available to and with the Election Commission in immediately releasable and utilizable funds for the purposes of holding the general elections to the Punjab and KP assemblies. All the entities i.e. the State Bank, Finance Ministry/Division, AGPR and the Election Commission must act together and coordinate fully so that the order and direction of the Court is implemented within the stipulated timeframe.
The court noted that this order shall be deemed sufficient authority for all purposes for the authorisation of expenditure on the Federal Consolidated Fund and the federal government shall, thereupon, obtain the ex-post facto approval and sanction from the National Assembly for authorisation of this expenditure in terms of Article 84 and other applicable provisions of the Constitution.
The bench on 4th April order inter alia said; “The federal government shall forthwith and in any case by 10.04.2023 release and provide to the Commission funds i.e. Rs21 billion for the general elections to the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.”
As the government did not release funds to the ECP, the Court, therefore, on April 12 issued notices to governor and next most senior official of the State Bank of Pakistan, secretary and next most senior official of the Ministry of Finance and the secretary and director general (law) of the Commission for April 14.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023