Supreme Court Issues Notices to Officials Over Failure to Disburse Funds for Elections in Pakistan

SC wants reply from Centre, provinces on political meddling in police transfers

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has summoned top officials over the government’s failure to disburse Rs21 billion for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The officials, including the State Bank of Pakistan Governor Jameel Ahmad, Finance Secretary, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), have been instructed to appear in court on April 14, 2023. 

The Supreme Court had previously ordered the government to provide the necessary funds for conducting elections in both provinces by April 10. However, the ECP submitted a one-page report to the court, stating that the government had not yet issued the required funds. 

The government referred the matter to parliament for decision, but the Supreme Court deemed it as prima facie disobedience. The court warned that non-compliance could put the timely conduct of elections, mandated by the constitution, at risk. 

As a result, the court summoned the SBP governor, the next senior-most official of the bank, the AGP, finance secretary, and the next most senior official in the finance ministry to appear before the judges on April 14 at 11 am. The ECP secretary and director-general law were also directed to prepare and submit the full record relating to the general elections in the Punjab and KP assemblies. 

Read More: PTI Approaches Supreme Court To Seek Early KP Elections

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar introduced a bill in the National Assembly and Senate seeking the release of funds for holding elections in both provinces. The “Charged Sum for General Election (Provincial Assemblies of Punjab & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Bill 2023” stated that the funds required for conducting elections in both provinces would be an expenditure charged upon the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF). 

The bill stated that it shall override other laws and have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rules, and regulations when it was in force. 

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