AGP, SBP officials brief SC on non-provision of election funds during in-chamber hearing

In an in-chamber hearing on Friday, the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP), Mansoor Awan, the Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and representatives of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the Supreme Court (SC) of the government’s failure to distribute Rs21 billion in funds for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Munib Akhtar were present for the briefing, which lasted more than an hour and was held in the chamber of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial.

The highest court, Justices Ahsan and Akhtar, delivered their verdict on April 4, directing the ECP to report to the court on April 11 on whether or not the government had complied with the order to provide Rs21 billion to the ECP in order to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The court was informed earlier this week by the ECP in a one-page report about the government’s reluctance to issue the necessary amount for elections.

The public authority, in the interim, had alluded the make a difference to Parliament to choose. The parliament had refused to distribute funds for the elections a day earlier, defying the SC’s directive.

The finance secretary, SBP governor, AGP Awan, and ECP were then given notices by the top court directing them to appear in the judges’ chamber on April 14.

Additionally, it had instructed the SBP to submit the records and specifics of any and all federal government funds that were in the bank’s custody, control, or management.

The hearing today, which began at 11 a.m., saw the appearance of all summoned officials.

The AGP presented the federal coalition’s position on the matter in a two-page document to the court on behalf of the government.

Awan stated in the document, which has seen, that the parliament’s approval was required for the release of funds from the Federal Consolidated Funds, which include all federal government revenues, loans, and funds received for loan repayment.

It brought up that the public authority had in this way introduced a bill in the parliament looking for the arrival of assets, yet it was dismissed.

The document also stated that while the government had met its legal obligations, the Constitution prohibited it from requesting the SBP release the funds.

Separately, ECP Secretary Umar Hameed told reporters outside the SC that the hearing was held in a “pleasant atmosphere,” and he revealed that he presented the commission’s position to the judges regarding the release of the funds.

He added, “We also talked about the census underway across the country,” noting that the demarcation of the constituencies took four to five months after the census was completed.

Hameed continued, “We are now waiting for the court to issue its order.”

Parliament rejects bill to raise money for elections Yesterday, possibly for the first time in the country’s parliamentary history, the National Assembly rejected a money bill that the government had put forward to raise money for elections in KP and Punjab.

The house dismissed the Charged Totals for General Political race (Commonplace Gatherings of the Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Bill 2023 with a larger part vote after Money Priest Ishaq Dar informed the house that the standing board of trustees had prescribed not to support the bill he presented on April 10.

The bill said that the money needed to hold elections in both provinces must come from “an expenditure charged upon the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF),” which it said includes all of the money the federal government gets for loans, revenues, and loan repayments.

When it came into effect, the bill stated that it would “override other laws” and be in effect “notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rules, or regulations.”

In addition, it noted that the general elections and polls to the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies do not need to be held for the proposed law to be repealed once elections for both assemblies are held.

As it summoned the AGP and other officials to the CJP’s chambers earlier this week, the Supreme Court warned that the federal government’s failure to comply with the April 4 direction regarding the release of funds for elections could have consequences.

According to the statement, “the consequences that can flow from such prima facie defiance of the court are well settled and known.”

The court request said that each individual who sets out upon, empowers or induces rebellion or disobedience of the court can be expected to take responsibility and responsible.

The consequence of the current at first sight rebellion is that once more, the holding of general decisions promptly as commanded by the Constitution might be placed in danger, the request said, adding that inquiry of the arrangement of assets for such a crucial sacred object is something that requires quick consideration which takes need over continuing against the people who might have committed disdain of the court.

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