Pakistan court orders central bank to release funds for Punjab polls

Supreme Court says Election Commission must receive Rs21 billion by April 17

By Agencies

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, conducted an in-chamber hearing. — AFP file
A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, conducted an in-chamber hearing. — AFP file

Published: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 7:35 PM

Pakistan’s top court on Friday directed the country’s central bank to release Rs21 billion in funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding elections.

The order from the Supreme Court came after the government failed to provide the amount despite an earlier court directive for holding election elections in country’s Punjab province.

During an in-chamber hearing headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, the judges informed Attorney-General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan that the court orders must be followed in the suo motu notice regarding the postponement of Punjab polls, reports The Express Tribune.

Quoting sources, the report said the AGP presented the government’s stance and faced tough questions. The judges expressed their anger regarding the non-disbursement of funds and told the government that the court orders will have to be implemented.

“The federal government implemented the April 4 order of the Supreme Court,” the AGP told the bench. He added that the government also tabled a bill in the National Assembly for the release of funds from the Federal Consolidated Funds.

“The government cannot ask the SBP to issue the funds after the rejection of the bill from parliament,” AGP Awan said.

The AGP added that the government had fulfilled its legal obligations, but it was not authorised under the Constitution to ask the SBP to release the funds.

Separately, talking to reporters outside the SC, ECP Secretary Umar Hameed said that the hearing was held in a “pleasant atmosphere”, revealing that he presented the commission’s stance on the release of the funds to the judges.

“We also talked about the census underway across the country,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn News. The ECP official pointed out that once the census was completed, four to five months were required for the demarcation of the constituencies.

In a written order issued later in the day, the bench observed that according to presentations by the central bank and Finance Divison officials, the amount of Rs21 billion required by the ECP could be disbursed "immediately and within a day", according to Geo News.

It directed the State Bank to send "appropriate communication" in this regard to the Finance Division immediately, following which the latter would issue instructions to the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) for the release of funds. All this must be done by the end of the business day on April 17, the court instructed.


More news from World