SC Summons ECP Officials, Secretary Finance, AGP over Non-provision of Election Funds on 14th

Wed Apr 12 2023
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By Special Correspondent


ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday issued notices to governor State Bank of Pakistan Jameel Ahmad, secretary finance, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Awan and the secretary and director-general (Law) of the Election Commission of Pakistan over the federal government’s failure to release Rs21 billion funds for polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, to appear in the court on April 14 (Friday).

Scan 12 Apr 2023


In its April 4 order, the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered the government to provide Rs21bn in funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa by April 10 and also directed the ECP to submit a report to the court on whether or not the government complied with the order, on April 11.


A day earlier on Tuesday, the ECP in the sealed one-page report submitted to the court and informed about the government’s reluctance to release the amount needed for the elections to the two provincial assemblies. The government, meanwhile, referred the matter to the parliament to take a decision on the issue.


In a notice issued Wednesday (today), the top court noted that the report submitted by the ECP yesterday stated that “no funds have at all been released and provided to it as required by the order of the court”.


In the court notice issued by the Supreme Court registrar, the top court noted that the report submitted by the Commission yesterday stated “no funds have at all been released and provided to it as required by the order of the court”. “The failure of the federal government to comply with the order of the court as aforesaid is prima facie disobedience,” the supreme court observed. “The consequences that can flow from such prima facie defiance of the court are well settled and known, it added.

“Every person who embarks upon, encourages or instigates disobedience or defiance of the court can be held liable and accountable,” the notice pointed out. It highlighted that the “disobedience” by the federal government would put the conduct of timely elections as mandated by the Constitution in “jeopardy”.

“The question of the provision of funds for such a vital constitutional purpose is something that requires immediate attention which takes priority over proceeding against those who may have committed contempt of the court,” the SC said.

Subsequently, the court issued a notices to the SBP governor and the next senior most official of the bank and directed them to appear before the chamber of the judges on Friday. It directed them to bring the record and details of money owned by the federal government lying with or under the control, custody or management of the central bank.

The court also issued notices to the AGP, the finance secretary and the “next most senior official” in the Finance Ministry for an in-person appearance the same day. “The said officials shall bring with them all the relevant record and shall place before the court a detailed report as to why the order of the court made in para 5 of Const. P. 5/2023 has not been complied with, as stated by the commission,” it said.

Issuing similar notices to the ECP secretary and director general (Law), the court directed them to prepare and submit the full record pertaining to the general elections to the Punjab and KP assemblies.

ECP report

Though the contents of the report submitted by the Election Commission of Pakistan in court a day earlier are not known, however, the one-page report informed the apex court about the government’s reluctance to issue the Rs21 billion needed for the purpose.

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