ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday summoned the finance secretary, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad and others as the government was reluctant to issue Rs21 million funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan for holding polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The apex court also issued notice to the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan, directing all official to appear in chambers of the judges on April 14.
The development comes a day after electoral body submitted a report to the apex court, informing that it had not received funds from the government for elections in the two provinces.
The federal government did not issue the funds despite the court order and instead tabled the money bill 2023 titled “Charged Sum for General Election (Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Bill, 2023” in the National Assembly on Monday.
Last week, the top court voided the order of the election commission regarding delay in elections in Punjab, ordering polls on May 14.
A three-member special bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan had declared the ECP’s order unconstitutional.
The court had directed the federal government to issue Rs21 billion funds to Election Commission by April 10 and asked the electoral watchdog to submit a report in this regard.
In a notice issued by the top court’s registrar today, the SC observed that the federal government has prima facie committed disobedience by not issuing funds despite orders.
“The consequences that can flow from such prima facie defiance of the court are well settled and known,” the notice said.
“Every person who embarks upon, encourages or instigates disobedience or defiance of the court can be held liable and accountable,” it said, adding that the delay in the funds would jeopardise the elections.
“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.
Later, the apex court issued notices to the SBP chief, directing him to appear in the chamber of the judges on April 14 along with details of money owned by the government.
The court also summoned the AGP and the finance secretary on 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.