SC issues notices after govt fails to provide poll funds | The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court (SC) issued notices on Wednesday to the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and finance secretary after the government failed to pay out Rs21 billion required for polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The apex court summoned the officials to court on April 14.

In its verdict on the suo motu case of the ECP’s postponement of elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the SC had instructed the incumbent government to provide the requisite funds for elections by April 10 and ordered the electoral watchdog to provide a compliance report by April 11.

Yesterday’s ECP report highlighted that the government had failed to disburse the funds and was reluctant to provide the money. Conversely, the government referred the matter to parliament.

The notice said that the provision of funds for the election was more important than contempt of court proceedings, but according to the ECP report, the government did not provide the funds, which was a violation of court orders. It added that the consequences for breaching court orders were apparent in the law.

“The failure of the federal government to comply with the order of the court as aforesaid is prima facie disobedience. The consequences that can flow from such prima facie defiance of the court are well settled and known,” it stated, adding that anyone who instigated disobedience or defied the court could be held accountable.

Read ECP sees over 120m registered voters in country

The court ordered the SBP governor to bring all details regarding the available resources and directed the finance secretary to provide all records and inquire why the orders of the SC were not followed.

Furthermore, the apex court ordered the ECP secretary to provide all records related to Punjab and KP elections.

ECP report

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the SC that it had not yet received the funds to be able to hold the elections in Punjab in order to meet the May 14 deadline set by the apex court.

According to sources, the commission in the report has informed the apex court that contrary to its orders, the government had not provided it with the Rs21 billion required to conduct the elections in Punjab and K-P. The ECP added that it was facing difficulties in issuing the schedule for the polls because of the lack of funds.

It seemed the government had missed the apex court deadline as it had not released the funds for the polls so far and instead referred the matter of election funds to parliament. The bill was referred to a standing committee and lawmakers were set to reconvene on Thursday (tomorrow).

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