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Monday, April 15, 2024

CJP offers to fund elections from judges’ salaries

The CJP proposed that if cuts were made to his salary and others, then the vital task of carrying out elections could be completed.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has proposed to take a pay cut for himself and other judges so that the elections could be funded and finally take place across the country.

CJP Umar Ata Bandial made the unusual offer while hearing PTI’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone general elections to the Punjab Assembly till October 8.

A five-member larger bench — comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Mandokhail — is hearing the case.

Read more: President Alvi announces date for Punjab, KP elections

During the hearing, the attention turned to the issue of funds raised by the ECP for the elections. The PTI lawyer replied that the ECP had said that it was not provided with funds for the elections.

At this, Justice Akhtar expressed his surprise at the federal government collecting Rs500 billion in tax till February, as claimed by the Prime Minister, yet not being able to spare Rs20 billion for the elections.

“The federal government says that Rs500 billion tax was collected till February … it is surprising that out of Rs500 billion, Rs20 billion couldn’t be given [for elections],” the judge pointed out.

At one point during the hearing, the CJP proposed that if cuts were made to his salary and others, then the vital task of carrying out elections could be completed.

“An entire budget is not required for elections … the government can cut back its expenditures and release Rs20 billion,” he said. “An Rs20 billion cut can be made in the salaries of judges.”

CJP Bandial highlighted that the country was in the midst of economic turmoil today and emphasized that sacrifice was needed to deal with the crisis. “A five percent salary cut can cover the expenses of elections,” he said.

Read more: Punjab elections to be held on 30th April