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Monday, April 22, 2024

Govt helpless on election funds issue, claims AGP

The parliament had refused to provide funds and the federal government had no authority over the matter now.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan has told the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the federal government is helpless in the matter of releasing funds for the provincial elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The remarks were made during an in-chamber hearing by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial while including Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar.

The bench had directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in Punjab on May 14, and the federal government to provide funds amounting to Rs21 billion to the electoral body by April 10. However, the ECP submitted a report to the apex court on Tuesday stating that the federal government had not provided funds for the polls.

Read more: NA passes resolution rejecting SC decision on Punjab poll

Furthermore, the parliament refused to approve the funds for the polls in the province. In a joint statement, the coalition parties in the government have rejected the Supreme Court’s order to stay the judicial reform bill until further orders. The bill to provide funds for elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been rejected in the National Assembly session.

Subsequently, the top court issued notices to the finance secretary, SBP governor, AGP Awan, and the ECP, directing them to appear before the judges’ chamber on April 14 along with relevant reports.

The hearing began at 11 am today and the order will be released after Friday prayers.

Earlier today, before arriving at the court, Awan held a meeting with the prime minister. Talking to the media on the way to the SC, he said that the parliament had refused to provide funds and the federal government had no authority over the matter now, therefore, the federal government was “handicapped” on the release of funds.

“We will tell this to the court during the in-chamber briefing today,” he added.

Read more: Victory for PTI as SC strikes down ECP decision to delay Punjab poll