Election Funds: PTI Seeks Contempt Proceedings Against PM Shehbaz, Cabinet

Election Funds: PTI Seeks Contempt Proceedings Against PM Shehbaz, Cabinet
The federal cabinet and Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif were urged to be held in contempt of court on Monday by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for failing to provide funding to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Fawad Chaudhry, senior vice president of the PTI, said in a tweet that the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) refusal to transfer funds is illegal despite instructions from the Supreme Court.

The former information minister argued that in order to fulfill the prime minister and the cabinet's wish to be removed from office by court orders, the Supreme Court should begin contempt of court proceedings against them.

Even though the time for releasing the money has passed, the top court immediately directed the central bank to give Rs21 billion to the ECP for holding the polls in the two provinces until April 17.

During a meeting of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, SBP acting governor Sima Kamil stated that although the central bank had allocated money for the elections on the directions of the SC, it lacked the jurisdiction to release it.

After lengthy consideration, the standing committee delivered a summary to the federal cabinet, explaining why money should not have been given to the ECP for polling. The National Assembly then received the report from the government and approved it, thus exacerbating the already dire situation.

The government has refused to comply with the apex court's ruling to hold the elections on May 14, and as a result of the ongoing standoff, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah declared that no matter what, the elections will not take place on that day.

In an effort to pressure the Shehbaz Sharif-led government into conducting general elections, the PTI dissolved Punjab and KP assemblies in January.