No Funds For Punjab Elections, ECP Informs SC

No Funds For Punjab Elections, ECP Informs SC
The Election Commission on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it has not received any funds for the Punjab elections yet.

Submitting its report in in compliance with the court order, the electoral authority apprised the apex court about the grant for the polls, scheduled to take place on May 14.

A day earlier, the National Assembly rejected a motion seeking a supplementary grant of Rs21 billion for the purpose.

Addressing the session, Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar recalled that the ECP had delayed elections in Punjab till October owing to lack of finances and the current security situation.

“In such economic circumstances if elections are held again and again for the sake of one man’s ego, it is not in the country’s interest,” he said.

He said the amount in the Federal Consolidated Fund, except for the charged expenditure, could only be given once the National Assembly's approves it, with no other authority holding the powers.

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However, the supplementary demand 64-A moved by the law minister was rejected by the House.

On Friday, the apex court directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to release a sum of Rs21 billion for the elections in Punjab and KP and send an “appropriate communication” to the finance ministry by April 17 in this regard.

“The sum of Rs21bn shall be and become available to and with the election commission in immediately releasable and utilisable funds for the purposes of holding the general elections to the Punjab and KP assemblies,” according to the order.

The SC had also observed that the required funds could be made available to the top electoral authority “immediately and within a matter of a day”.

As per the court's observation, there was “absolutely no difficulty or hitch, financially or procedurally or in terms of the relevant authorisation by and under the Constitution” to release the crucial funds forthwith.