Top court orders State Bank of Pakistan to release funds for Punjab, KP polls
15 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh
Supreme Court has ordered the SBP to immediately allocate and release PKR 21 billion from funds held with it to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the elections.
According to Geo News, the Pakistan Supreme Court on Friday directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to direct funds for the holding of elections to the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. The Supreme Court has ordered the SBP to immediately allocate and release PKR 21 billion from funds held with it to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the elections. According to the Supreme Court, funds can be distributed “immediately and within a day” based on the submissions of officials.
According to a court order, the Election Commission must obtain PKR 21 billion by the end of business on April 17. According to Geo News, State Bank’s Finance Division is required to submit compliance reports on April 18.
The order was issued on Friday by a three-member Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar. According to Geo News, they held an in-chamber hearing on Thursday about the federal government’s failure to comply with its order to transfer the cash from April 4.
According to sources who spoke to Geo News, the judges complained during the hearing about the court orders not being followed and warned the government that they would have to be followed. According to those with access to the proceedings, Pakistan’s attorney general, Mansoor Usman Awan, was grilled hard about the government’s position throughout the session.
Later that day, in a written decision, the bench stated that the central bank and Finance Division officials’ submissions indicated that the PKR 21 billion required by the ECP could be distributed “immediately and within a day.”
The Supreme Court had ordered elections in Punjab on May 14 and declared the Election Commission’s March 22 decision to postpone polls until October 28 to be null and void.
According to Geo News, the decision was announced by a three-member bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.
The verdict was supposed to be a way out of the ongoing political and constitutional crisis, but the government rejected the Supreme Court decision, deepening it.