By the court’s order, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it had not yet received the funds required for holding elections in Punjab, despite the May 14 deadline set by the apex court.
The three-member SC bench, consisting of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar, had fixed May 14 as the new date for the Punjab Assembly elections, after quashing the ECP’s decision to extend the polls date from April 10 to October 8.
The Supreme Court had directed the federal government to release funds amounting to Rs21 billion by April 10 for conducting the elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
However, after a prolonged debate in the parliament, the coalition government decided against the order.
The ECP informed the apex court that it had not received the required funds from the ministry, following which the three-member bench directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to release funds “directly”.
The court ordered the central bank to allocate and release Rs21 billion from the “Account I am lying under its control and management (and which constitutes the principal component of the Federal Consolidated Fund)” for elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The apex court also sought a compliance report from the finance ministry by April 18 (Tuesday), which “shall also include a confirmation about AGPR”. Additionally, it directed the ECP to submit a report by Tuesday confirming that Rs21 billion has “become available to it in terms as stated above”, in compliance with the court’s order.