The Supreme Court directs SBP to release funds for polls in Punjab

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Friday expressed "annoyance" over the failure to implement its order within the Punjab election deadline and ordered the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to "release money directly" to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

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The formation of judgment today proceeded to a hearing in the Chamber of the case and issued instructions to the authorities concerned.

In accordance with the summons, SBP Deputy Governor Sima Kamil, Special Secretary of Finance, Additional Secretary of Finance, ECP Secretary, and AGP Mansoor Usman Awan appeared before the court.

According to sources during the hearing, the judges expressed their discontent with the non-application of court orders and told the government that the orders would have to be enforced.

Officials, aware of the hearing stated that Pakistan’s Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan was asked difficult questions about the government’s position during the hearing.

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“The federal government implemented the Supreme Court’s April 4 order,” AGP told judges. He added that the government also tabled a bill in the National Assembly for the release of federal consolidated funds.

“The government cannot ask the SBP to issue the funds following the rejection of the Parliament’s bill,” AGP Awan said according to the sources.

The SC bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, had instructed the electoral body to hold elections in Punjab on 14 May and the federal government to provide funding totalling 21 billion Rs21 to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by 10 April.

However, on Tuesday the ECP presented a report to the Supreme Court stating that the federal government had not provided funds for the polls.

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