The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved referring of finance ministry’s summary to parliament for issuance of Rupees 21 billion funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding General elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Today’s meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif agreed that a parliamentary committee would discuss the terms of talks between the Pdm and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regarding holding elections across the country on the same day.
Premier said the door for negotiations should not be closed. “We can decide what the format of the talks will be. The parliamentary committee can create room for this.”
During the meeting of Federal Cabinet the coalition partners have unanimously decided and agreed that the elections to be held in October-November across the country on the same day.
“There is a consensus that the Assembly would complete its term on 13th August and General Elections must be held in October-November,” said PM Shehbaz Sharif while briefing media on today’s ruling alliance huddle.
The premier said that the parliament would decide about the disbursement of funds to the election commission for conducting polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
“[The] SC is still trying to take things forward with the same three-member bench,” PM Shehbaz said.
“The parliament did not accept that bench’s decision. The unanimous decision was that we accept the four-three verdict,” PM Shehbaz said, referring to the controversies regarding the bench’s members.
“The parliament has dealt with Supreme Court verdicts in the past. It would prefer that the matter [of holding talks with the opposition on elections] also be brought to the house.
“The parliament would want its decisions to be respected.”
The premier’s address comes hours after he held an important meeting with coalition partners to discuss the possibility of talks with the opposition PTI on SC’s directives.
The attorney general for Pakistan and federal ministers also attended the meeting. The meeting was briefed by the legal team on the election fund case and the negotiations with opposition, say sources.
Remember that government assured the Supreme Court of holding talks with the opposition over elections in two provinces on 26th April.
During SC’s last hearing on elections delay case, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had assured the Supreme Court that they will sit with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and try to find a solution on the election date.
A three-member bench of the top court — headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — has sought a progress report on the talks by 27th April.
Supreme Court (SC) on in its ver4th April verdict declares the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) 22nd March order to postpone Elections in Punjab null and void ordering to hold poll by 14th of May.
A three-member bench heading by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — announced the reserved verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order postponing the elections in Punjab and KP.
The Supreme Court declared the ECP’s order postponing the provincial assembly elections until 8th October as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to release Rs21 billion funds for elections in Punjab by April 10.
The top court also directed to conduct Punjab polls on May 14. The SC further directed the caretaker government in Punjab to assist the commission.
Supreme Court also directed Pak Army to provide security for the upcoming elections and also orders to ECP to hold elections.
However, the National Assembly later passed a resolution rejecting the three-member Supreme Court bench’s verdict on the Punjab polls, stating that it would not provide funds to the ECP for polls.
The electoral watch dog informed the Top court that it had not received the required funds from the ministry after which the three-member bench directed the State bank to release funds “directly”.
Earlier in Federal Meeting The deputy governor SBP Seema Kamil said they have allocated Rs.21 billion for the Punjab elections as per the Supreme Court’s ruling, but the central bank does not has the authority to release the funds directly.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha emphasised that the SBP cannot spend money without the permission of the parliament.
“If the National Assembly allows funds can be released [to the ECP],” she said, clarifying that even the Finance Division cannot spend without seeking permission from the cabinet and the lower house.