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Sunday May 19, 2024

PTI seeks contempt proceedings against PM over election fund delay

Fawad Chaudhry blames govt for "non-serious" attitude with regards to negotiation

By Web Desk
April 17, 2023
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry speaks to media persons outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad on March 28, 2023. — INP
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry speaks to media persons outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad on March 28, 2023. — INP

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has demanded Supreme Court begin contempt proceedings against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet for refusing to provide funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa polls.

In a tweet on Monday, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said despite the apex court's orders, the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) decision to not release funds is in violation of the laws.

"...the Supreme Court should initiate contempt of court proceedings against the prime minister and the Cabinet and fulfil their desire of getting disqualified through court orders," the former information minister said.

The top court directly ordered the central bank to provide Rs21 billion to the election commission for holding the polls in the two provinces till April 17 — but despite the passage of the deadline, the funds have not yet been released.

In a session of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue earlier today, SBP Acting Governor Sima Kamil said the bank had allocated funds — on the SC's orders — for the polls but lacked the authority to release them.

The standing committee — after much deliberations — sent a summary to the federal cabinet for not providing funds to the ECP for polls. The cabinet then sent the report to the National Assembly, which passed it, further deepening the ongoing crisis.

The top court has ordered holding the elections on May 14, but the government has rejected the decision, and as the impasse persists, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that come what may, the polls won't be held on the date.

The PTI had dissolved both assemblies in January in a bid to force the government into holding elections across the board, but the Shehbaz Sharif-led administration did not give in to the demand.

"No parliament has the authority to prevent people from voting. Such a parliament can lay the foundation of a fascist government, but it cannot have anything to do with a democratic system," he said.

The PTI's senior leader said in line with the Constitution, the parliament does not have any prerogative over the election expenses.

In the tweets, the ex-information minister also mentioned that his party was focused on negotiations with the government, but the rulers were exhibiting a "non-serious" attitude in this regard.

Chaudhry added that the negotiations would be held in line with the Constitution and the Supreme Court's orders, while noting that delaying the elections would be tantamount to subverting the Constitution.

PTI has formed a three-member committee and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has tasked two of its senior members to hold consultations with the opposition party amid the tense political situation after the Jamaat-e-Islami's bid to bring both sides to the table.