Monday June 17, 2024

Finance secretary assures ECP of releasing election funds

Finance secretary says disbursement of funds requires approval at various levels

By Nausheen Yusuf
December 04, 2023
A security personnel stands guard at the headquarters of Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan on September 21, 2023. — AFP
A security personnel stands guard at the headquarters of Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan on September 21, 2023. — AFP

Finance Secretary Imdad Ullah Bosal Monday assured the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that funds for upcoming general elections will be released in a day or two, Geo News reported.

Bosal's assurance came after he was sent a notice by the electoral body, summoning him over the non-provision of funds for elections.

The development came as Pakistan is preparing for general polls scheduled to take place on February 8, 2024.

The secretary said that the Finance Ministry will release the required funds by the Election Commission. The ministry said that the letter written by the electoral body on November 14 was received on November 18.

"Disbursement of funds requires approval at various levels," the secretary added.

The secretary was speaking to the media after holding a meeting with the ECP.

The secretary had arrived at the ECP after sources had told Geo News that the ECP has taken notice of the non-provision of funds by the government.

The sources said Rs42 billion was allocated for the general elections in the current financial year's budget. The Finance Ministry has, however, provided Rs10 billion so far, the sources added.

Disbursement of the remaining amount, according to the sources, is being delayed without any reasonable justification. 

"Rs17 billion are urgently needed for holding the general elections on February 8."

The sources told Geo News that the Finance Ministry was repeatedly approached for the provision of this amount, while a written reminder was also sent to the ministry for immediate provision of money.

However, no positive response has yet been given regarding the disbursement of money, they added.

The Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has decided to inform the Caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar about the non-provision of funds by the finance ministry.

A detailed letter is also being written to the premier today, the sources said.

General elections 2024

Pakistan is now approaching elections with polls scheduled to be held on February 8 2024. All political parties have geared up for a face off in the run-up to the elections, while the ECP has notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies.

The electoral watchdog is also expected to announce the election schedule, sometime this week. It had earlier stated that the final list of delimitations would be published on December 15 but it was later revised to November 30.

In its notification, the ECP said that according to Article 51(3) of the Constitution, the National Assembly consists of 266 general seats, with 60 seats reserved for women and additionally 10 for non-Muslims.