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September 19, 2019

SHC directs chief, finance secys to pay outstanding arrears to opposition MPAs

Karachi

September 19, 2019

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the Sindh chief secretary and the finance secretary to ensure the payment of outstanding arrears of allowances to 12 former and incumbent opposition MPAs through instalments within three months without any fail or excuse.

The direction came on a petition of former opposition MPA Syed Sardar Ahmed, incumbent PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman and others against non-payment of allowances to members of the provincial assembly.

The petitioners submitted that the government had passed a law for the payment of allowances to the provincial assembly members in 2017 but the same allowances had not been paid to them.

The SHC observed that the deputy secretary legal of the finance department had informed on a previous hearing that the summary had been approved by the Sindh chief minister for the release of Rs664.484 million to the provincial assembly outside the budget for the clearance of liabilities payable to the former MPAs and the matter had been forwarded for the approval of a standing committee of the cabinet as this requirement had been deemed necessary because the amount had not been allocated in the budget.

The high court observed that the deputy secretary finance had once again sought time to implement the directions of the court due to financial constraints.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar observed that the law was made effective from July 1, 2016 though it was notified on July 4, 2019, and still the arrears had not been paid so far and nor any amendment was made in the parent Act.

The SHC observed that once the law was promulgated, it was the responsibility of the government to implement it. The deputy secretary finance sought further time so that the payment might be given to the petitioners in three to four instalments from October 2019 onwards.

The SHC disposed of the petitions with the direction to the finance secretary, the Sindh Assembly and the chief secretary to ensure that 50 per cent arrears of the petitioners shall be paid on October 15, 25 per cent on November 10 and remaining 25 per cent on December 12 without any fail or excuse.