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Tuesday, June 25, 2024  
18 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Parliament digs in to fight for its supremacy vis-a-vis Supreme Court

Finance minister tells committee that the govt is under severe financial stress
File photo.
File photo.

The National Assembly passed a resolution on Thursday rejecting the eight-member bench that took up the Supreme Court Procedures and Practices Bill 2023 and asked for the bench to be dissolved.

A bill regarding the release of Rs21 billion as funding for elections was also rejected by the assembly.

The resolution expressed reservations over the Supreme Court cutting into the parliament’s domain of being the highest legislative body in the country.

The resolution also said that divisions in the court had become clear to everyone in recent days. It also said that the eight-member bench was not acceptable because two of the seniormost judges had been kept out of it.

Election funding rejected

The house also rejected the Election Charged Expenditures bill that asked for funds to be released for the election to the Punjab assembly.

Standing committees on finance in both the National Assembly and Senate rejected a bill on Thursday asking for funding to be provided for elections in Punjab.

The bill was rejected unanimously by both committees and members said that they ‘stood with the government’ on the issue.

State Minister for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha told the NA committee that Rs5 billion had been set aside for the Election Commission in the upcoming budget but the Supreme Court had ordered that Rs21 billion be issued instead.

Pasha added that the government was under immense financial stress which is why the expenditure had been added to a money bill which is now before the committee. She added that the previous government had been running the government for four years on borrowed money.

PMLN’s Birjees Tahir said that an eight-member bench had already taken up a position in the court and it seemed they were only concerned with the elections in Punjab. He added that in the present circumstances, elections should not take place and funds should not be issued for the purpose.

He added that elections in Punjab would impact the entire country and he supported the government’s point of view that elections should be held at once in the entire country.

SC’s orders and ECP’s response

The Supreme Court ruled on April 4 that the government should provide Rs21 billion for elections to the Punjab assembly by April 10.

However, the government instead brought the matter of expenses to the parliament which was then sent to the finance committee.

As the court’s deadline came, the ECP told the chief justice in a sealed report that the government had refused to provide either security or funds for the elections.

The court has summoned the SBP governor and finance secretary regarding the delay in election funding.

In-camera session for security

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has called an in-camera session of the parliament on Friday to which the army leadership has also been invited. The session will discuss the security situation of the country.

The session will be attended by all members of the assembly including ministers and other senior government officials. The leadership of the country’s premier intelligence agencies will also be in attendance and will provide a briefing on the security situation of the country.

The session comes days after a meeting of the National Security Committee which reaffirmed the government’s resolve to fight the latest layer of terror in the country.

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National Assembly

Punjab Elections