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Lawmakers oppose to release funds to ECP for elections in Punjab, KP
April 26, 2023

Lawmakers have opposed release of funds to hold general elections for the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Taking the floor, Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said that it is the sole prerogative of the National Assembly to take a final decision in releasing the amount from the Federal Consolidated Funds as per spirit of the Constitution. He said the House has already rejected this matter twice.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the Lower House has categorically stopped the release of any amount in this regard. He said the State Bank of Pakistan cannot disburse any amount without the approval of the National Assembly. 

Speaking on the floor of the House, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said elections should be held on the expiry of the constitutional time limit of all the assemblies simultaneously on a single day. He said all the political parties, except one party, are unanimous on this demand. He said political dialogue should be undertaken from the forum of the parliament and not from the courtrooms. He said a dialogue amongst the political parties will not only save the democracy and the federation, but also protect the honour and dignity of institutions. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari further said PPP strongly believes in the Constitution and it cannot ignore the parliament. He added that the Parliament is the custodian of the national purse and makers of laws. He said it is parliament's right to decide as to where and how national wealth will be spent. He said we are bound to comply with the directions of the Parliament instead of any other institution.

JUI-F leader Shahid Akhtar Ali said it is time to stand for the supremacy of the Parliament. She said we should take a final decision and then stand firmly behind it. She questioned as to why a suo-moto notice was not taken when two provincial assemblies were dissolved to satisfy the ego of an individual. She said we do not support release of funds on the dictates of anyone else.

Without naming Imran Khan, PPP leader Agha Rafiullah said that an individual has not only ruined the economy of Pakistan, but also destroyed the ethics of our youth and the society.

Awami National Party leader Amir Haider Khan Hoti said we will not interfere in the domain of any other institution, but we will also not allow others to interfere in Parliament’s domain. He said releasing funds is the sole prerogative of the National Assembly. He urged the government to abide by the Constitution and not an individual.

PML-N leader Barjees Tahir said the National Assembly’s standing committee on finance had strongly opposed the release of 21 billion rupees. He said we are political people and are not afraid of elections, but we will not undermine the House's powers. He said only the National Assembly, not anyone else is entitled to approve or reject release of funds and we will protect this right of the House.

Balochistan National Party leader Agha Hassan Baloch said Parliament is the supreme institution in Pakistan. He said every institution should remain within the ambit of their constitutional limits and refrain from trespassing others’ domain. He said suo-moto notice was rejected with the majority vote of 4-3. He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif fully enjoys support of the majority of the National Assembly. He said it is the government which enjoys support of almost all the political parties of the country.

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has announced to write a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan about feelings of the National Assembly regarding the prerogative of the House. After taking sense of the House, he said the letter will also be sent to other judges of the apex court.

Those, who also spoke on the occasion, include Sabir Khan Kaimkhani and Mohsin Dawaar.

Later, the House was adjourned to meet again tomorrow at 3 p.m.