SC takes notice of Rs500m funds release to lawmakers by PM

The Supreme Court (SC) took notice of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement to release development funds to lawmakers ahead of the Senate elections, on Wednesday.

A two judge bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Maqbool Baqar while taking notice summoned Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan in the court.

The bench pointed out paragraph 52 of the SC’s December 5, 2013 judgment, given during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tenure, regarding a premier’s discretion to allot funds.

The notice was taken over media reports about the premier’s announcement to grant funds to lawmakers.

On January 28, the premier gave the nod for providing Rs500 million for each member of the national and provincial assemblies on account of development funds. The decision was made in a meeting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s parliamentary party.

Justice Isa issued notices to the advocate generals and the attorney general, seeking response from them in this regard.

During the hearing, the judge asked whether the release of funds by the premier was in accordance with the Constitution, law, and earlier verdicts of the courts.

The attorney general, he added, may acquire a response from the government and inform the court. “If these funds turn out to be in accordance with the Constitution, we will conclude this case,” Justice Isa observed.

“However, if the decision was not made in line with the Constitution, we will initiate action against the same,” he said, adding, “in such a case, the matter will be referred to the chief justice to constitute a bench to initiate legal proceedings.”

Responding to the judge’s observations, the attorney general assured the court that he will seek a response from the government and convey the same to the court.

He further said that any decision with regard to the funds will be in line with the law, Constitution, and court verdicts.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till February 10.

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)