In a recent development, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that the Pakistani government cannot violate the Constitution by issuing funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on the orders of the Supreme Court. He criticized Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for dissolving the Punjab and KP assemblies, claiming that the move was aimed at spreading anarchy in the country.
The minister alleged that the trouble started after the Supreme Court redefined Article 63-A of the Constitution, which resulted in the handover of the Punjab government to PTI. He criticized the apex court for interfering in politicians’ domain and stated that if Article 63-A of the Constitution had not been redefined, the assemblies would not have been dissolved.
The government, in line with the law, brought the ECP’s request for the release of funds before the cabinet and the parliament, both of whom rejected the proposal. The minister noted that even the State Bank of Pakistan cannot release the funds, and questioned what would happen if the elections are held after three to four months. He further stated that the government was being asked to do an ‘illegal’ thing and he would never advise the cabinet to do so.
Ishaq Dar lambasted the PTI-led previous government for pushing the country to the brink of collapse and stated that the country was standing at a critical juncture. He added that the country witnessed Panama and Dawn leaks drama during the past five years, and the country would not have been in crisis if he had been listened to.
In April, the Supreme Court declared ECP’s decision to postpone elections to the Punjab Assembly till October 8 “unconstitutional” and fixed May 14 as the new date. However, the National Assembly later passed a resolution rejecting the three-member Supreme Court bench’s verdict on the Punjab polls, stating that it would not provide funds to the ECP for polls.
The question that arises is whether the government should comply with the Supreme Court’s order and provide funds for holding general elections in Punjab and KP or not. The government has cited the Constitution and the rejection of the proposal by both the cabinet and the parliament as reasons for their refusal to release the funds. However, the Supreme Court has warned of ‘dire consequences’ over the non-provision of election funds.