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Ishaq Dar tables bill in parliament seeking approval for elections fund

ISLAMABAD: In accordance with the Supreme Court’s orders, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday introduced a bill in both chambers of parliament asking for the availability of funds to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Last week, the Supreme Court set May 14 as the election day in Punjab and ordered the federal government to transfer Rs 21 billion in election funding to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by today, April 10 in order to hold elections for the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

In a federal cabinet meeting on Sunday, the government opted to refer to parliament as the SC deadline for the transfer of cash came nearer.

According to the “Charged Sum for General Election (Provincial Assemblies of Punjab & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Bill 2023,” the money needed to conduct elections in both provinces shall be “an expenditure charged upon the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF),” which said includes all federal government revenues, all loans it has raised, and all money it has received in repayment of loans.

When the measure was in effect, it declared that it would “supersede other laws” and apply “notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, rules, and regulations.”

It was noted that neither the general elections nor the elections for the assembly in Sindh and Balochistan were required for the repeal of the proposed law to take effect once voting for both assemblies had taken place.

The National Assembly heard the bill first, and subsequently, the Senate heard it. Later, both meetings were adjourned.

National Assembly

Dar slammed PTI government for pursuing “unsuitable policies” that almost brought the nation to the verge of default in his address to the lower house of parliament today.

He noted that the nation’s economy was in ruins when the current administration took office in April of last year. The nation that was classified as having the 24th largest economy in 2017 dropped to 47th place as a result of their [the PTI’s] failure.

He denounced PTI for “constantly trying to spread dissatisfaction and despair among the public” and for trying to incite a constitutional crisis in the nation. He further criticized the previous administration for “also working against its terms and conditions” in addition to failing to implement the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

The staff-level agreement would be signed shortly, Dar informed the lower chamber of parliament, adding that the government had “used all-out efforts to fulfill the IMF programme.”

Dar stated that if the current government had not implemented recent price increases and other policy changes, the nation would already have been into default. The government also lost political capital as a result of these actions, and now we are moving forward with development.

PTI, according to Dar, disbanded the Punjab and KP assemblies as part of a “calculated conspiracy” to bring about a constitutional crisis in the nation. Dar made this claim at one point during the session. He also recalled how PTI legislators left the NA, which amounted to disobeying the will of the people.

He argued that while conducting elections across the nation was mandated by the constitution, it was crucial to hold elections concurrently across the entire nation while interim governments were in place.

The minister emphasized that “this will help save money and hold elections freely, fairly, and transparently.” “The sovereignty of the parliament is a reality under the Pakistani Constitution.”

He added that the ECP was in charge of holding free and fair elections, but argued that given the current status of the economy and security, holding elections now was not in the national interest of Pakistan.

Dar referred to the most recent “many orders” of the SC and claimed that because they were a “minority” decision, parliament had advised the administration not to carry them out.

He added that the federal cabinet recently decided to send the SC’s order for the release of election funds to parliament for deliberation.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the speaker of the NA, then said that the bill had been sent to the appropriate committee. Later, the NA session was suspended until April 13 at 2 p.m. (Thursday).


The finance minister left the NA after finishing his statement and went to the Senate to introduce a similar bill.

In accordance with Article 73 of the Constitution, he added, “I want to submit before the Senate a copy of the money bill to charge the sums against the FCF for charging sum for general elections to the provincial assemblies of the Punjab and KP.”

“The notices for the proposal to make recommendations on the money bill may be filed by the members to the Senate Secretariat by Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 10 am,” stated Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

“The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue shall forward the proposal received for making recommendations on the money bill to such committee, which shall provide its report by Friday, April 14, 2023,” he stated.

He stated that the committee’s report would be taken into consideration by the upper chamber of parliament on Friday, and recommendations would then be made to the NA. The meeting was then suspended till Friday morning at 10 am.

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