ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf wrote to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday, conveying ‘concerns of elected representatives about Supreme Court’s (SC) recent orders’ on elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)
as well as the release of funds.
The NA speaker expressed ‘serious worries and disquiet of elected representatives regarding several recent Supreme Court rulings and statements made by some Judges, as published in media’ in a letter to CJP Umar Ata Bandial.
“The National Assembly strongly believes that these recent decisions constitute an infringement on two core constitutional functions of the National Assembly, namely the power of the purse and the making of laws,” the letter added.
He called the chief justice’s attention to Article 73 of the Constitution, which grants the National Assembly sole authority over the Money Bill. “Articles 79 to 85 confer power and authority to approve expenditure from the Federal Consolidated Fund on elected members of the National Assembly,” it continued.
“With these unambiguous constitutional provisions and division of powers and functions in mind, I write to express the National Assembly’s deep concern with the orders passed by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court directing the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Finance Division to release Rs21 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),” it said.
NA The letter from the Speaker noted that these directives were issued despite the fact that such release was specifically prohibited by the National Assembly.
“The SC must avoid getting involved in political thickets as much as possible,” Raja Ashraf stated. It is best to leave political issues to the legislature and political parties.”
“I, on behalf of the National Assembly of Pakistan, urge the honorable Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges to exercise restraint and respect the legislative domain of parliament.”
“We must work together to uphold the Constitution, protect democratic values, and work within our respective constitutional domains to ensure that confrontation between the organs of state is avoided and constitutional order is maintained,” he concluded.
After taking “sense of the House” and on the request of numerous legislators, NA Speaker wrote to CJP Bandial. The decision followed the federal cabinet’s decision to recommend the finance ministry’s summary for the transfer of funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for polls in Punjab and KP to parliament once more.
Earlier in the day, the federal cabinet agreed to send the Rs21 billion release order issued by the Supreme Court in an April 4 judgment back to parliament for a second time.
It is worth noting that the Supreme Court (SC) ruled on March 22 that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order on Punjab elections was null and void.
The reserved judgment on PTI’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order postponing the elections in Punjab and KP was announced by a three-member panel consisting of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar.
The Supreme Court ruled that the ECP’s ruling postponing provincial assembly elections until October 8 was “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to pay Rs21 billion in money for Punjab polls by April 10.
The Supreme Court has ordered that the Punjab elections be held on May 14. The Supreme Court also urged the Punjab caretaker administration to help the commission. “The court will issue an appropriate order in the case of non-provision of funds,” the ruling stated.