No funds to legislators, SC tells govt

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed the stoppage of parliamentarians’ discretionary funds, and issued summons to finance secretary and auditor general of Pakistan for June 2.
A three-member bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani issued the direction during the hearing of the review petition regarding the discretionary funds case. Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Butt told the court that paragraph 39 of the court verdict was contrary to the Article 84 of the constitution and asked it to allow the government to release funds for development and energy projects. Responding to the AGP’s argument, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed questioned why was the government in a hurry to release these funds. The AGP pleased that it is a matter of “national interest” and not something “personal”, and the funds are required for energy projects. However, Justice Azmat questioned, “Are the funds required for energy projects or to be distributed among the parliamentarians?” The apex court accepted the AGP’s plea and allowed the government to release the funds related, which are for public development projects. It also directed the government not to allocate these funds to the elected members of the national and provincial assemblies, and adjourned the hearing of the case till June 2.
The Supreme Court ordered restrictions on the use of prime minister’s discretionary funds until June 2 and said that the government is authorised to continue projects of national interest, but funds cannot be released on behalf of MNAs or MPAs. The court allowed the government to use the funds as per the law, while remarking that the “government is allowed to utilise the funds on the projects of public and national interest, but no funds be released at the behest of members of parliament”.

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