PESHAWAR, May 2: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday gave three days to the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue to release Rs100 million allocated by the federal government for Provincial Disaster Management Authority to provide displaced persons at Jalozai camp with all possible facilities.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Ikramullah Khan took exception to the withholding of the said money and said AGPR should issue a cheque in this respect to PDMA within three days otherwise contempt of the court proceedings would be initiated against them.
PDMA chief coordinator Faiz Mohammad said due to delay in the release of Rs100 million by AGPR, the authority didn’t pay electricity bill to Peshawar Electric Supply Company and thus, leading to suspension of electric supply to Jalozai camp.
He said PDMA had to pay Rs4 million every month on account of supply of electricity to Jalozai camp.
Mr Faiz, however, said electric supply to the Jalozai camp’s hospital was later restored on humanitarian grounds.
He said recently, the federal government ordered to release Rs100 million to PDMA but AGPR was delaying the payment that could create a law and order situation in the area.
The chief justice observed that it was an inhuman act on part of AGPR for stressing out the people, including women and children, sheltering at the camp.
The bench directed Mr Faiz to return if AGPR didn’t release Rs100 million in the next three days.
It observed that it would order attachment of the AGPR officials’ salary in case of defiance of the order.
Meanwhile, the bench was informed that the Election Commission of Pakistan was planning to make polling arrangement for IDPs from Bara at an under construction building of an engineering university close to Jalozai camp.
The bench ordered the returning officer of NA-46, Khyber Agency constituency to visit the camp and the proposed polling site along with officials of Provincial Disaster Management Authority and Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that the polling station should be at a secure place and at a short distance from the camp.
Mr Faiz and additional director general (legal) of ECP Abdur Rehman Khan said the under construction building of the Peshawar University of Engineering and Technology was situated near Jalozai camp and was an ideal site for setting up the polling station.
They added that in accordance with an earlier order of the high court, ECP had been making arrangements for IDPs to cast vote in the elections.
Mr Faiz said due to security concerns, polling station could not be set up inside the camp as a few weeks ago, a blast had taken place there, where 10 people were killed and several injured.
He said the proposed building was at a distance of five minutes from the camp.
The bench observed that both men and women polling booths should be set up at the polling station and that appropriate security measures should be taken to ensure that polling took place in a peaceful manner.
It directed ECP to consider on emergency basis the provision of voting facility to IDPs from South Waziristan currently staying in North Waziristan.
Asghar Kundi, lawyer for some IDPs, said in accordance with the order of the high court, ECP had been providing voting facilities to displaced persons from South Waziristan to Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, but there were a large number of such people, who had taken shelter in North Waziristan.
He added that such people might be provided with the same facility.
The chief justice had taken suo moto notice of the issues related to IDPs in April last year and had issued several directives to PDMA and subsequently to FDMA to provide all required facilities to IDPs at Jalozai camp until their return to areas of their origin when the operation was stopped and peace restored there.
A few weeks ago, the bench had issued directives to ECP to make polling arrangements for IDPs in their respective camps for the May 11 elections.