SC bench to take up lawmakers’ uplift grant case

Published February 10, 2021
The Supreme Court has constituted a five-judge headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to take up a case relating to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval of Rs500 million uplift grant to lawmakers. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website/File
The Supreme Court has constituted a five-judge headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to take up a case relating to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval of Rs500 million uplift grant to lawmakers. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has constituted a five-judge headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to take up a case relating to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval of Rs500 million uplift grant to lawmakers.

The bench will also consist of Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.

On Feb 3 Justice Isa, while taking notice of the plan to distribute development funds, had asked the court office to place the file before the chief justice to constitute a bench to hear the matter.

In the order, Justice Isa had cited Article 5(2) of the Constitution that mandated obedience to the constitution and the law as inviolable obligation of every citizen and then stated that Article204(2) empowered the Supreme Court to take action against any person who disobeyed any order of the court. Moreover, the oath of office of judges also required them to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, he had said.

While presiding over the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf parliamentary party meeting on Jan 27, the prime minister had accepted the long-standing dem­and of his party’s lawmakers for deve­l­o­pment funds for their constituencies and announced a grant ofRs500m for each member of the National Asse­mbly and the provincial assemblies under sustainable development goals so that they could carry out development schemes for their voters.

Move comes at initiative of Justice Isa

Consequently, Justice Isa had sent for Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan to seek his opinion and advice whether the proposed distribution of the public funds accorded with the constitution and the 2,014 Supreme Court judgement in the distribution of development funds by former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf case. Justice Isa also asked the AGP whether the federal and the provincial governments had handed over or intended to hand over funds to the legislators or carry out devel­opment works identified by them.

In response, the AGP said that he needed time to ascertain the facts and seek instructions but explained that he would not countenance anything against any provision of the constitution and the cited precedent (Raja Pervez Ashraf case).

In view of the AGP statement, Justice Isa observed that the court wanted to ascertain answers to the questions and therefore directed the court office to issue notices to the federal government through the cabinet secretary, principal secretary to the PM and finance secretary and to the provincial governments through their chief secretaries and finance secretaries.

The court also ordered to issue not­ices to the AGP and the advocate generals of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakh­tun­khwa and Balochistan as well as Islamabad Capital Territory and directed them to furnish responses and replies to the query made.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2021

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