ISLAMABAD - In order to remove the impression of any delay in the holding of general elections in the country, Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in addition to Rs10.0 billion released in July 2023 to conduct general elections on February 8.
This brings the total released amount to Rs 27.4 billion for holding general elections, said a statement issued here on Tuesday. “Finance Division remains committed to the provision of funds as and when required by the Election Commission of Pakistan”, the statement added.
The timely development, ostensibly with the involvement of caretaker PM, dispelled the impression about further day in February polls due to unavailability of funds.
“Finance Division has released Rs17.4 billion to the Election Commission of Pakistan in addition to Rs10.0 billion released in July 2023 for conduct of general elections in the country,” said the ministry on Tuesday in a brief statement. “This brings the total released amount to Rs. 27.4 billion for holding general elections.
The Finance Division remains committed to provision of funds as and when required by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” it added. The development came a day after the ECP raised concerns over the non-provision of funds. The Commission has also written a reminder to the finance department for disbursement of funds. Over an unsatisfactory response, the commission had also decided to inform the caretaker prime minister about the matter. On it, Finance Secretary Imdad Ullah Bosal assured the electoral watchdog of disbursement of funds for upcoming general elections scheduled to be held on February 08 next year.
Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi Monday ruled out any ‘crisis on meeting the financial needs of the ECP’ in order to hold free, fair and transparent general elections in the country. “The Cabinet had approved Rs 42 billion for the budgetary needs of the ECP. An amount of Rs10 billion was already released,” the minister wrote on X formerly Twitter. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan had approached the government to get released Rs17.4 billion, out of the budgeted amount. “Whatever budgeted amount is needed by the ECP, will be released as per its needs accordingly,” Solangi added.
In July this year, the ministry of finance had decided the government would release funds for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in phases for conducting general elections 2023 in the next few months. The ECP had sought Rs42.528 billion from the ministry of finance in July this year for conducting general elections 2023 in the next few months. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet last week had approved a summary of the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding the demand for funds of Rs 42.528 billion as Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) for conduct of general elections in FY 2023-2024. However, the funds would be released in different phases. The ECC allowed Rs 10 billion as first release and further release on need basis. The National Assembly, in April this year, had rejected a money bill that the government had tabled to seek funds for conducting polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in line with the Supreme Court’s orders. The National Assembly rejected the Charged Sums for General Election (Provincial Assemblies of the Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Bill 2023 with a majority vote after former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed the house that the standing committee had recommended not to approve the bill.