On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa challenged Prime Minister Imran Khan’s position on awarding lawmakers development funds, stating that a letter sent to the top court by his principal secretary did not provide answers to questions from the court.
During the hearing of a case relating to the acceptance by the Prime Minister of the Rs500 million uplift grant to lawmakers heard by a five-member Supreme Court bench led by Pakistan’s Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and compromising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Isa, he made these remarks.
The letter does not provide the answers to questions from the court. It seems like the prime minister has not adequately read the order of the court,’ Justice Isa noted.
On Feb 3, Judge Isa requested the court office to bring the file before the chief justice to appoint a bench to hear the matter when taking note of the proposal to disperse construction funds.
In that order, Justice Isa quoted Article 5(2) of the Constitution requiring the loyalty of any citizen to the Constitution and the rules as an inviolable responsibility, and then claimed that Article204(2) allowed the Supreme Court to take action against every individual who disobeyed any order of the Court. In addition, as he had said, the oath of office of judges also required them to maintain, protect and defend the constitution.
While chairing the PTI parliamentary party meeting on January 27, the prime minister acknowledged the long-standing demand of his party’s lawmakers for deve-lopment funds for their constituencies and declared a grant of Rs500m under sustainable development goals for each member of the National Asse-mbly and the provincial assemblies so that they could introduce development schemes for their own constituencies
Justice Isa had asked Pakistan’s Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan to brief the court on the issue based on the reaction of the 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, he guided the court office to send notices to the federal government.
The court also asked the AG and the lawyers-general of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and Islamabad Capital Territories to issue notes and instructed them to give answers to the inquiry.
All provinces sent written answers to the court during today’s hearing, except for Sindh. When the chief justice asked why it had not done so, the lawyer of the Sindh government told the court it was because no lawmakers had been granted development funds by the provincial government.
A written response should have been submitted by the Sindh government,”Sindh government should have submitted a written answer,”
In the meantime, the AGP told the court that it was “linked to the Constitution” to award development funds to legislators, adding that the prime minister understood that “government funds cannot be used wrongly”
No member of the National Assembly is going to earn capital,’ he said.
“a matter between the lawyer and his client”a matter between the lawyer and his client.
The letter has no correct English, it does not address the questions of the court. It seems like the prime minister was seeking to hold the door open for [granting] funds,’ said Justice Isa.
He also remarked that every day there was a “storm of information” from the Information Ministry.
The prime minister should either hold firm in what he meant or accept that he had made a mistake. Why does the prime minister have to hide behind his secretary? “The news was published by the entire media and the prime minister is silent,” the SC judge said.
AGP Khan answered that he would not be able to do any other work if the prime minister “started refuting every news himself, he would not be able to do any other work”
Today, the court ordered the Sindh government to send its reply. It also ordered the finance secretary to provide the court with a specific reply, ordering that the response should also have the signature of the premier on it.
The hearings is adjourned until Thursday (tomorrow).