Pak SC takes notice of Rs 500m funds to lawmakers by Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Supreme Court on Wednesday took notice of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent announcement to give Rs 500 million development funds to lawmakers ahead of the Senate elections.

According to a report by The Express Tribune, the two-judge bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Maqbool Baqar pointed out paragraph 52 of the SC’s December 5, 2013 judgment, given during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tenure, regarding a premier’s discretion to allot funds.

Justice Isa has issued notice to the Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan and advocate generals seeking a response on the matter. “If these funds turn out to be in accordance with the Constitution, we will conclude this case,” Justice Isa said.

“However, if the decision was not made in line with the Constitution, we will initiate action against the same,” he further said.

“In such a case, the matter will be referred to the chief justice to constitute a bench to initiate legal proceedings,” he said while adjourning the case till February 10.

Pak Supreme Court

Meanwhile, the major Pakistan Opposition parties have slammed Imran Khan for giving Rs 500 million development funds as “political bribe” to each legislator ahead of Senate elections.

The leaders of the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) termed the announcement as another U-turn by the Prime Minister, recalling that while in the Opposition, Khan used to denounce the “act of the distribution of development funds” among lawmakers, Dawn reported.

On January 27, PM Imran Khan, during a parliamentary party meeting, had announced a grant of Rs 500 million for each member of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies under “sustainable development goals”.

Elections for the Upper House of the bicameral Parliament is likely to be held in March when the six-year term of 52 out of 104 senators will expire.

Funds from Osama;

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has conceded before the scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that it had received funds from slain Al Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden, said the country’s Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib.

Talking to reporters on Wednesday after hearings of foreign funding cases against the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) by the scrutiny committee, Habib said that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif laid the foundation of foreign funding in Pakistan by receiving funds from Osama bin Laden to topple former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader said that the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party had failed to provide the details of their donors. He also criticised the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and said its chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had received funds from Libya and Iraq.

A few days back, Pakistan former envoy to the US, Abida Hussain revealed that Osama bin Laden had supported and extended financial assistance to Nawaz Sharif.

“Yes, he (Osama bin Laden) supported Mian Nawaz Sharif at one time. However, that is a complicated story. He (Osama) used to extend financial assistance [to Nawaz Sharif],” Express Tribune quoted her as saying. 

Abida, also an ex-cabinet member of Nawaz Sharif’s government, recalled that at one-time bin Laden was popular and liked by everyone including the Americans but at a later stage, he was treated as a ‘stranger’.

Nawaz Sharif, who has been the prime minister of Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms, has been accused, time and again, of taking money from slain terrorist Osama bin Laden in order to promote and fund jihad in Kashmir. He served as prime minister from 1990-93, 1997-98, and 2013-17.

Sharif, the 70-year-old supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) who was ousted from power in 2017 by the Supreme Court on corruption charges, is in London for medical treatment.

Osama was killed in a midnight raid by the US Navy SEALs in Pakistan’s garrison town of Abbottabad in 2011.

Pakistan had officially denied having any knowledge of the terror chief until he was shot dead in a raid by US forces. Pakistan has been accused of using its soil to perpetrate terror in neighbouring countries. (ANI)