SC satisfied with PM’s reply on release of funds to MPs
A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed, on Thursday disposed of the petition filed against the release of development funds to members of the parliament (MPs) by Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying it was satisfied by the reply given by the prime minister in the case, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan told the court that the release of funds to legislators did not breach the constitution, adding that the Ministry of Finance looked into the matters related to the amounts released and their spending.
During the hearing, Justice Qazi Faez Isa said he had received a message on WhatsApp which showed some documents pertaining to the doling out of funds to an MP from NA-65.
He asked the attorney general as to why the prime minister did not refute media reports of the release of funds when it was the government’s claim that these reports were unfounded. “Why is he hiding behind his secretary? Why does not he openly reject these reports or simply apologize if he has given funds to the lawmakers? Why has he left it to his information ministry to give statements every now and then on his behalf?” Justice Isa asked.
When the prime minister’s secretary’s letter was presented in the apex court, Justice Isa asked who had drafted this letter since it carried mistakes of English grammar. The AGP replied he could not disclose person’s name since it was confidential.
He said that the prime minister’s reply had failed to satisfy the court.
The attorney general told the judge that if prime minister takes it upon himself to reject media reports, then he would not be able to perform other duties.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on the occasion, asked, was the prime minister answerable for the release of funds in his personal capacity. “The prime minister enjoys constitutional protection,” he remarked.
The judge opined that a prime minister was only answerable when the issue on hand was related to his own self.
Addressing the attorney general, Justice Bandial said, “Please do not allow an order to be given for any unlawful act.”
When the AGP objected to seeking answer from the prime minister, Justice Umar Ata Bandial reminded him that the court had sought answer from secretary to the prime minister, and not prime minister himself.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa on the occasion wondered as to why objection to seeking reply from the prime minister was not made in the past.
Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan made it clear to the court that funds were not given to a legislator to grease his palm, but these were meant for development purposes.
During the hearing, when CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked counsel for the Sindh government as to why reply in the funds release case had not been submitted as yet, he answered that the provincial government did not give a penny to any legislator.
The chief justice ordered counsel for the Sindh government to submit the reply in writing.