Action to be taken if lawmakers’ development funds given out of order: SC

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan said it will take action if anything is out of order in the matter of the prime minister approving development funds for MPs.

“Can the prime minister approve development grants according to the law, Constitution and judicial decisions?” asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday.  The two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Maqbool Baqir took notice of the matter during the hearing of a case and summoned the attorney general.  The apex court tasked the attorney general to seek directives from the government regarding the matter and provide an answer to the Supreme Court.  If the matter pertaining to the development funds was handled according to law, then we will close the chapter,” said Justice Qazi Faez Isa. “Action, however, will be taken if it is in violation of the Constitution.” The attorney general responded by saying that he will seek directions from the government on the matter and revert to the apex court.  “Whatever decision is taken, it will be according to the law, Constitution and judicial decisions,” he said.  Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved a Rs500m development grant for each lawmaker from the treasury benches and had urged them to focus more on uplift projects and the success of Ehsaas programme. The development came during a meeting of the parliamentary members of the PTI and coalition parties in Islamabad during which Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had also given a briefing on loans and the economic situation, while Minister for Planning Asad Umar gave a briefing on the Karachi Development Plan. Federal Minister Shireen Mazari and MNA Ghazala Saifi had also raised their voices in the meeting, seeking a development grant for women lawmakers. “We are working alongside male MPs and should also be allocated funds to address the issues of our constituencies,” the minister had said. In response, the prime minister had reprimanded them and said he should not be blackmailed. “Those who are elected on the reserved seats do not have any constituency,” he had said.

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