ISLAMABAD: A day after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) raised concerns over the non-provision of funds, the Finance Division released Rs17.4 billion to the electoral body for poll arrangements.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Finance Division said it has released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP in addition to Rs10. billion released in July 2023.
“This brings the total released amount to Rs27.4 billion for holding general elections. Finance Division remains committed to the provision of funds as and when required by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” it added.
On Monday, Finance Secretary Imdad Ullah Bosal assured the electoral watchdog that funds for upcoming general elections will be released in a day or two.
Bosal was summoned by the commission after the Finance Ministry was irresponsive regarding the provision of funds, allocated for the polls, in the budget.
Addressing the ECP’s concerns, caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi had said there is no crisis in meeting the financial needs of the election commission.
In a post on social media platform X, he said the cabinet has approved Rs42 billion for the budgetary needs of the ECP and notably, Rs10 billion have already been disbursed.
The minister said whatever budgeted amount is needed by the ECP, it would be released as per its needs accordingly.
Solangi reaffirmed that the government stands firmly behind the ECP in holding free and fair elections.
Pakistan is now approaching elections with polls scheduled to be held on February 8 2024. All political parties have geared up for a face-off in the run-up to the elections, while the ECP has notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies.
The electoral watchdog is also expected to announce the election schedule, later this month. It had earlier stated that the final list of delimitations would be published on December 15 but it was later revised to November 30.
In its notification, the ECP said that according to Article 51(3) of the Constitution, the National Assembly consists of 266 general seats, with 60 seats reserved for women and additionally 10 for non-Muslims.