IHC rejects govt appeal to stay ECP suspension of farmers’ package


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High court (IHC) on Thursday rejected a government appeal for a stay order on decision by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to suspend a Rs341 billion government relief package for farmers.


Last month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced the Rs341billion National Kissan Relief Package with special cash relief for cotton and rice cultivators, weeks after the schedule was issued for local government elections in Sindh, Punjab, and Islamabad.

But on September 30, the ECP announced that the prime minister’s relief package was a violation of the electoral code. The ECP decided to stop implementation of the package until December 3.

The federal government later moved the high court against the ECP decision to suspend the farmer’s package, saying it was not announced to influence voters in the local bodies’ elections. It further said that the package was suspended by the ECP without hearing the stance of the Finance Ministry and the Planning Division.

The federal government claimed that the ECP cannot stop it from fulfilling its constitutional and legal responsibilities and that this package is not related to the local bodies’ elections in Sindh, Punjab and Islamabad.

The government petition had asked the high court to declare the ECP’s suspension null and void and for a stay order be issued.

Attorney-General Salman Aslam Butt appeared in court today on behalf of the government, but according to latest reports, the court rejected the appeal for a stay order to be issued on the ECP ruling.