ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and others for distribution of discretionary funds among his favourites.

The politicians other than ex-PM are Anwar Ali Cheema, Mola Bakhsh Chandio, Liaqat Ali Shabab and Syed Muhammad Shah.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the government’s review petition against the court’s December 5, 2013 judgment. Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in the suo motu case had passed the judgment regarding doling out of billions of rupees in the form of development funds by former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf during the last 10 days of his tenure. The government, in its review petition, mainly challenged the last line of paragraph 39 of the court judgment, which says, “Rule 197 of the Rules of the Procedure, 2007, indicates that in the case of supplementary grants, the assent of the National Assembly is to be obtained before these funds are made available”. The incumbent government expressed apprehensions that if the top court judgment is implemented then it would cause serious governance problems. The judgment had banned the transfer of funds from an account approved by parliament to another as a technical supplementary grant.

This ruling also curtailed the government’s discretionary powers, which are often used in May and June, before the next budget is announced.

Attorney General for Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt appearing before the bench stated that the government has no objection over the court’s ruling against the use of fund by former PM in violation of the PEPRA rules.

He, however, stated that the government just wants the interpretation of Articles 83, 83 and 164 of the constitution. The bench, however, observed that they would issue notices to all persons, who were interveners in this matter in the past. The hearing of the case is adjourned until the first week of November.

It is to be noted here that former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani while hearing the government’s review petition on May 14 had allowed the federal government to release funds for development projects if “it is a scheme of national or public interest” without taking parliament’s approval, which was required after the court’s December 5, 2013 judgment.

The case is adjourned till first week of November.