Supreme Court questions about mechanism of zakat fund disbursement

A larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Monday resumed hearing of the coronavirus suo motu case on Monday (today).
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed are also the part of the bench.
As the hearing went underway, the CJP Gulzar Ahmed inquired about the mechanism of zakat funds provided to provinces by the Centre as no report had been submitted in court by the Baitul Maal department.
“The federal government gives the Zakat fund to the provinces. The provincial authorities are responsible for distributing the funds. Director-General of the Baitul Mal was also receiving his salary from the Zakat fund,” said CJP Gulzar.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the federal government has given over Rs9 billion to the provinces and it should be checked that for which purpose the amount is used.
The CJP then asked provinces and Centre to submit reports on the disbursement of zakat funds in the next hearing.
The top court also examined a report submitted by the federal government on measures taken to tackle the crisis amid coronavirus pandemic.
The chief justice also inquired about quarantine facilities provided by the government and lamented lack of transparency by authorities in controlling coronavirus.
“All governments (federal and provincial) are spending money for relief [but] there is no transparency to be seen,” the chief justice observed.
Justice Qazi Amin, who is also part of the bench questioned why schools and colleagues were not used for the quarantine facilities?
“Why govt is spending money on construction of new quarantine centres”? he questioned.
To which, the Attorney-General of Pakistan, Khalid Javed, told the court that they will mull over the recommendation of making schools as quarantine facilities.
The CJP also told authorities to ensure availability of food, other essentials at all quarantine centres across the country and ordered, “Those who cannot pay should be kept in quarantine centres free of charge.”
Hearing of the case was adjourned for two weeks.
On April 17, the Supreme Court (SC) had formed a larger bench to hear suo motu case related to the situation arising from the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court (SC) had expressed dissatisfaction regarding the progress of the Centre and the provinces to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The Supreme Court also ordered to set up proper quarantine centers at Taftan, Chaman and Torkham borders for coronavirus patients.

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