Main political parties seek LG system
RAWALPINDI, Dec 1: Members of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday stressed the need for holding local bodies elections.
They said had the federal authorities compiled an authentic voters list the elections would have been held much earlier.
Speaking at a seminar on the importance of local government system organized by Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI) and Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), political leaders were unanimous in demanding LG system in the country.
Mhammad Basharat Raja, PML-Q leader and adviser to Prime Minister, Raja Tariq Kiani, PTI leader and former Rawalpindi District Nazim and Shakil Awan and Raja Hanif, PML-N lawmakers and other civil society activists and researchers on the occasion called for a comprehensive law of local government aimed at empowering people at grass roots level.
However, PML-N MNA Shakil Awan came hard on Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for failing to finalise voters list adding that the biggest impediment in holding LG system was the commission’s failure to complete the initial formalities for holding election.
“In Karachi alone, over three million voters had not been enrolled while almost every fifth voter has not been registered in the area where he resides,” Mr Awan remarked.
The lawmaker said his party (PML-N) believed in proactive participation of people in decisions pertaining to delivery of basic services to citizens under a comprehensive local government system adding that the passage of Punjab Local Government Bill (PLGB) 2012 was a serious attempt in this regard.
Muhammad Basharat Raja, adviser to prime minister on the occasion proposed that there should be some provision for people-led accountability forums in the draft law in order to make LG system more effective and transparent by involving general public in decision making process.
Raja Tariq Kiani, the PTI leader, said that his party believed in true government of the people and by the people adding that chairman Imran Khan had even supported that SHO should also be an elected person.
“We believe in total government of people and complete devolution of power and resources. There were many flaws in the earlier LG system and legal lacunas but this time political parties should devise a more comprehensive and easy local bodies system,” the PTI leader said.
PML-N leaders said that because of delay in preparation of new voters list, restructuring of provincial autonomy under 18th amendment and other certain problems, local government elections could not be held in Punjab but PML-N sincerely desired local bodies institutions in the province.
RDPI, CPDI and representatives of other NGOs and experts of local government system also submitted various proposals to improve the law besides criticising the draft law which, in their opinion, lacked the spirit of democratic accountability through citizens and less empowerment.
They said overwhelming powers had been vested in provincial governments in the new law instead of strengthening the local government. However, speakers appreciated the steps of the Punjab government for framing a new local government bill and inviting the proposals from the cross section of the society in this regard.