LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will complete a major overhaul of the local government system in Punjab and give due administrative and financial autonomy to public representatives.
This was stated by Punjab Senior Minister for Local Government and Community Development Abdul Aleem Khan as he spoke to the media on Wednesday. Aleem Khan said the PTI government would introduce effective and efficient grass-root administration in the province, unlike the “toothless” system currently in place.
Aleemstressed the new local government system would be built on a party basis as mayors or head of tehsils and districts would be elected directly.
The senior minister said legal experts are evaluating different options of whether the existing local government system could be altered or if it a new set up has to be established. “Currently, we are considering the Local Government Act 2001 and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) model. A presentation will be given to the prime minister and a future strategy will be evolved after getting recommendations from the team of experts.”
Responding to a question, Aleem said that there should be no political interference in the working of the departments. He added it was clear that the writ of the government had to be established and elected representatives should possess complete authority to ascertain public interest.
He underlined that the best possible strategy was being evolved to solve the problems of the masses, while efforts were underway to ensure transparency in different sectors.
He said third-party and international firms would be conducting audits in the new local bodies system and not a single penny would be misused.
He announced that he would plant as many as 50,000 saplings from his own pocket as part of the Plant for Pakistan campaign. He appealed to every citizen to participate in tree plantation so that the future environment could be saved.
He planted a sapling at 90 Shara-e-Quaid-e-Azam and asserted that a ‘Green Pakistan’ was the future of the country and the PTI government was committed to ending environmental pollution.
Talking about Defence Day, the senior minister said those who sacrificed their lives for this beloved motherland were the pride of the nation and would always be remembered.
He paid homage to the martyrs and was confident that every Pakistani would be ready to shed the last drop of their blood to safeguard the country.
PML-N set to defend LG system
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to use all available options to stop the provincial government from suspending the existing local government set up.
The party called a local government convention at the PML-N Central Secretariat in Lahore on Wednesday.
The convention, according to PML-N, was a consultative session with mayors and chairmen of provincial party leaders. It was held to review the plans of the provincial government to suspend the local government and replace the current system with a freshly-designed one.
The convention was presided over by PML-N Punjab Leader Hamza Shehbaz. Other senior leaders present in the meeting were former law minister Rana Sanaullah, former local government minister Manshaullah Butt, MPA Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan and Nadeem Kamran.
The party, to devise its future course of action, has called another local government convention on September 10 which would also be attended by deputy mayors and vice chairmen. It was revealed that the party was gearing itself up for protests against the provincial government. The party has decided to stop the provincial government from suspending the existing setup at any cost.
District Chairman Narowal Ahmad Iqbal said around 50,000 elected members of the local government have taken a mandate from the people of Punjab for five years. “We will not let anyone disrespect this mandate. If the PTI-led provincial government wants to strengthen the local government system, it should strengthen our system instead.”
Former spokesperson to Punjab government, MPA Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, said that stealing the mandate of people by cutting short the tenure of the local government would be illegal. “If the government wants to improve the system, they should bring proposed reforms to the provincial assembly for discussion,”