LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is considering mass protests against any possible attempts by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led Punjab government to suspend the current local government (LG) system.
The party will try to thwart the provincial government from trying to suspend this system in provincial assembly and will move the court against the government “if the mandate given to LGs is disrespected”, said PML-N sources.
However, as both these platform might not yield any success, party is also considering a mass protest in advance. This is the very decision that the party may take in a local government consultation meeting expected to be held on Monday.
The PML-N Punjab has called a consultation meeting at Central PML-N Secretariat in Lahore, the decision of which was taken during a meeting presided over by Hamza Shehbaz on Wednesday.
Interestingly, the convention cum meeting of Wednesday was not attended by majority of the PML-N mayors and UC chairmen. The party had invited all the mayors and chairmen in the meeting and intimated about it also through the media but only around five LG representatives attended it.
This lukewarm response to the call gives credence to speculations about possible exodus of the LG members from the PML-N to the PTI. Media office when asked about the reasons behind the limited attendance in Wednesday’s meeting rejected the speculation by the media.
It said heads of only those LG were invited where by-election are to be held. They said the Wednesday meeting was not a LG consultation meeting nor all the LG chairmen and mayors were invited.
When asked about the information issued to the media, the office said they were not aware of the information rolled out to the media that day by another member of Hamza Shehbaz’s team.
For the Monday’s consultative meeting, the party has invited mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairmen, said Narowal District Chairman Ahmad Iqbal. He said the party would device its future course of action to stop the provincial government from suspending the local governments.
He earlier on Wednesday said: “We would not let anyone disrespect this mandate. If the PTI led provincial government wants to strengthen the LG system, it should strengthen our system instead. We will utilise all available resources to protect our system. Protest is an option open before us.”
He had said if only 40 per cent of the elected representatives decide to protest in Lahore, the Punjab government would not be able to handle it. He said even the PTI’s LG elected representatives are with them for protecting sanctity of their tenure. “The government will have to take a U-turn when they will see their own people protesting against them on this issue,” he added.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan said the PTI wants to roll back the existing LGs as the PML-N dominates the LGs and the PTI wishes to get its own candidates elected. He said the PML-N will not let the PTI steal its mandate.
“It is not that the PMN-L is worried about losing LG election. It is about protecting the sanctity of tenure. Protests will be held against the government if it engaged in vindictive politics. The PTI should focus on constructive politics,” he added.