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IK decides in favour of direct party-based LG elections in Punjab

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IK decides in favour of direct party-based LG elections in Punjab

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has stuck to his decision of holding direct local government elections in the Punjab on party basis though the majority of members of the party’s core committee believes that the move would hurt the ruling party.

PTI sources said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has told his top party leadership that no matter what happens and whether his party wins or loses the elections, he would not compromise on his vision of local government reforms.

It is explained that the prime minister decided in the core committee meeting held on Monday that the village council and neighborhood election would be held on a non-party basis but the election for the tehsil and district/city levels will be direct and on a party basis.

Most of the core committee members warned the prime minister that holding direct elections on a party basis in Punjab will seriously hurt the PTI. But Imran Khan insisted that he would not compromise on this point no matter how the results of the party election affect the ruling party.

For holding local government elections in Punjab as per the manifesto of the PTI, the prime minister also constituted a committee under Shah Mehmood Qureshi to ensure early local government polls in Punjab.

The Committee, headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi included Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, Khusro Bakhtiar, Mahmood Rashid, Ejaz Chaudhry, Fawad Chaudhry and Amir Kiani. The Committee held its meeting on Wednesday and discussed the ways and means to hold early elections in Punjab.

The PTI in its election manifesto had committed to empower people at the grassroots level through local government “We will transform Pakistan by devolving power and decision-making to the people through an empowered local government,” the manifesto said.

The PTI manifesto had admitted that the local development in villages and small towns in Pakistan is controlled by MPAs and MNAs, or by the bureaucracy, who do not want to cede authority and relevance.

“We will devolve small infrastructure initiatives to village councils by transferring resources and decision-making power to the people of Pakistan by scaling out our successful KP model across Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan,” the manifesto said, adding, “Learning from our KP experience, we will further refine the LG structure, and introduce a city government model, where the directly elected Mayor will be responsible to deliver on all interrelated urban city matters.”

During the last three years of the PTI tenure, the ruling party MNAs and MPAs failed every attempt to reform the local government system. In Punjab, not only were the existing local governments dissolved but it was ensured that local government elections were not held.

Only after the intervention of the judiciary, the dissolved local governments in Punjab were reinstated but they were not allowed by the Punjab government to function as per the law. The prime minister is keen to go for direct elections of Mayors at the city, district, and tehsil levels on party basis. However, polls for the village councils in the rural areas and neighborhood councils in the urban areas will be held on a non-party basis.


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