Local govt polls delayed by six months in Punjab -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Local govt polls delayed by six months in Punjab

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed the Punjab Local Government (second amendment) Bill 2011 amid protest of opposition, which demanded the provincial government hold LG polls in the province at the earliest.

“The government shall, within one hundred and eighty days, notify a date for holding of election of the local government to the Election Commission” stated the amended bill, which put the LG elections to a delay of further six months in the Punjab minimum.

According to the amended bill, the government may appoint an ad-hoc accounts committee for all the local governments in a district which shall consist of four members of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab and at least one member from the opposition, three official members.

The bill was moved by Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan, which was passed by the majority members of the House after the objections of opposition were rejected.

The opposition members during their speeches criticized the Punjab government for escaping from the LG elections just to avoid a certain no confidence of people. Dr Samia Amjed of the PML-Q, during her speech, said that rather than passing the bill, the input of people should also be taken over it. She said a public representative should be empowered to address the problems of people, which under the present set-up were in the domain of bureaucracy.

Major (retd) Zulfiqar Gondal, the parliamentary leader of the PPP, urged the PML-N leadership to give up following of Ziaul Haq and respect the public opinion. He said it seemed strange that on the one hand, the PML-N leadership demanded general elections at the earliest but it was unable to hold even LG elections in the Punjab.

Ehsanul Haq Nolatia, a PPP MPA from Muzaffargarh, voicing his concern over the bill said that in entire world, the process of power devolution was encouraged, not centralisation of power and even in Pakistan, the central government had transferred its powers to provinces. However, he said in the province, the powers were not being transferred to the people and concentration of power in an individual was not the right thing.

Amna Ulfat of the PML-Q, slamming the Punjab government for its “dictatorial attitude”, said that the provincial administration had once again delayed the process of local government polls for a period of six month after which it would ‘announce’ any date.

Shaukat Mehmood Basra, the deputy parliamentary leader of the PPP, rejecting the bill said that claims of the Punjab government to expose the corrupt practices of former district Nazims could well be assessed by the way a former Nazim of Bahawalnagar was welcomed in the PML-N’s fold recently. He said that redressal of people’s problems was in the immediate holding of LG polls.

Rejecting the objections of the opposition, Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan said that the so- called supporters of the LG elections should also show the same spirit in Sindh where so far no elections of local government had taken place. The House witnessed brief disorder over the remarks of Rana Sana Ullah when, while responding to the opposition’s objections, he said the PPP should show the same courage to go to people with which they had gone to Naudero yesterday on the death anniversary of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto,

PA Speaker Rana Mohammed Iqbal put the House in order and the bill was passed amid the opposition’s protest.

Source: THE NEWS