ISLAMABAD Nov 4,2021
Although most members of the party’s core committee are of the view that holding party-based local bodies elections in Punjab would harm the ruling party, Prime Minister Imran Khan is adamant in his decision to hold LB polls in Punjab on party basis.
PTI sources said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has told his party’s senior leadership that no matter what happens, whether his party wins or loses, they will not back down from their vision of local government reform.
In a meeting of the party’s core committee on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided that the Village Council and Neighborhood elections will be held on a non-party basis, while the tehsil and district / city level elections will be held on a party basis.
Most members of the core committee warned the Prime Minister that direct party-based elections in Punjab would hurt the PTI. But Imran Khan insisted that he would not compromise on the issue, even if the results of the party-based elections affected the ruling party.
According to the PTI’s election manifesto, the Prime Minister has also formed a committee headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi to hold local bodies elections in Punjab which will ensure early local bodies elections in the province.
The committee is headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi while the members include Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar, Khusro Bakhtiar, Mehmood Rashid, Ejaz Chaudhry, Fawad Chaudhry and Amir Kayani.
The committee held a meeting on Wednesday to consider ways and means to hold early local bodies elections in Punjab. The PTI had promised in its election manifesto that the people would be empowered through local government at the grassroots level.
The manifesto promised that “we will involve the people in decision-making by devolving power at the grassroots level to Pakistan and for this, empowered local governments will be formed.”
The manifesto said, “Local development in small towns and villages is controlled by members of the provincial and national assemblies and they do not want to relinquish their powers. We will build infrastructure at the grassroots level that gives village councils resources and decisions.” The manufacturing power will be transferred and the successful model of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be adopted in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan.
Learning from the experience of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we will further improve the local government structure here and introduce a city government model where the directly elected mayor will be responsible for delivering interconnected facilities in urban areas.”
During the last three years of the PTI government, members of the ruling party in the National and Provincial Assemblies have completely failed to reform the local government system.
In Punjab, not only were the existing LG governments dissolved but it was also ensured that there would be no LB elections.
Only after the intervention of the judiciary, the dissolved local bodies were restored in Punjab but the Punjab government did not allow them to function according to the law.
The Prime Minister is now directly interested in the election of the mayor of the city, district and tehsil on a party basis. However, village councils in rural areas and neighborhood councils in cities will be non-partisan.