PMLN ‘concedes’ to PPP’s demands

PMLN conceded to PPP's demands related to appointments of district administration and law officers, representation in different boards and authorities

By Umar Cheema
June 23, 2024
Punjab Information Minister Azma Bokhari talking to the media on June 22, 2024. — Screengrab via Facebook/GovtofPunjabPK

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) has conceded to the demands of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) related to the appointments of district administration and law officers, representation in different boards and authorities, allocation of development funds at par with PMLN lawmakers and early holding of local bodies’ elections.

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The lawmakers from both the parties have confirmed that differences have been sorted out. “We asked for implementation of what had been agreed when the coalition was formed,” said a PPP lawmaker privy to details. A PMLN leader concurred and said most of the demands were of genuine nature and needed to be urgently addressed. In the Punjab Chief Minister’s Secretariat, an additional secretary has been appointed with the sole task to address the issues of PPP.

From now on, the Punjab government will appoint in consultation with PPP the deputy commissioners, district police officers and revenue officers in those districts where the party has an active support base. As many as 12 districts have been identified like Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Rajanpur, etc, where officers will be appointed with consultation. The PPP said it was ready to oblige the PMLN in Sindh regarding bureaucratic appointments though the latter doesn’t have any representation in the assembly there.

A share has also been sought in the appointments of law officers at federal and provincial level in proportionate with their seats in respective assemblies. A PMLN leader said such appointments have been made conditional with the competence of potential candidates as they need lawyers of sound background who could put up a good defence of the government departments before the courts. For representation in the boards (e.g. Lahore Electricity Supply Corporation), authorities (e.g. Lahore Development Authority) and commissions (e.g. Planning Commission), the same formula will be applied i.e. persons of sound backgrounds will be considered.

Development budget was another point of contention between the two partners. The PPP complained it was not consulted before the allocation of Public Sector Development Programme. The government has agreed to address concerns in this regard apart from agreeing that the PPP lawmakers would get development funds from the federal and provincial governments at par with PMLN lawmakers. In addition, 35 percent block allocations for PPP from SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) funds have been accepted for Sindh and Balochistan. The SDGs funds are granted by foreign donors.

The PPP has demanded holding of local bodies elections throughout the country within one year of the formation of government. “We understand,” the PPP leader said, “local governments would help engage the people and release pressure being mounted by blocking PTI’s path. Regardless of the release, this is a way to involve people in governance affairs. The PMLN, though reluctant, has agreed to do the needful.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Information Minister Azma Bukhari said, “There is no agreement-type thing in my knowledge, hence I have no confirmation whether any assurance has been given or not on the mentioned points. Also please note there is ban on transfer/posting at the moment. Development funds haven’t been issued to anyone. No appointment has been made on political basis. Local bodies elections will be held in line with what we have promised in the manifesto. We can consider the appointment of additional secretary as demanded by our allies.”

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