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September 16, 2018

Importance of local govts highlighted


September 16, 2018

LAHORE : The local government (LG) is the third tier of governance but the first tier of democracy.

No political system can work successfully without ensuring the democracy at the grass-roots level.

These views were expressed by the speakers at a seminar titled “Strengthening Local Governance in Punjab” organised by an NGO in connection with International Day of Democracy at a local hotel on Saturday.

A large number of people, union council chairmen, male and female councillors, representatives of civil society and government, people from academia and the media attended the seminar.

Bushra Khaliq, executive director of the NGO, said democracy was a way of life and culture of independent thinking. Local governance is the key to democracy and the PTI government should grant more powers to local government institutions in Punjab, she said.

Zahid Islam, a local government expert said, the previous government of PML-N introduced six amendments to its own Punjab Local Government Act 2013 and now new PTI government in Punjab was planning to introduce further changes in the Act, creating a sense of uncertainty among the local government institutions and 60,000 councillors in the province.

The system must continue and it would be disservice to democracy if the new provincial government suspends the LG institutions in Punjab, he said.

Ms Rabbiya Bajwa, a Supreme Court advocate, said the International Day of Democracy demanded to ponder upon the situation of democracy in Pakistan.

Dr Nausheen Hamid said very soon PTI was going to introduce an effective local government system in Punjab Financial and administrative powers would be transferred to LGs and the women would be engaged largely, she added.

Ms Sunbal Malik, a PML-N MPA, said the PTI government was bent upon suspending the LG system in Punjab to obliterate the PML-N political base. “However, we will not allow them to take any undemocratic step”, she added.

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