Monday October 18, 2021

Not holding LG polls was biggest mistake: Fawad

September 29, 2021
Not holding LG polls was biggest mistake: Fawad

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Tuesday conceded that not holding the local government (LG) elections in the first year was the biggest mistake of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government “which harmed us”.

Speaking here at a National Conference on the Future of Local Governments, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was convinced from day one that without a strong local government system, the country’s system could not be reformed.

Fawad explained that the biggest opposition to LGs was emerging from the chief ministers (CMs) and noted the PTI had won from Karachi; the people of Karachi say that the PTI should take care of them.

He hit out at the Sindh government and alleged that the Sindh government did not spend a single rupee in Karachi. “How can the problems of Karachi be solved by the PTI while sitting in Islamabad? We are giving Rs1,100 billion to Karachi under political pressure,” he said.

The minister claimed that the federal government had cleaned the drains of Karachi and it was also spending on the KCR. About the LGs system, the minister said that there was a problem that the money from the federal government gets stuck in the chief minister’s office after being transferred to the provinces; another problem is that MNAs and MPAs do not agree to think above the police, contractors and patwaris.

“Unless we change our minds, the country cannot develop. On the one hand, Rs1,700 to Rs1,800 billion were given to Sindh under the NFC Award, but in Karachi the Sindh government does not spend a single rupee. People there say that we have voted for the PTI,” he added.

He said that at present the money under the NFC Award was given to the provinces, but there was no provincial finance commission award in the provinces, which leads to complaints from districts. However, he added, a system had been devised in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for the purpose.

The minister said that in the past Shehbaz Sharif spent a large part of Punjab budget in the NFC on Lahore alone, spent $260 million on Lahore Orange Line train only, while a negligible fare was being charged. Jhelum, Layyah, Chakwal’s share of the money was spent in Lahore in the past.

He said in the modern form of local government system, people have become empowered. In modern democracy, one has to look from the bottom to the top, for which the system of local government is the best system. He said that when the system of local government was introduced in 2006, one of the shortcomings was that the powers of the provinces were transferred, but the powers of the federation were not transferred. He said that the biggest problem in governance is non-implementation of Article 140A. Under this Article, taxes are collected from all over Pakistan and come to the federation and 60% tax from the federal government goes to the provinces.