The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said on Monday that they will hold local government elections three months after the general elections.
Presenting their manifesto titled “Empowering the people”, Deputy Convenor of MQM Farooq Sattar said that institutions falling under the local government are the foundations of democracy.
“Provincial autonomy is incomplete without local government elections,” Sattar said. He added that amendments will be made to the local government system, placing police under the control of the city and district government. Traffic management, he said, will be taken back from the police department, and given to the city district government.
In the education and health spheres, Sattar said that schools up to intermediate level and town and district hospitals would fall under the domain of the local government.
He said that the dual system of education will be abolished and Urdu-medium institutions would be brought at par with English-medium institutions. Seminaries too would be brought under the mainstream system of education.
Waving a copy of the party’s manifesto, Sattar said that women would be given equal rights and MQM will give women 50 per cent representation in the parliament and provincial assemblies.
Sattar went on to say that the constitution will be amended to lift the bar on overseas Pakistanis having dual nationalities from taking part in elections.
The deputy convenor also spoke about the issue of terrorism that plagues Karachi, his party’s key domain. He said that a national terrorism policy will be formulated in consultation with elected representatives, police, bureaucracy and the armed forces.
“The production of arms, its trade and illegal movement, would be stopped in order to make Pakistan free from arms,” he said.
“The bills submitted by MQM in the National Assembly would be passed in the new parliament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2013.