Power to the people: Local govt setup not to be a blast from the past

Aims to introduce quota for youth seats in the setup.

Jamsheed Baghwan July 21, 2013
Aims to introduce quota for youth seats in the setup. DESIGN: SUNARA NIZAMI/FILE


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has expressed its willingness to enact laws allocating a quota for youth seats in the local government (LG) setup. The PTI has also suggested legislation to make the female electorate’s participation mandatory only when voting for women candidates vying for local government seats.

The development was confirmed by K-P Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan, who said his department had already written a letter to the Election Commission Pakistan requesting local government elections to be held in the current year.

While talking to The Express Tribune, Khan said the provincial government has started making arrangements to hold elections by the end of October or beginning of November. “Meetings for this purpose will start July 22,” he said, adding the draft of the LG law would be brought before the assembly during the ongoing month for approval.

Khan also explained how the new local government law will not be a copy of the LG laws 2001. “The new law will be crafted according to the 1997-2012 laws and the PTI’s vision,” he said. “However, the district government will act but will only deal with financial matters.” The local government minister added the law would not attribute powers of law and order or of the magistrate to the district nazim as before. “That was a failed test because vesting these powers with a nazim resulted in increasing problems.”

Khan said the local government setup would have union councils and district councils comprising farmers and women representatives. Responding to a query, the minister said the PTI had recommended new legislation to make women votes mandatory only when polling for women candidates. “It is the PTI’s idea, and a decision will be made in this regard,” said Khan.

The minister also backed a quota of seats for the youth at union council and district levels. “This will also be made part of the new law in order to bring them (the youth) into the decision-making loop gradually.”

The minister added no specific date for local government elections had been divulged as yet.

However, sources in the provincial government said a uniform local government system in all provinces was improbable because every province could have its own system according to the Constitution. When contacted, Khan’s personal secretary Muhammad Iqbal said the recommendations would be forwarded by working committees reviewing the suggestions put forth by the coalition partners. “After they make their recommendations, we will bring them to the provincial assembly.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.