In line with its earlier announcement of holding local body elections across the province in October, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has formed a subcommittee to chalk out a viable plan.
A meeting of the working group was held on Monday in which members decided the new local government system would be based on district, tehsil and village council levels, and would be led by a chairman, K-P Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan told The Express News. “The main objective of setting up this new system is to devolve power to grassroot levels,” said Khan.
A subcommittee comprising Dr Iqbal Khalil of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Ali Asghar of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Aneesa Zaib of the Qaumi Watan Party, Maryam Bibi, a representative of non-governmental organisations, Peshawar Commissioner Sahibzada Anees and secretaries from the local council board, was also formed to chalk out plans for the elections, informed Khan. The minister said the subcommittee would work out the election procedure within two days and also reveal if the elections would be held on party or non-party basis.
“After presenting its report, the subcommittee will meet again to prepare a draft for the polls which would be presented to the chief minister. After the chief executive’s approval, the draft would be brought to the assembly to be turned into legislation,” explained the minister.
He maintained the K-P government would follow the Supreme Court’s orders and will be in a position to hold local body elections in October.
In the recent past, the PTI-led government said it would pass a new Local Government (LG) bill and expressed its willingness to enact laws to allocate a quota for youth seats in the LG setup. It also suggested the legislation make the female electorate’s participation mandatory only when voting for women candidates vying for LG seats.
Khan’s personal secretary Muhammad Iqbal said these recommendations would be forwarded in the draft by working committees reviewing the suggestions put forth by all coalition partners. “After they submit their recommendations, we will bring them to the provincial assembly,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Khan said the new law will not be a copy of the 2001 LG law. Instead, it would be drafted according to the 1997-2012 laws and the PTI’s vision, he added.
Khan also said it would not award the powers of magistrate and law and order to a district nazim as was the case in previous setups. “That was a failed test because these powers with a nazim resulted in increasing problems for the public.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.