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N’s ‘abhorrence’ of local polls persists

June 19, 2013

LAHORE, June 18: The Punjab government is going to further defer local elections under the existing Local Government Ordinance 2001 for another 180 days, indicating its lack of interest in empowering people to decide their own issues at the local level.

The PML-N high command had recently announced that local elections would be held by November. But the government has not allocated any funds for the local elections in its proposed budget for the year 2013-14.

The PML-N government had in its previous term extended the date several times on the pretext that it wanted to hold the local elections under a new law, controlling district governments from the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Lahore through DCOs who acted as administrators. It tabled a bill in the Punjab Assembly which lapsed upon the expiry of its term.

Official sources informed Dawn on Tuesday that a summary had been sent to the chief minister for seeking his approval for further extending the local elections for another 150 days by amending the PLGO 2001. The amendment bill would be tabled in the Punjab Assembly for adoption after an approval by the chief minister.

Sources said the bill could be tabled in the assembly during its current budget session, constituting a special standing committee to clear it for adoption. A special committee would be constituted as the assembly was yet to form standing committees for different subjects.

If not in the current session, the government would have the bill adopted in the next session, sources said.