RAWALPINDI: Even after the elected members of the local government take oath to their new offices on Thursday, the bureaucracy will continue to remain the responsibility of the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC) and the District Council, because the newly elected members have no offices yet.
The district administration has made arrangements for swearing in 1,326 chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors of the district council and Municipal Corporation of Rawalpindi and Murree, five municipal committees of Gujar Khan, Taxila, Kallar Syedan, Kahuta and Kotli Sattian.
Taking to Dawn, District Election Commissioner Nadeem Zubair said 30 returning officers have been appointed as presiding officers to take oath from the newly elected members of the local government.
“Each presiding officer will be taking oath from members from eight union councils”, he said.
He added that the election commission will likely announce the schedule for elections on reserved seats soon after seats for women, technocrats and minorities were allocated by the Punjab government.
However, the district administration has not said anything about the governments’ or the election commissions’ plans for polls on reserved seats, about the offices for the elected members, the election of the mayor, deputy mayors, district council chairman and vice chairmen, municipal committee chairmen and vice chairmen.
A senior official of district administration told Dawn that the provincial government could not announce the number of seats reserved for women, technocrats, labour and minorities when it was given a week to do so by the election commission, which will now be issuing the notification itself.
“Basically, the PML-N led provincial government wanted to bring their main leaders into the local government via reserved seats because they failed to do so through the other seats and they wanted to amend the Punjab Local Government Act, 2013 to do so”, he explained.
He added that 880 members of the District Council will be sworn in at Potohar Town Hall, 354 members of the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation at Jinnah Hall in Rawal Town and 92 members of the municipal committees of Gujar Kham, Taxila, Kallar Syedan, Kahuta and Kotli Sattian will take oath in their respective areas.
PML-N Metropolitan President Sardar Naseem told Dawn that after taking oath, the elected members will use the offices of their union councils. He said that elections on reserved seats and to elect a mayor will be held after the election commission issues a notification.
Mr Naseem added that PML-N had won in 35 union councils of the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and that five union council chairmen had joined the ruling party, increasing their seats to 40.
Three independent chairmen have joined PPP, while PTI won in two union councils and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s Awami Muslim League won in one.
The total number of union councils in RMC is 46 and the PML-N has the majority required to elect a mayor and deputy mayor for Rawalpindi City.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2016