LAKKI MARWAT: Local government representatives held a protest demonstration in Lakki city on Monday to press the government to ‘fully’ devolve powers to the grassroots level.

A large number of deputy nazims and councillors of village and neighbourhood councils assembled at Qazi Ishfaq chowk, blocking the busy Bannu-Mianwali road for vehicular traffic. The closure of road connecting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Punjab inconvenienced the commuters.

Policemen were also deployed to maintain law and order and avert any untoward incident.

The All Councillors Ittehad president Advocate Asif Iqbal and general secretary Liaqat Ali Sayyam led the protesters who carried banners and placards inscribed with their demands. The protesters raised slogans against the provincial government for not devolving powers to the grassroots level in real sense.

The speakers demanded equal share for all the councillors in the annual developmental programme and other uplift schemes of the village and neighbourhood councils. They maintained that the government should not restrict the local government representatives to spend their funds only on repair and maintenance works, asking it to allow them to launch uplift schemes in their respective areas.

The nazims also demanded of the government to make transparent the recruitment process of secretaries and class-IV employees.

The protesters called for arranging training workshops for local government representatives because they had no knowledge about the preparation of budget and annual development programme.

They also asked the provincial government to take notice of ‘unbecoming’ attitude of local administration and police officials with the councillors.

Later, assistant commissioner Sher Alam Khan and local government and rural development department’s assistant director Ali Asmat held talks with the protesters and convinced them to end their protest and reopen the road for traffic.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2016

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