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LAHORE: The PML-N says it will agitate and move the court if the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf wraps up the local government system.

“We will agitate and move the court if the PTI government weakens the local body system and tries to wrap it up before completion of its tenure next year,” PML-N senior leader MNA Malik Pervaiz told Dawn on Monday.

He said the PTI’s main concern was PML-N that had an overwhelming representation in Punjab and the former wanted to do away with it.

Pervaiz Malik further said the PML-N was keenly observing what changes PTI proposed in the local body system. “We will not let the PTI press ahead with its anti-people changes and send the local government packing before completing its tenure (November 2019),” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a committee to recommend within a week a proposal for a new local government structure that will be scrutinised and presented before the provincial assemblies to initiate the required legislation process within a month.

Khan said new laws must be prepared within a week so that they could be enforced in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — the provinces where his PTI has its government. Sindh, where the PPP is at the helm, Balochistan, where a BAP-led coalition is in power, would be asked to enforce the new LG system under Article 140-A of the Constitution, he said.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the local body system should be functioning here like that in London, Birmingham and Scandinavian countries in which city mayor was elected directly by the people and not by tehsil and union councils. He said in the direct election system people cast two votes at a time and the candidates for the office of city and tehsil mayors would have to get at least 51 per cent votes.

In Nov 2015, PML-N swept the local government elections in Punjab. The PTI and PPP had performed poorly.

MEETING: A meeting of Punjab PML-N MPAs was held on Monday to finalise a strategy for the presidential election to be held on Tuesday (today).

In the absence of party president Shahbaz Sharif, his son Hamza presided over the meeting at the Model Town party office.

He said at the moment the opposition’s joint candidate was Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N MPAs would vote for him, however, in case there was any change in it (joint candidate) after Maulana Fazl’s meeting with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the MPAs would be conveyed.

The PPP has nominated Aitzaz Ahsan for the slot of president.

After the meeting, MPA Imran Nazir told reporters that no final decision had been made with regard to whom the party lawmakers would vote for -- Maulana Fazl or Mr Ahsan.

“One thing is for sure that none of our MPAs will vote for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate Dr Arif Alvi.”

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018