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Imran due in Lahore today as deadline for LG reforms ends

Updated September 23, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Assembly Speaker Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at his Banigala residence on Saturday.—INP
ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Assembly Speaker Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at his Banigala residence on Saturday.—INP

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Lahore today (Sunday) to review Punjab’s progress on 100-day agenda and launch an ‘empowered’ local government system as well as police reforms.

He is also scheduled to hold a detailed meeting with the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general.

The PM, expected to arrive here in the afternoon, will be holding back-to-back meet-ings with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, the cabinet, political leadership and bureaucracy of Punjab.

Likely to review 100-day agenda and police reforms

After assuming the office of prime minister, Mr Khan had made his maiden visit to Lahore on Sept 1 and assigned the chief minister of Punjab and members of his cabinet the task of eliminating corruption and initiating action against land grabbers.

However, any such campaign from any government quarter is yet to be launched.

Since PM Khan is concerned about LG reforms in Punjab to empower local government representatives at grassroots level, he will begin his day with a detailed discussion on the proposed reforms in the system.

The prime minister had expressed displeasure over the ‘revised’ LG system presented to him by senior minister Aleem Khan at Banigala on Sept 15. He had given Mr Aleem, who is also heading a special task force, yet another week to come up with a viable LG system to be introduced in the province.

The Punjab cabinet, in its first meeting on Aug 31, had itself set deadlines of reviewing the local government system till Sept 20 with an aim to empower people at grassroots through legally-backed reforms.

The cabinet also decided that a proposed blueprint for the revamped LG system for the province should be ready till Oct 15 which would lead to draft legislation to amend LG laws by Nov 15.

Following discussion on LG system with the chief minister, the senior minister, law minister and others concerned, PM Imran Khan is expected to chair a cabinet meeting and review the Punjab government’s performance on the 100-day agenda.

“There is neither any formal agenda for the cabinet meeting nor are any concrete decisions likely to be made, but there may be reviews and directives by the PM,” a provincial minister told Dawn.

Following the cabinet meeting, the prime minister will hold separate meetings with the commissioners and deputy commissioners of different divisions / districts of Punjab at the Chief Minister’s secretariat and take up some administrative matters, including political interference in officials’ working. Besides, there will also be meetings with the regional police officers and district police officers as well as directors of anti-corruption establishment. All bureaucrats and police officers have been called to Lahore for a meeting.

To work on police reforms, PM Khan will be holding another meeting with Chief Minister’s Adviser Nasir Durrani, Punjab IG Mohammad Tahir, the Intelligence Bureau head as well as the FIA director, according to sources.

Ahead of the prime minister’s meeting, Chief Minister Buzdar on Saturday reviewed the 100-day plan and progress of 15 government departments.

Mr Buzdar highlighted the need for introduction of checks and balances besides transparency in the local government institutions. “The new system will do away with the status quo and serve the masses,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2018