LAHORE: The chairmen, members and councillors, led by the mayors, deputy mayors and the political leaders, staged a massive protest at the Charing Cross against the Punjab government for presenting a bill in the assembly on the new local government (LG) system before the end of the ongoing tenure of the existing system.
However, Punjab Minister for Law Raja Basharat has expressed the resolve to move forward with the bill and ensure its passage in the assembly despite the opposition to it.
In front of the Punjab Assembly on The Mall, the protesters chanted slogans against the PTI government and termed its move a bid to undermine the PML-N’s penetration at grassroots level.
They alleged the government was not only targeting the initiatives introduced by the PML-N but also victimising the political leaders in the name of the so-called accountability.
“They are just trying to weaken the PML-N by tabling such useless bills in the assembly. But we will not let the PTI do so as we not only reject this but will also oppose it by all means,” PML-N leader Malik Ahmad Khan said while speaking on the occasion.
Law minister persists with govt plan to pass bill despite opposition
The local bodies election was held in 2015 and under the constitution, the elected representatives are supposed to complete their term, ending in February/March, 2021.
“We will fight for our rights at every forum, including the higher and superior courts. The PTI government must remember that it will see a severe resistance for packing up the current system,” Lahore Mayor Mubashir Javed said.
“We would not allow the PTI to flout the constitution,” he said, demanding the PTI to allow the elected representatives complete their term just like what’s happening in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Lalamusa Municipal Committee chairman/PPP leader Nadeem Asghar Kaira termed the new bill a black act that would be resisted by the political forces.
Meanwhile, the PML-N has decided to hold protest against the newly proposed local government system on a daily basis in the city. “We have been asked to gather here on a daily basis and protest against the PTI’s efforts to introduce a new system,” Chaudhry Amir, a UC Nazim told Dawn.
On the other hand, Raja Basharat said new LG bill would be passed according to the law.
He was talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly, Mr Basharat said local government would move the bill as per law and the opposition would get nothing with all its hue and cry. However, he added, the opposition would get full opportunity to discuss the bill.
“The constitution has given the right of legislation to the assembly and we are using the same right. No organisation could dictate the government in this regard.”
The law minister said the procedure for removal of district chairman or tehsil chairman in the new bill would require a two-thirds majority; however, non-confidence move could be done against the elected representatives and during the first and the last year.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019