LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar faced a volley of criticisms from party MPAs at a PTI parliamentary party meeting on Monday as they expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the Punjab government during the past 15 months.
The parliamentary party meeting, called ahead of the Punjab Assembly session, was meant to take party MPAs into confidence with regard to legislation as well as plans to hold the local government elections in March 2020.
Sources in the meeting told Dawn that the MPAs complained that the bureaucracy was not cooperating with them and even their genuine issues were not being resolved. They said unbridled price hike had made the life of masses hell and people were losing their jobs or facing salary cuts.
Several MPAs said it would be very difficult for the PTI government to hold local government elections when its popularity had hit an all-time low. They demanded the government ensure relief to masses in real terms and let party MPAs’ work be executed by the bureaucracy for the welfare of people at a faster pace.
“The parliamentary party meetings are usually called to allow the party MPAs to vent their anger in a closed-door meeting instead of expressing resentment in the assembly session and bring embarrassment for the government,” a minister told Dawn.
The MPAs were given a booklet highlighting the PTI government’s achievements during the past 15 months.
Speaking at the meeting, Chief Minister Buzdar said the Punjab government had decided that the Village Panchayat elections would be held in March, adding that the local government department was making necessary arrangements in this regard. “The Village Panchayat elections will be held on a non-party basis and the local government elections on a party basis in the next phase,” he added.
Assuring the MPAs that their genuine work pending with the bureaucracy would be cleared at a faster pace, the chief minister said the women assembly members would also be given their due rights. He said he would observe a zero-tolerance policy for corruption at all costs, adding that the assembly members should identify corruption and assured them of immediate action against the corrupt.
The chief minister said meetings with the assembly members would continue in the session and their problems solved on priority. He stressed that the assembly members should ensure their attendance in the Punjab Assembly session.
Earlier, Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja briefed the MPAs and hoped they would fully participate in the current assembly session.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019