GUJRAT: Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q), an important ally of the PTI government, is weighing the option of proposing a major amendment to the Punjab local governments law passed last year in an effort to revive district and union councils that have been abolished (under the 2019 law).

Though the PML-Q had voted in favor of the law in the Punjab Assembly last year, most of the party leaders and lawmakers still have serious reservations over abolition of the union councils and district councils that had been replaced with the tehsil councils, neighborhood and village councils in Punjab.

A party source told Dawn that the PML-Q leadership had consistently been expressing its reservations over the law and same were conveyed to the PTI’s negotiating team during recent deliberations held to address concerns of the allied parties.

Seeks revival of district councils, conveys demand to PTI

Party lawmakers have been engaged in consultation within the party on proposing an amendment for which a legal team is working on framing proposals (for the amendments).

A senior PML-Q leader told Dawn that party MNA Chaudhry Moonis Elahi and federal minister Tariq Basheer Cheema had discussed the issue with federal minister Asad Umar who had promised to take it up with the prime minister. However, he said, Mr Umar was of the view that the PM might not agree to the proposal of retaining the union councils.

He said in case the PTI did not agree to the proposal of revival of district councils, the PML-Q could consider the other options of seeking cooperation from the opposition parties like the PML-N and PPP for the approval of the proposed amendment.

He said the LG system being tried through the 2019 law could prove disastrous for the people of Punjab as the provincial government did not have as much available human, financial and logistical resources to run at least 30,000 units instead of previously only 4000 whereas the elected representatives in this system would also require the offices.

He claimed even some PTI lawmakers too had serious concerns over the abolition of union councils and district councils in Punjab but their party paid no heed to those voices.

“Such lawmakers also persuaded the PML-Q leadership to raise the matter with the PTI leadership as a coalition partner.”

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2020