LAHORE: District and tehsil transition committees, constituted and notified by the local government and community development department to devise an action plan for restoration of the local governments, held their first meeting across the province on Friday.

In meetings, the participants were to discuss the matters pertaining to inventories of assets, liabilities of the local governments, preparation of a draft of transitional plan, assistance to the divisional and provincial teams, distribution of assets, liabilities and employees amongst the local governments.

In Lahore, district and tehsil committees met under the deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioners (ACs) of City, Model Town, Raiwind, Shalimar and Cantt tehsils.

Lahore Mayor retired Col Mubashir Javed, deputy mayors and other elected representatives also attended the meetings.

The elected representatives asked that since the entire record was with the offices of LG administrators, how they could devise an action plan for restoring the LGs. While giving their input during the meetings, they termed the committees delaying tactics to implement the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s short order on March 25 and detailed judgment on July 6.

“I participated in two meetings, one of the district and another of tehsil committee presided over by the Lahore DC and Model Town AC, respectively. I told the officers that we were there just for the sake of the court to which the government submitted the plan to restore local governments through the constitution of committees,” Mr Javed told Dawn.

“Otherwise, we know that the constitution of committees is delaying tactics to avoid a revival of the LG.

“We told them that we have been restored by the apex court on March 25. But the government is yet to give us charge of our offices. How can we know about the inventories, assets, liabilities etc?” the mayor said.

“We also told them that it is your (the government’s) job and not ours to devise a swift action plan to restore the LGs under the court orders as we were there just as respect to the judiciary. The government suspended the Punjab Local Government Act 2013, made another and abandoned us, which is against the constitution of Pakistan.”

The Lahore mayor claimed that all participants in the meetings were convinced about his arguments on the issue.

According to a spokesman for the city district administration, the participants agreed to complete the transition plan by Tuesday.

“The respective departments must prepare and submit lists of employees, inventories, assets, and liabilities till Monday,” Lahore DC Mudassir Riaz Malik said.

There were reports that chairmen of restored union councils protested against, what they termed, the unbecoming attitude of the ACs.

In some cases, the ACs themselves didn’t turn up and sent their lower staff as representatives to chair the meetings, while at other places, they asked the participants to just sign the attendance registers and go.

“At most places, the ACs asked the participants to mark their attendance and don’t discuss any issue and waste time,” Narowal District Council chairman Ahmad Iqbal told Dawn.

“At the Narowal meeting, the DC and other officials were told that there was no controversy or any complication in the transitional phase and they were warned of being made a party in the contempt petition if they dilly-dallied the transitional process,” he said.

Muhammad Bakhsh Tarar of Hafizabad’s UC-30 said they were told to leave immediately after the start of the meeting as the AC said they would be invited again if new directions would be received.

In Khushab district, AC Kamran Ashraf sent the tehsildar to hold the meeting.

In Gujranwala and Layyah, the UC chairmen held demonstrations in protest against the bureaucrats for, what they termed, humiliating attitude towards the elected representatives while the meetings were terminated without transacting any formal business.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2021

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