ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday agreed, in principle, to the proposed Local Government Act under which the mayor of Islamabad would be elected directly.
Under the new local government system, the number of union councils will also be increased from the existing 50 to 100. The prime minister reviewed and approved the draft Local Government Act at a meeting, sources said.
The meeting was attended by all the three MNAs from Islamabad - Planning Minister Asad Umar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CDA Affairs Ali Nawaz Awan and Raja Khurram Nawaz - and CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed.
The sources said the Act would be presented before the federal cabinet on Tuesday (today). According to the sources, the prime minister said local government elections should be held in Islamabad as soon as possible.
The elections will be held on a party basis, they added.
The last local government elections were held in Islamabad in Nov 2015 on the direction of the Supreme Court after the federal government at that time adopted delaying tactics.
Says local govt elections in capital should be held as soon as possible
Following the local government elections, the mayor and deputy mayors belonging to the PML-N were elected in March 2016. However, the PML-N-dominated local government could not deliver as it was not given due attention by the federal government. Later, when the PTI came into power, it too did not release any fund to the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI). The local government completed its five-year tenure in February this year without carrying out any development activity.
Even the elected representatives were not paid their honorarium.
However, the sources said, Prime Minister Khan directed that under the new system the local government should be given maximum powers to resolve issues of the public.
During the meeting, the PM also stressed the need for a uniform system to regulate buildings in the federal capital. He directed the CDA to use modern technologies such as drone cameras to keep a check on encroachments.
The prime minister also directed for more tree plantations in Islamabad.
The sources said the CDA chairman briefed the prime minister about the recently-conducted anti-encroachment operations and issues related to E-11. This sector saw urban flooding recently in which a woman and her child lost their life.
The prime minister was told that in 1968 the then president Gen Ayub Khan had exempted E-11 from land acquisition that left the sector unattended as the civic agency never imposed its bylaws there.
The prime minister was told that the revocation of Ayub Khan’s order was imperative so that the CDA could enforce its bylaws in the sector to control mushroom growth of unregulated buildings and provide civic facilities to the residents.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2021