KARACHI: Following a Sindh government’s invitation, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has proposed amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 to modify it in line with ground realities in the province, said a senior party leader on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Idara Noor-i-Haq headquarters, Karachi JI chief Hafiz Naeemur Rahman said that his party was closely monitoring the situation in connection with LG elections in the province.

“The Jamaat-i-Islami has proposed a mega-city government instead of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to run the affairs of the megalopolis,” he said. “Our major demands include ‘direct election for the mayor and deputy mayor of the city.”

Hafiz Naeem says Sindh govt has sought party’s proposals to make LG law effective

He said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was intended to keep 60,000 to 65,000 individuals in a union committee in major cities, but the JI strongly advocated for a UC to be consisted of 12,000 inhabitants as followed in other parts of the province.

He said the JI had proposed to replace the district municipal corporation (DMC) system with town municipal administrations (TMAs) and the party in principle had opposed the appointment of administrators.

However, the JI had recommended to place administrators, if necessary, but not for more than three months, he said, proposing to place all development authorities under the proposed mega city government.

To further strengthen the city government, Hafiz Naeem suggested channelising more taxes and collections to mega city governments.

He said the JI in its response also proposed to remove ambiguity from the prevailing act and replace the sentence “as may be prescribed by the government” in clear terms.

“The city policing and traffic police should also be placed under the authority and control of the proposed city government,” he added while citing the proposals.

“In order to strengthen the system, date for next elections should be announced 90 days prior to the expiry of an outgoing term. We have also proposed to place all local governments under the proposed system of governance. The party has also sought greater autonomy and powers for the government over hiring and firing of officials in the set-up.”

The city JI chief said the party was approached by the Election Commission of Pakistan in connection with the hearing on the subject of LG elections.

The chief election commissioner and the JI leaders in a recent official meeting had agreed to the need of immediate LG polls in the province, he added.

“The two sides shared concerns surrounding the delay in the LG polls,” said Hafiz Naeem. “We strongly condemn the PPP government for its policy against delaying LG elections. It’s so unfortunate that other political forces have in fact become silent supporter of the PPP when it comes to empower the local governments and holding early elections.”

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2021

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