Local bodies elections to be held in capital soon: PM’s aide

Published November 25, 2021
A photo of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority Ali Nawaz Awan. — PID/File
A photo of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority Ali Nawaz Awan. — PID/File

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ali Nawaz Awan on Wednesday said the local bodies elections would be held in Islamabad soon and the new setup would be highly effective and powerful.

He said the Local Government Act, which was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday, was a comprehensive document, which covered all issues including power, funds and jurisdiction of the local government.

Speaking to Dawn a day after the Act was approved by the federal cabinet, the special assistant to the prime minister said under the ‘Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Ordinance 2021’, the local government representatives would have their say in local education and health sectors.

He said in the 2018 general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) won all three MNA seats from Islamabad.

Says representatives to have say in education, health sectors; FDE to report to mayor; Most wings of CDA to be transferred to MCI

“In the election campaign, we made a promise with the people that a powerful local government will be introduced to resolve their issues at their doorsteps, and now we are going to hold polls after fulfilling the legal formalities,” Mr Awan said, adding that under this Act, the mayor would be directly elected and there would be around 100 neighbourhood councils, each comprising 20,000 people.

The PM’s aide said without the support and guidance of Planning Minister Asad Umar, this Act would not have been prepared and passed by the cabinet.

Under the new Act, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), which is a regulatory body of 423 educational institutions of Islamabad, will report to the mayor for all purposes of education.

The Act said the head of the FDE shall be appointed with the consent of the mayor and the local government will monitor and supervise primary health care.

“After the commencement of this Ordinance, within one year, all wings of Capital Development Authority shall be transferred to the MCI except …Chairman Secretariat; Planning Wing; and Estate Wing,” read the ordinance.

It stated that the administration and finance wings of the CDA would be partially transferred to the Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI), subject to the notification of the government in light of the Capital Development Authority Ordinance, 1960.

It further stated that the CDA shall remain the custodian of its own land bank and other land transferred by the federal government and shall develop the same as prescribed by the government or decided by the CDA Board.

The ordinance went on to say that for purposes of continuity the ongoing projects being executed or implemented through the CDA shall be completed by the civic authority.

The new Act also stated that majority of departments of the ICT administration will be devolve to the MCI, including the Labour Department, Auqaf Department, Civil Defense Department, Food Department, Zakat and Ushr Department, Agriculture Department, Livestock and Dairy Development, Water Management Department, Soil Conservation Department and Fisheries Department.

The Act said all employees who were serving in the CDA, ICT administration and MCI and transferred to the corporation as mentioned in the provisions of this Ordinance shall be regularised by the mayor in the manner prescribed by the MCI under this Ordinance.

“The civil servants or who opt for such employment shall be subject to the terms and conditions of employment as may be prescribed including but not limited to their service structure, promotion and disciplinary matters. Such opting employees shall be entitled to all post-retirement benefits and emolument as per existing rules and policy,” the Act said.

It further said: “CDA shall be custodian of Master Plan of ICT approved by the government from time to time in the preview of local government Islamabad and all kinds of development works in Islamabad shall be carried out by the local government Islamabad excluding ongoing projects being executed/implemented through CDA and any such work to be carried out in CDA and other government entities’ acquired land.”

It is relevant to note here, the term of local government ended in February this year and elections were supposed to be held within 120 days. However, it could not be held on time.

The ECP, however, issued schedule for delimitation of constituencies/wards and the final list of constituencies will be published on Feb 3.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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