LAHORE: The PML-N said on Friday it would move court if the Punjab government held the local government polls through an ordinance.

“The PTI Punjab government is working on holding the local government election in the province through an ordinance. The PTI gives no importance to parliament,” PML-N Punjab general secretary Awais Leghari told a press conference here.

He said the powers of the town and municipal committees were being curtailed. If a law was passed (in the Punjab Assembly), the powers of both the committees could not be restored, he added.

Leghari said if the local polls were to be held through an ordinance, then what would be the use of the standing committee working on it and its recommendations. “If the government tries to bypass the assembly and hold local government elections through the ordinance, we will move court,” the PML-N leader warned.

He said the PTI would face historic defeat in the local polls in Punjab including Mianwali, the hometown of the prime minister. The people would take revenge from Imran Khan and his party for making their lives miserable through unbridled inflation and price hike.

“We strongly condemn the huge increase in petroleum prices which has caused an increase in the prices of other commodities,” he said and added the party lawmakers might hold protests in and outside the assembly over increase in petroleum prices.

The PML-N has already declared that it would not agree on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the local government election likely to be held in May this year.

“No test and trial of EVMs has taken place as yet. Who will guarantee transparency in the local polls under EVMs? We reject the proposed condition of the use of EVMs,” PML-N Punjab information secretary Azma Bokhari had earlier said and added her party would not allow the PTI government to steal the local polls.

The PML-N said if local government powers were to be given to the chief minister, ministers and secretaries, there was no point in holding the local polls in the province.

The bill has proposed the election of the UCs and mayors while the opposition wants restoration of a three-tier system – UCs, MCs (municipal corporations) and mayors. The opposition believes that the new two-tier (UC and mayor) system will reduce the urban representation in the local governments.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2022

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