LAHORE: The Punjab Local Government and Community Development Department has failed to propose amendments to the existing local government act within 15 days as assigned by Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz.

She had constituted a 20-member committee convened by Local Government Minister Zeeshan Rafique on April 26 with instructions to deliberate upon the Punjab Local Government Act [PLGA] 2022 and propose amendments to it to pave way for the next local government elections.

The committee was instructed to complete the assigned task within 15 days and present its recommendations to the chief minister accordingly.

“A full month has passed and the committee is still holding meetings. It is yet to finalise its recommendations,” a committee member told Dawn, requesting anonymity.

The Punjab government is facing pressure from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to finalise the local government law and hold local government elections at the earliest.

It is learnt that the ECP too had summoned local government department secretary Mian Shakeel Ahmad and asked him to expedite the homework for the holding of local government elections.

It is also learnt that the ECP had also told the Punjab government that it would not be possible to procure the electronic voting machines (EVMs) to use in the upcoming local government elections.

The use of EVMs was proposed by the former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government in 2022.

Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s constituted committee members include schools education minister Rana Sikandar Hayat and 14 MPAs: Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain Chhachhar, Salman Naeem, Muhammad Ahmad Khan Leghari, Ghazali Saleem Butt, Ziaullah Shah, Amjad Ali Javed, Sardar Muhammad Asim Sher Maken, Ahmed Iqbal, Ghazanfar Abbas Cheena, Raees Nabeel, Raja Muhammad Aslam Khan, Ghulam Murtaza, Kanwal Pervaiz Chaudhry and Salma Butt.

Punjab LG&CD Department Secretary Mian Shakeel Ahmad is acting as a member and secretary to the committee and also ensures administrative and secretariat support to the committee. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department Secretary Asif Bilal Lodhi as well as advocates Moazzam Ali Shah and Usama Khawar Ghumman are also members of the committee. The local governments’ elections are due in the province for the past several years.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2024

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