LAHORE   -   The second consultation of the ‘Consultations and Research on Local Governance in Punjab’ project was held at the Centre for Public Policy & Governance (CPPG), Forman Christian College University, on September 18-19.

A collaborative project between Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and CPPG, the consultations aim to initiate a constructive dialogue with various stakeholders to strengthen the local government system in the Punjab province. Former elected local representatives from various districts of Punjab were invited to share their experiences and lessons learned under the PLGA 2013.

More than 20 representatives, including mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen of district councils and union councils and members elected on seats reserved for women, youth and minorities engaged in a lively discussion to identify constraints to service delivery, accountability and political participation. They highlighted issues for reform and change that might be taken up by the government.

Shahid Zaman Lak, additional secretary for the Local Government and Community Development Department (LG&CDD), inaugurated the consultation and highlighted the contrast between the PLGA 2013 and PLGA 2019 in an engaging dialogue with former elected representatives. Dr. Saeed Shafqat, founding director and professor of CPPG, welcomed the elected officials and pointed out the importance of local governance and the crucial role of elected officials and political parties in making the bureaucratic system work for people.

Sanjeev Pokharel, head of programme of LoGo, GIZ, appreciated CPPG’s efforts in providing a neutral academic platform where diverse local government stakeholders with opposing perspectives confidently debated the state of local governments in Punjab. The broad consensus of the consultation was to enhance the legislative and financial autonomy of the local government, to legislate dual vote for the minorities and to align the local governments’ tenure to federal and provincial governments’ tenure.