Islamabad - Some 650 newly-elected chairmen and members of 50 union councils (UCs) of Islamabad yesterday sworn in with pledge that they will strengthen democracy through good governance.

The members also pledged to strengthen participatory and transparent decision-making and effective delivery of services to the voters. These members were elected on November 30 as a result of the first-ever local bodies’ election across the capital. All the members are elected for a five-year term commencing from the date of taking oath. The elected chairmen of the UCs, by virtue of their office, are also the members of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (MC). The oath-taking ceremony was held here at Jinnah Convention Centre with hundreds of supporters of the elected representatives also sitting in the guest lobbies of the central hall.

When District and Sessions Judge Nisar Baig started administrating oath from general councillors, youth, women, non-Muslim and workers representatives, they objected to the language of oath that was English. It was pointed out by a councillor and was supported by all the elected members. The councillor said the Supreme Court had recently directed the government to adopt Urdu language as Pakistan’s official language. However, the judge said at the moment, he could not do anything as they had been provided the copies of oath in English language. Due to the issue, the oath taking proceedings remained suspended for a while but resumed later and concluded smoothly.

With the oath-taking ceremony, first part of the local government elections has been completed. Now, elections to the formation of the Metropolitan Corporation, which will run the affairs of the city with an elected mayor as its head, will be held soon. The 50 elected chairmen will form an electoral college to further elect 16 members on reserved seats to form 66-member Metropolitan Corporation. With the election on reserved seats, the 66-member Metropolitan Corporation will vote to elect a mayor and three deputy mayors for the city.

Speaking to media after the ceremony, Raja Wahid Kiyani, chairman UC-5 (Kot Hathiyal-South) said due to absence of local government system in Islamabad, the city’s rural areas lag far behind from the urban Islamabad in terms of development and provision of sufficient civic facilities. He said the elected representatives of rural Islamabad have now an opportunity to bridge this gap.

Chaudhry Naeem Gujjar, chairman UC-30 (sector G-7), said residents have elected their representatives to make Islamabad a model city.