SAHIWAL-Speakers including lawyers, politicians, farmers and educationists at a citizen forum presented a 20-point charter of demand contacting the public problems across Punjab province.

The forum was aimed to lead the citizens to political parties for solution to their problems and including the same in the parties’ manifestos.

More than 300 people including students, lawyers, farmers, health, education experts and local government councillors attended the citizen forum. They asked political parties to create space for initiatives in development paradigm, improve governance structures, empowere local government, improve health and education sector by putting more public money and decentralise administrative, political and financial power to district and local government.

These demands were put forward to district representatives of seven leading political parties including PML-N, Pakistan People’s Party, PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, MQM and PML-Q. the citizens demanded the political leadership to ensure incorporation of the agenda into their parties’ manifesto before the general elections 2018. The forum was organised by Punjab Lok Sujag and FAFEN in collaboration with local civil society organisations.

Many forum participants asked question relating to micro and macro level development and asked political parties’ local heads to convey these aspirations to their top leadership. Najma, a pharmacist, said there is no dialogue between citizens and political parties. She argued this is why political parties’ manifestoes do not reflect genuine problems. Mr Wajid, a graduate student, pointed out that its duty of elected representatives and political parties to keep in contact with voters so citizen must be addressed at political forums and not at non-political forums. Those spoke on the occasion included district leaders of all the major political parties.