LAHORE - The ruling party’s candidates for Local Bodies elections are enjoying the status and powers of ‘elected representatives’ by marking development schemes for their concerned Union Councils so that they could win hearts of voters.

As public announcement of any new development scheme and release of funds for its completion may result in disqualification of the PML-N candidates - because of violation of Code of Conduct given by the Election Commission - the provincial government has directed the district and town administrations to give priority to the schemes proposed by the ruling party’s candidates, sources have told The Nation.

In order to provide better support to the PML-N nominated candidates in the LB polls, completion of ongoing projects and proposed development projects in their respective UCs is priority of the MPs, said the sources in City District Government Lahore (CDGL).

Although there is no record or data of any new development project which has been launched by the government after announcing the date of elections, the probability of new projects to be announced by the PML-N leadership for giving favour to their candidates from its discretionary or secret funds can not be overlooked.

Sources said that the CDGL is working on over 500 ongoing miscellaneous and different development schemes in the provincial capital while their number may increase up to 5000 approximately once the district and towns’ administrations would start giving priority to the proposed schemes of the candidates and MPs.

Among these development schemes, construction and repair of streets, roads and sewerage system, installation of water filtration plants, maintaining water supply lines, and installation of street lights are included.

For executing work on the proposed development schemes, the government allocated huge amount of more that one billion rupees initially, which may increase if the government ever feel that such amount is insufficient for the completion of such development projects.

Sources claimed that that the Punjab government had earlier asked the MPs to prepare and submit development schemes for the UCs in their constituencies. The PML-N leadership also directed the MNAs and MPAs elected from Lahore and other districts of Punjab to use all available resources through district and town administrations for better election campaigns, the sources added.

This means the ruling party wants to give maximum support to its nominated candidates with the help of elected representatives.

On the other hand, opposition candidates for the seat of chairman in different UCs have alleged that all the town administrations are giving full support to the PML-N candidates.

The main contender, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), claims that the complete staff of town administration - from sweeper to secretaries - are working in on the discretion of PML-N candidates. “This ‘pre-poll rigging’ is clear violation of the code of conduct of Election Commission of Pakistan,” PTI says.

Ban on firearms in first phase

of polls

The provincial government has decided to put a ban on display and carrying of firearms in 12 districts of the province in the first phase of local bodies’ elections.

Imposed under Section 144, the ban will be applicable on October 30, 31 and November 1. Carrying of licensed weapons will also not be allowed.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, presiding over a meeting yesterday, directed that foolproof security arrangements should be made in the first phase of local bodies’ elections. He ordered that the ban on firearms display should be strictly implemented for ensuring a peaceful atmosphere and indiscriminate action be taken in case of violation.

“Upholding of law and justice is the prime responsibility of police and administration,” said the chief minister who directed that police and administration to ensure strict implementation of security plan evolved for the protection of life and property of citizens.

Shhbaz Sharif further ordered the police to pursue indiscriminate action against the elements who would resort to aerial firing on their victory in elections. He said that the officers should work as a team and vigorous action should also be taken against the miscreants.