LAHORE  - The tiny joint opposition in the Punjab Assembly Monday, proposing 15 points to the provincial government for local government system, warned there would be a stiff resistance to the provincial rulers if they tried to impose the bureaucratic rule in the name of local governments.
The joint opposition, comprising PTI, PPP, PML-Q and JI, prepared 15 points for the local government system, demanding financial and administrative powers for the heads of the district governments.
Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, talking to media people, outside the provincial assembly along with PML-Q Deputy Parliamentary Leader Waqas Moqal and PPP’s Sardar Shahabuddin, claimed that true local governance could not be ensured without incorporating the opposition’s proposals in the local government law.
According to Mehmood, the 15-point proposals were a joint effort of the opposition, however, the only member of JI in the provincial assembly, Dr Waseem Akhtar, was not present on this occasion. Dr Waseem of JI, however, made the same demands during a separate media talk at the Lahore Press Club.
The PTI-led opposition proposed that local government elections should be held on party basis and there should be direct vote for all the offices.
The opposition recommended that delimitations for the local elections should be done by the Election Commission and not by the Punjab government.
Another proposal demands health, education, development, Wasa and LDA should fall under the authority of the district governments instead of the provincial government. Yet another recommendation demands withdrawal of the proposal that empowers the chief minister to suspend the head of a district government. The opposition also opposed restoration of the magisterial system, which would be tantamount to no-trust in the judiciary.
A recommendation of the opposition proposed that there should be a single system of local governments for urban and rural areas. Another proposal demanded that all the district governments should be given powers under Article 140 of the Constitution to constitute finance commission for equal and even distribution of development funds.
Meanwhile, JI Punjab Amir Dr Waseem Akhtar, briefing media people at the Lahore Press Club, demanded restoration of devolution plan of Pervez Musharraf by making necessary changes in it.
This demand surprised many as the party operating from Mansoora was on the forefront of all anti-Musharraf movements. He warned that JI would seek assistance of the court of law if the provincial government got the bill passed.
Acknowledging that Musharraf’s devolution plan had really transferred powers to the grassroots level, Dr Waseem said it was a feeling among the political lot during Musharraf regime that MNAs and MPAs should focus on the national and provincial legislations.
He claimed that the Punjab government’s proposed bill on local government was against the spirit of the Constitution according to Article 140 (F). He added that Article 140 (F) of the Constitution binds the provincial governments to give administrative and financial powers to the district governments.
Waseem proposed that local elections should be held under the computerised voter lists prepared by the Election Commission. The JI leader proposed constitution of an independent audit and accounts system for the local governments.