LAHORE  -    Speakers at a conference on Saturday called for due share of women in the new LG system

An NGO, Women in Struggle for Empowerment, organised the conference titled ‘New Local Govt Law and Women Representation’ at a local hotel. A good number of former women councillors and LG members from different districts including Nankana Sahib and Sheikhupura participated in the event.

The participants raised the demand for amendment to Punjab Local Government Act 2019 to increase women representation to 33 percent through reserve seats. They also demanded the government ensure inclusion of youth by decreasing the age limit for candidates from 25 to 21 years. They said: “New Local Government Act 2019 decreased ratio of women reserve seats while age limit for candidates has been increased from 21 to 25 years.  The speakers said women were 49 percent of population but ratio of their representation at local level is not more 16 percent.  In Musharraf era women representation was 33 percent and the gradual decrease negated the government’s commitments under United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number 5, the said.

The speakers said LG elections under new law should be held within a year after the promulgation of the Law as promised in new Act.  “Representation of workers or peasants has been eliminated,’ they said.   LG expert Zahid Islam said: “Real power is concentrated with the provincial government instead of local government institutions which negates the real spirit of article 140-A and article 32 of constitution.”