Convention speakers call for early LG polls

Our Correspondent
Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

LAHORE: It is appreciable that the government has enhanced women representation in different tiers of local government institutions to 33% under the latest Punjab Local Govt. Act 2022.

Speakers expressed these views at ‘Local Govt Convention – Women Representation and Participation’, organised by Women in Struggle for Empowerment (WISE) here at a local hotel on Tuesday. A large number of women political activists and former female councilors from different districts of Punjab joined the event.

The speakers noted that the women representation is only 20% at union council level. They welcomed reserved seats for youth and differently-able persons at different tiers. They demanded that the Punjab govt should introduce amendments in PLGA 2022, fixing 33% women representation at all levels of Local Govt Institutions (LGIs), which should be increased gradually to 50%. The reserve seat candidates must be given opportunity to contest elections directly as indirect mode of elections on reserve seats is against the spirit of democracy, they said.

The local govt elections must be held at the earliest, they demanded. Speaking on the occasion, Bushra Khaliq, Executive Director WISE, said Punjab is the last province to hold LG elections as rest of the three provinces have almost completed the process except Sindh where 2nd round of polls is awaited.

The Punjab govt must gear up preparations for LG polls at earliest, she added. Zahid Islam, Executive Director Sangat, said that the political parties be made bound to allocate at least 5% seats to women in their panels, he said. Meanwhile, South Asia Partnership Pakistan and Aurat Foundation under JAMHOORIAT AUR BA-IKHTIÁR AURAT (JAZBA Program) organised a political dialogue at a local hotel. South Asia Partnership Pakistan Executive Director M Tahseen, Ms Mahim Qadir (Deputy Director Monitoring ECP), Nadeem Ashraf (Commissioner National Commission for Human Rights Punjab), Zahid Islam (Executive Director Sangat Foundation), Ms. Bushra Khaliq (Executive Director Wise Organisation, Social Worker Suleiman Abid, PUJ Vice President Amir Sohail, Irfan Mufti (Deputy Director SEP-Pakistan) and workers belonging to political parties, lawyers, journalists and people from various schools of thought attended the dialogue.

The participants said that political parties must play their part in holding peaceful elections in Pakistan. In the current situation, the promotion of a peaceful political culture is very important and for this, civil society should also play its role.

In addition, the role of the Election Commission of Pakistan is very important to implement the existing laws to take action against all candidates and political parties that are violating the law. The rule of law is very important.