PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Local Bodies Inayatullah Khan Wednesday told the provincial assembly that local bodies elections are likely to be held in December this year as the draft of the new Local Government Bill is ready and after its approval by the cabinet, it maybe passed in the current session.
The KPK Assembly met with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair. The Local Bodies Minister Inayatullah Khan while replying to the queries raised by opposition lawmakers during the Question Hour session said that draft of new local bodies system has been finalised and after completion of the legal proceeding, it will be approved by cabinet and later be passed by the KPK Assembly.
He said that the next local bodies elections are likely to be held in December this year. “From my side every thing is final,” he told the House, adding the proposed draft of local bodies’ bill maybe tabled in the current session of the assembly.
He said that the draft of the bill has been prepared by the Working Group established for Local Government. He however said that elections for Village Council would be on non-party basis while the elections for local tehsils and district level would be on party basis.
He said that timeline for holding local bodies polls was given by the Supreme Court but the Election Commission has expressed inability. He said after the enactment of new LB Act a period of 40 days will be required for delimitation of the wards, which is followed by appeals in this regard.
The lawmakers also raised question about the poor performance of public health engineering department. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) MPA Muzaffar Syed said that drinking water schemes initiated during the period of MMA were still incomplete.
He said that millions of rupees have been spent on these schemes but the concerned officials are not accelerating the pace of work on them.
Mufti Said Janan of JUI-F said that a huge amount of the national kitty has been spent on such schemes therefore it should be referred to the standing committee concerned. However, when the chair announced the referring of the matter to the standing committee, PPP’s parliamentary leader Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha asked about the very existence of such committee, adding that they have never been consulted on the formation of standing committees.
KPK Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said that the formation of the standing committees of the House has been completed in consultation with the opposition and would be announced shortly. Asad said that standing committees have been finaliSed in consultations with the parliamentary leaders of opposition parties. The speaker said that all parliamentary leaders were sent letters for seeking their input. However, on pinpointing, he said that he would look into the matter.
Meanwhile, the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa unanimously adopted two bills, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Explosives Bill, 2013 and The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Explosives Substances Bill, 2013. Later the Speaker adjourned the session till Thursday (Today) 3pm.
Meanwhile, representatives of a civil society organisation have demanded of the government to hold Local Bodies Elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas on parties’ basis and urged government to share the amended draft with relevant stakeholders to remove their concerns prior to table it in the provincial assembly.
Speaking at a news conference here at press club, the Umar Asghar Khan Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Programme Director Rashida Dohad said the government should not hurriedly present and pass the local government (LG) bill from the provincial assembly, rather it need to share the amended copy of the proposed draft bill with relevant stakeholders to remove their concerns and implications.
She asked the government to incorporate recommendations and proposals of social society organisations in the LG draft bill that would make it more effective in enactment to address issues of the masses at grass-root level.
Flanked by members of the Aman Itehad, Maryam Bibi, Dr Sarfraz, Mukhtar Bacha, Gul Rehman, Dohad informed that her organisation proposed certain recommendations to incorporate in the LG draft bill. In this connection, she said that her organisation had arranged several consultative meetings in Hazara, Malakand, D.I Khan and Peshawar get feedback and proposals on the provincial government plan and strategy about the local bodies’ elections in the province.
She also proposed 33 per cent seats quota for female, 10 per cent for youth, five per cent each for labour, farmer, and minorities. “It is need to establish directorate of elections for local bodies polls at all level while elections should be held on parties basis in district, tehsil, and province except village council and flour crossing law should implement,” she suggested.
Dohad also proposed there should be three autonomous categories at village, tehsil and district level, wherein all required administrative set up and support could be ensured. To keep transparency and fairness in distribution of funds, she said a provincial finance commission needed to be constituted on pattern of National Finance Commission (NFC), while the establishment of District Finance Commission and implementation would be responsibility of the elected members of provincial assembly and their monitoring.
She said the involvement of MPAs in district level development projects should be restricted while two members from ruling and opposition should nominate for the district finance commission.
“The district ombudsmen system should also be strengthened to address weakness and irritants in the local governments system,” she proposed.