ISLAMABAD: After exactly two-and-a-half months of the local government (LG) elections in Islamabad, which were held on November 30, the crucial phase of electing mayor and three deputy mayors will be held today (Monday).
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and opposition Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as top two contenders for the slots of mayor and deputy mayors though the former is in a clear position to clinch the mayoral seat, keeping in view its numerical strength.
The 77-member Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation consisting of 50 elected chairmen of union councils and 27 members elected on reserved seats will elect mayor and three deputy mayors.
The PML-N has fielded Sheikh Ansar as candidate for the mayoral slot while the PTI eyes to grab the seat by putting weight behind its candidate Raja Khurram Nawaz. According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the polling will be held at Jinnah Convention Centre and the elections will be held through secret ballot. Polling will be held from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Out of the 50 elected chairmen, the PML-N enjoy support of 32 chairmen after winning loyalties of the non-partisan candidates while the PTI has rest of 18 chairman.
Nominees for deputy mayors from the ruling party are Chaudhry Riffat Javed, Syed Zeeshan Ali Naqvi and Muhammad Azam Khan, whereas PTI has chosen Fouzia Arshad, Raja Zulqarnain and Ali Nawaz Awan for the slots of deputy mayors. Going by the numerical strength of PML-N in the 77-member Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (the electoral college for the election of mayors), the PML-N has bright chances to elect its first ever mayor and rule the federal capital at grassroots level. It is to be mentioned here that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has already proposed the offices for the mayor and deputy mayors in its revenue buildings, (Iqbal Hall) and old Navel Headquarter.
The ECP has also issued the code of conduct for the exercise, barring federal executive authorities to influence election in favour of a particular candidate or a political party. The decision was taken to ensure that elections in Metropolitan Corporation are conducted fairly, said a spokesman for the ECP.
It directed all executive authorities in the federation not to use state resources in local government elections with the aim to influence elections in favour of a particular candidate or a political party. “If any person in government service misuses his official position in any manner in order to influence results of elections, he shall be liable to be proceeded against under Section 60 of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act, 2015,” the statement issued here said.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry who played active role to woo the independent elected chairman for enlarging the numerical strength for the ruling party said the PML-N will achieve clear majority in the election of mayor and deputy mayors for Islamabad.
The minister said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is taking keen interest in the development of the federal capital, adding Premier Sharif has allocated Rs 7 billion for up-gradation of 422 schools of Islamabad and 220 buses will also be provided to them.
After the elections of mayor and deputy mayors, the functions and liabilities of 13 directorates of Capital Development Authority (CDA) will be fully and of four partially transferred to the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC). Similarly, three departments of the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICT), including Civil Defence, Health Directorate and Local Governments, would also be shifted to the IMC, a CDA official said.
He said the CDA had 55 directorates. Thirteen of them, including sports and culture, civic management, water and sewerage, zoo and wildlife and water supply, Directortae of Municipal Administration, Emergency & Disaster Management, Rescue 1122, markets, street lights and road maintenance, revenue, health, environment wing and enforcement,would be completely devolved to the IMC.
Four directorates of Public Relations, Security, Human Resource Division, and Finance and Audit would be partially transferred to the
IMC, he added. The official said majority of CDA and ICT administration employees, who were currently working in these wings and directorates, would also be transferred to the IMC and the CDA would be responsible to pay their salaries for two years.