LAHORE - Punjab Finance Minister Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari on Friday said that Punjab government had given a new local government system in the light of suggestions of civil society which would strengthen the foundations of democracy in Pakistan. Addressing a press conference here, he said that under this local government system, powers and authorities would be transferred to the people in true sense, adding that democrats have strong reservations about the way in 2019 and 2021 laws were introduced. Punjab Ministers Malik Ahmad Khan and Attaullah Tarar were also present on the occasion. He said that these laws were introduced in an undemocratic manner without consulting civil society, political parties or relevant stakeholders, while Punjab Local Government Act 2022 had been prepared in the light of consultation with the stakeholders and feedback received from the public. Explaining the details of Punjab Local Government Act 2022, the provincial minister said that five major cities including Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi while four divisional headquarters Sargodha, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan would have nine metropolitan corporations whereas 14 new municipal corporations and 234 municipal committees would be formed. He said that the provincial departments of primary health, primary education, social welfare, family planning, sports, transport, civil defense, public health, arts and culture and tourism had been transferred to district level local govts. “To ensure good governance and strong check and balance, the system of councils had been restored at all levels of local govts in accordance with the parliamentary democratic structure of Pakistan.” He said that defection clause had been introduced to strengthen the political parties and discourage horse trading.
, adding that the heads will be elected and removed through show of hands according to the provincial and national legislature.
He said that in the first two years, 26 percent of the General Revenue Receipts and after the third year, 28 percent of the GRR (approximately Rs55 billion) would be transferred to local government directly. He said that the representation of women members in the higher ranks of local government would be up to 33 percent while there would be reserved seats for youth in all levels of the local government. He said that a district municipal forum would be set for promotion of collective efforts of police, civil administration, local government and other government institutions, adding that the heads of local governments will be able to form cabinets.
Leghari said that the Punjab government had given a local body system under which representatives of more than 50,000 people will govern rather 15 or 20 people to govern. He said that he would soon ensure the formation of local governments and strengthen the South Punjab Secretariat.
Provincial Law Minister Malik Ahmad Khan said that strong sanitation system would be introduced in Punjab. He said that Punjab government had removed 11 toll plazas set up in 2019 which was a big step of the government.