PPP concerned about local govt changes
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) expressed concern at reports indicating that the government was planning to reduce female union council seats from 21 to 13 as well as other seats throughout the country.
“Such a move will affect the representation of disadvantaged societal groups including women, labourers and peasants,” said Senator Farhatullah Babar, PPP spokesman, in a statement on Tuesday. Although the percentage of seats would remain unchanged their representation in absolute terms would drastically decrease, he said. If the plans are implemented, the estimated number of women’s seats will fall from 40,000 to 9,000.
The government had previously announced to hold local elections on a party basis but had now decided to have non-party elections, he said, adding that the reversal had exposed the vulnerability of the ruling party.
“The desire of the ruling party to monopolise power is having a detrimental affect on Pakistan’s journey from military dictatorship to civilian rule,” he observed. Senator Babar said despite manipulation, the government was finding it difficult to control union councils. In light of this, the government had decided to reduce their strength in the hope of manipulating truncated union councils, he said. The government is also planning to change the Electoral College system. Under the plan, the Electoral College for electing district nazims would be reduced from 2,100 to 140.
The PPP said this was being done to manipulate the elections of district nazims. “The PPP is alarmed that the country’s leaders are tinkering with its political institutions,” he said. nni