Federal LG ministry suggests postponement of LB elections
By Razzak Abro
KARACHI: The federal local government ministry has suggested to President General Pervez Musharraf to consider a demand for one-year extension in local bodies’ term.
According to federal minister of local government Abdul Razaque Thaheem, his ministry has made the suggestion in its comments sent to the president the previous Thursday as the latter had asked it.
Talking to the Daily Times on Monday from Islamabad, Mr Thaheem said his ministry had referred the demand for one-year extension in local bodies’ term, made at a naib nazims’ convention held on May 15 in Islamabad, to the president.
He said the president had also been suggested to consider the incomplete preparations in Sindh for holding the next local bodies elections before taking a final decision in this regard.
The minister referred to the creation of seven new districts and 14 talukas in Sindh and said administrative requirements had not yet been fulfilled in the newly-created districts and talukas.
According to him, delimitation work and appointment of sessions judges and officials were yet to be carried out in the new districts and talukas and elections could not be held without the appointment of sessions judges.
Mr Thaheem said his ministry had forwarded its comments. The president, was, however, empowered to take any decision.
More than 150 legislators from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League have also asked the president to postpone the upcoming local bodies elections.
According to sources, the PML legislators, including a number of federal cabinet ministers, had made this demand in a joint letter sent to the president recently.
They had demanded of the president to replace district nazims with administrators and had called for a “fair” audit to ascertain the “huge financial irregularities” in local council affairs.
They had claimed law and order in some districts and cities such as Karachi was not conducive to holding of local bodies elections before August 14 this year.
The legislators had also referred to the current hot weather as a reason for postponement of the elections, saying it could not be possible for the candidates to run their campaign in the simmering heat and the heat would also keep voters away.
Sources said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the PML’s top leadership were opposed to the idea of postponing the local government elections.
PML chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had recently said local bodies elections would be held on schedule and President Musharraf would not let the system fall apart.
A meeting, recently presided over by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, had discussed the upcoming local bodies elections. The prime minister had told reporters after the meeting that all coalition partners would follow a joint strategy with regard to the local bodies elections.