ISLAMABAD: A conference has demanded that the proposed local bodies system for Islamabad should be according to the aspirations of its citizens and recommendations of the stakeholders concerned and a comprehensive consultative process may be incorporated for its further improvement.
This was demanded by the participants of a consultation on draft Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill-2013. The event was organised by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and the United National Development Programme (UNDP) at a local hotel. The event was attended by political leaders, civil society representatives, academics, technical experts, citizens and other relevant stakeholders.
The participants demanded local bodies election on party basis, a uniform system and equal opportunities for inhabitants of the rural and urban areas of Islamabad. They also called for an effective representation of women (33%), youth and minorities (5%) and disabled (1%), spending of income generated through GST on services for welfare of Islamabad’s citizens, empowerment of local government to collect property tax, review of Islamabad’s master plan as per the growing needs of the citizens and an effective and strong local government structure to address the problems of citizens of Islamabad.
Centre for Civic Education Pakistan Executive Director Zafarullah Khan informed the consultation that a ruling by the Supreme Court has led to the revival of the local government system in Pakistan, with all the provinces developing local government legislation. It was noted that an accountable local government system for Islamabad has been overdue as the capital’s population has remained un-represented at the local level since its birth.
Aftab Alam shed light over salient features of the 64-page proposed act. Senator Professor Saeeda Iqbal of PPP, Dr Shahzad Waseem of PTI, Rizwan Sadiq of PML-Q, Syed Ibrar Rizvi of PPP and Chaudhry Shafique also spoke on the occasion. They said that the representatives of ten political parties had already met and all were of the similar view on local bodies elections in Islamabad, as they wanted its residents to get an opportunity to get their problems resolved at grass roots level.
They demanded that the right of oversight should rest with the elected public representatives from Islamabad in National Assembly and the Senate. The participants also agreed to form a committee that would deliberate on the proposed local bodies act, invite written suggestions from citizens of Islamabad so that the recommendations may be incorporated in the act.
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