ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the much-awaited Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill-2015, unanimously with amendments enacted by the Senate, to pave the way for holding local government elections in the Federal Capital on party basis for the first time in history of the country.
State Minister for Interior and Narcotic Control Baligur Rehman piloted the Bill. The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill-2015, has already been passed by the Senate.
The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill says that after having practiced the Local Government System introduced through the Federal Capital Local Govt. Ordinance 1979 till 1996 and lack of any local government system since then, there is a strong realization that urban and rural areas have been receiving disproportionate financial resources in disregard to the local needs of the particular areas.
This inequitable allocation of resources has led to inefficiencies in local governance and effective delivery of services, sought to be provided under the local governments and the Constitution.
Furthermore, in this age of specialization, it is strongly felt that the delivery of municipal services, both in urban and rural areas, require targeted focus involving specialized expertise, skills and professionalism so as to identify the local needs of people with sharp precision and meet them in full adherence to the corresponding inviolable rights of the people guaranteed under the Constitution.
Hence, in pursuance of Articles 32 of the Constitution and in line with the manifesto of the government, new local government system has been proposed to be established so that accountable individual local government is formed by empowering them to shoulder the political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority of the Government at local level through their elected representatives to ameliorate the sufferings and grievances of the general public.
Speaking in the House, Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said the government accepted all amendments, proposed by the Opposition in Senate, despite some reservations.
He said that there were difference over holding local bodies elections in the Capital on party basis.
He said that detailed deliberation was carried out on the bill in Senate and Senate Standing Committee.
Chaudhary Nisar said that credit went to all political parties to clear the way for holding of local bodies elections in Islamabad for the first time in country’s history.
He said all political parties have representation in the Senate and urged the lawmakers to pass the Bill without any further delay.
Rebutting the impression that only non-democratic governments held local bodies elections in the country, the Minister said that
PML-N, held local bodies elections during its all three tenures including 1987, 1991 and 1999 and now again local government election was being held in PML-N government tenure.
He said that local government elections were held by un-democratic regimes only to put off the general elections.
Earlier, moving the Bill, State Minister for Interior Balighur Rehman said that the Bill was passed by the National Assembly.
However, the Senate proposed certain amendments including holding election on party basis after thorough discussion and public hearings.
Speaking in the House, Asad Umar of PTI said that the Bill should be referred to the standing committee as there were some slightly drafting mistakes.
He said that the CDA would continue to carry out development work in the Capital under the proposed Bill. He said that administrative and financial authority should also be given to local bodies representatives.
Asif Hasnain of MQM said that his party had tabled local bodies elections Bill in the House and their recommendation should also be incorporated in it.
He said that powers should be given to the mayor and the local bodies should, not be under the control of the federal government. Local bodies bill should also be brought for FATA, he added.
Jamshaid Dasti said that power should be given to local bodies representatives and bureaucracy should be under the local government system.
Imran Zafar Laghari appreciated the local government system in the Capital but said that powers should be given to it. He said that the CDA should also be under control of Chairman local bodies.
Malik Ibrar of PML-N said that longstanding issues of the people would be addressed with introduction of the local bodies system.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi of PTI said that legislation should not be done in haste and it should be refereed to the committee.
Ghulam Sarwar, Shafqat Mehmood of PTI, Iqbal Muhammad Ali and Rehan Hashmi of MQM also called for giving more power to local bodies representatives. NNI