PML-N and MQM-P eye maximum electoral gains in Sindh, strong local governments

PML-N and MQM-P eye maximum electoral gains in Sindh, strong local governments


Ahsan Iqbal promises financial independence as visiting delegation hands over bill to empower LGs

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ISLAMABAD (Dunya News/News Desk) – With the electioneering gaining momentum with each passing day and both the PML-N and MQM-P developing a close understanding, Ahsan Iqbal, who is the secretary-general of his party, promised constitutional guarantees for financial independence of local governments.

He also said the two parties would work together to secure as many seats possible from Sindh – the last stronghold of the PPP, as the PML-N and the MQM-P with the support of other political forces are eyeing a strong say in the province’s affairs.

They also talked about strengthening the local government system comes as the MQM-P – a party which is based in urban centres of Sindh, especially Karachi – is pressing ahead with its old and basic demand.

It represents those voices which feel that the PPP has been ignoring the cities and the people living there intentionally – a viewpoint that has been further fuelled by the PPP’s performance while managing the province for three terms since 2008.

As the two sides held talks on Wednesday, the MQM-P delegation – comprising Dr Farooq Sattar, Aminul Haq, and Mustafa Kamal – presented a draft bill to the PML-N, which seeks constitutional amendments to empower the local governments politically, financially, and administratively.

The PML-N was represented by central leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Khawaja Saad Rafique as well as Bashir Memon, who is now the head of party’s provincial chapter in Sindh.

Addressing a joint press conference, Ahsan Iqbal said, “We will pass a constitutional amendment through the next parliament, ensuring that local governments do not rely on the mercy of provincial governments and have constitutional cover.”

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sattar said the PML-N was fully satisfied with the gist of the bill and they would also present the draft bill to other political parties to seek a consensus on the issue.

The draft bill prepared by the MQM-P envisions strong local governments across Pakistan. It calls for directly transferring to the local governments 70 per cent of a province’s share in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award or any sum payable to the province through the Federal Consolidated Fund or public account.

Moreover, subjects like urban planning, education, health, infrastructure, environmental protection, agriculture, and taxation are to be devolved to the local government level.