–New wave of union, district council chairmen expected to join ruling PTI
–Sources say defections anticipated following Aleem Khan’s assurance of returning local govt representatives their powers
–Mayor says PTI government can take ‘U-turn’ on its promises anytime
LAHORE: With the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) promising authority and funds to the chairmen of district and union councils across Punjab, elected local government representatives of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have started jumping ships, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, defection season for the PML-N began when Lahore Deputy Mayor Waseem Qadir announced joining the PTI. “It was added to by at least 13 district council chairmen also joining the ruling PTI,” they said while speaking of the blows that the former ruling PML-N has recently received at the district and union council levels.
Sources said that the present district and union council assemblies had a lot of time to complete their constitutional tenure and the ruling PTI also wanted that the assemblies completed their legal term.
“The chairmen from various other district and union councils of Punjab have also contacted Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, who assured to return them their authority and funds,” they said.
When asked about the identities of the chairmen who plan to join the ruling party, sources said they did not want to be named as of yet as all the chairmen wanted to settle their unfinished businesses first and later make the announcement themselves.
Sources were of the view that during the tenure of the PML-N government, the chairmen from different district and union councils were usually seen protesting while demanding funds and authority, but now they had been assured by the senior minister that PTI government would empower them as they were in military dictator Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf’s regime.
“Unless there is an amendment in the law, no powers can be given to anyone at any level,” Lahore lord mayor said while talking to Pakistan Today.
He said that a union council chairman is given Rs300,000 per month out of which he has to pay his staff and accomplish other tasks as well. “So unless the local government act of 2013 is amended, no additional power can be conferred upon any chairman.”
“The government is fooling the masses with its claims and I suggest those who wish to join the ruling party that they for once consider their decisions. If there is a change in the delegation of powers, it will be implemented all over Punjab and only a few cannot benefit from it.”
Moreover, the new government can take a “U-turn” on its promises anytime, he said.
Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, on the other hand, said that a uniform policy for all was being prepared and people were joining the PTI due to the discriminatory behaviour of the PML-N.
“They did not empower the chairmen, but we will do so by amending the act,” he said and added that a new era of development and success has begun under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The new local government system in Punjab will bring about a revolution in 25,000 villages simultaneously,” the minister said.