By Asim Shahzad “
“It is commendable that women representation in local government institutions has been enhanced and set at up to 33 percent, in different Local bodies tiers under the latest Punjab Local Govt. Act 2022, however, it is sad to note that it is just 20 percent at UC level.”
The reserve seats for youth and differently able persons at different tiers also welcomed. Punjab government should introduce amendments in PLGA2022 fixing 33% women representation at all levels of LGIs, which should be increased gradually to 50%.
The reserve seat candidates must be given opportunity to contest elections directly as indirect mode of elections on reserve seats is against the spirit of democracy. The local govt. elections must be held at earliest”.
These views were expressed and demands were made by speakers and participants at “Local Govt. Convention – Women Representation and Participation”, organized by Women in Struggle for Empowerment (WISE) here Tuesday, at local hotel.
A large number of women political activists and ex lady councilors from different districts of Punjab joined the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Bushra Khaliq, Executive Director WISE, said Punjab is the last province to hold LG elections as rest of the three provinces have almost completed the process except Sindh where 2nd round of polls is awaited. The Punjab Govt. must gear up preparations for LG polls at earliest, she added.
Appreciating the govt. intention to increase women reserve seats up to 33%, she urged the govt, to fix 33% women representation at all levels of LGIs, which should be increased gradually to 50% in next two elections. Under the new law, the indirect mode of election on reserve seats is against the democratic culture.
The reserved seats should be directly elected by the residents, she demanded.
Zahid Islam, Local Govt. expert and Executive Director Sangat, addressing the participants said that indirect mode of elections on reserve seats is against the spirit of democracy.
The political parties be made bound to allocate at least 5% seats to women in their panels, he said. Talking about defection clause, he termed it positive adding that independent panels should be allowed to contest. He demanded to hold LG polls at soon as possible and compulsory training of the newly elected councilors is a must.
Majority of participants were of the view that independent candidates should be allowed to contest there should honorarium of minimum Rs. 25,000 for reserve seat .