Monday, PM Imran Khan agreed to the proposed Local Government Act for Islamabad. Under the law, Islamabad will elect its mayor directly.
Planning Minister Asad Umar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Affairs Ali Nawaz Awan and Raja Khurram Nawaz, and CDA Chairman Amer Ali attended the meeting.
As per the proposed Local Government Act, the number of union councils will increase from the existing 50 to 100. PM Khan also said that under the new system, the local government should have maximum powers to resolve issues of the public.
During the meeting, the PM also stressed the need for a uniform system to regulate buildings in the federal capital. He directed the CDA to use modern technologies such as drone cameras to keep a check on encroachments.
The Federal Cabinet will review the proposed Local Government Act at today’s meeting.
According to media sources, PM Khan said that Islamabad should conduct local government elections as soon as possible.
In Nov 2015, Islamabad held its last local government elections. Following the elections, the mayor and deputy mayors belonging to the PML-N got elected in March 2016.
Read more: The end of PML-N and PPP
Local Government Act for Islamabad: Why now?
Last year, PM Khan termed the local governance system as revolutionary.
The process of direct elections will promote the development of the union councils and efficient allocation of the developmental funds. Islamabad can elect its own mayor through a direct election process. The mayor will then bring his/her own cabinet consisting of experts in town planning, funds allocation, and development.
The entire process will ensure that funds are not dissipated and efficiently allocated towards strategic development for uplifting the city.
PM Khan’s recent approval for a local government system for Islamabad comes after flash floods wreaked havoc in the capital.
Last month, a cloud burst triggered flash floods in Islamabad’s sector E-11. The floods caused severe damage to properties while cars and several motorcycles washed away. According to the media, two people also died due to the urban flooding.
Sheer mismanagement by E11 giving us this result. Second In a water starved country this God given water should have been saved but of course will be wasted due to lack of water harvesting policies. pic.twitter.com/0nM7YGFZhr
— Najma Minhas (@MinhasNajma) July 28, 2021
After investigation, reports stated that weak regulatory checks on housing societies by the civic agency and district administration caused the tragic incident in E-11.
There are many unauthorized high-rise buildings and several illegal cooperative housing schemes in E-11. However, CDA, which deals with such housing schemes, did not take any serious action against them.
Furthermore, governance is a huge challenge. This is due to the dismal response of the civil services which fails to address the public’s concerns. People are unable to solve their problems because of bureaucratic hurdles that slow down the process.