Elected representatives of the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) have almost distanced themselves from the affairs of the city despite the restoration of the local government system in Punjab.
Following the apex court’s decision, Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem Khan had organised meetings of elected representatives in the corporation’s building. He also broke the locks of the mayor’s office to take possession of the room, while the other elected representatives also entered different offices and the committee room.
The mayor had also announced they would hold a meeting with local representatives after every 15 days.
The elected representatives and the mayor have restarted political activities as their protest did not bear fruit, as the bureaucracy has not budged to their demands.
Chairmen of different union councils (UCs) have been instructed to increase their connections with the people, especially those who have influence in their respective areas for the next local government elections.
Three chairmen of the PPP and two of the PTI have demanded that the situation of ambiguity be resolved at the earliest. PTI UC Chairman Azhar Iqbal Satti has demanded the restoration of local bodies several times.
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As development schemes worth more than Rs1 billion have come to a standstill because of the ambiguity. A budget of Rs2.5 billion was also earmarked for new RMC development schemes in the current financial year. However, none of them has been finalised, which has increased the difficulties of the masses.
RMC Chief Officer, Ali Abbas, said that the development projects have been halted. He said that they have not received any instructions from Lahore regarding the restoration of elected representatives. He said that all instructions in this regard will be followed.
RMC Mayor Sardar Naseem could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Sources in RMC said that it is not clear if the existing elected members will be restored or there will be new elections.
They said that the renovation of the new assembly hall is underway under a contract awarded for the tenure of the previous government.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2021.