The second consultation of the ‘Consultations and Research on Local Governance in Punjab’ project was held at the Centre for Public Policy & Governance (CPPG), Forman Christian College University on the 18th and 19th of September, 2019. A collaborative project between Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and CPPG, the consultations aim to initiate a constructive dialogue with various stakeholders to strengthen the local government system in the Punjab province.
Former elected local representatives from various districts of Punjab were invited to share their experiences and lessons learned under the PLGA 2013. More than twenty representatives, including Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Chairmen District Councils and Union Councils as well as members elected on women, youth and minority reserved seats engaged in a lively discussion to identify constraints to service delivery, accountability and political participation and highlighted issues for reform and change which might be taken up by the government.
Mr. Shahid Zaman Lak, Additional Secretary Local Government & Community Development Department (LG&CDD), inaugurated the consultation and highlighted the contrast between the PLGA 2013 and PLGA 2019 in an engaging dialogue with former elected representatives. Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Founding Director and Professor, CPPG welcoming the elected officials pointed out the importance of local governance and the crucial role of elected officials and political parties in making the bureaucratic system work for the people. Mr. Sanjeev Pokharel, Head of Programme of LoGo, GIZ, appreciated CPPG’s efforts in providing a neutral academic platform where diverse local government stakeholders with opposing perspectives confidently debated the state of local governments in Punjab.
The broad consensus of the consultation was to enhance the legislative and financial autonomy of the local government, to legislate dual vote for the minorities, and to align the local governments tenure with federal and provincial governments’ tenure.