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Dawn News - 8 days ago

Bilawal urges bars to strive for rule of law, human rights

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has urged the lawyers and their representative bodies to play their role to promote human rights and rule of law and constitution in the country “as it is the only way to resolve the issues being faced by the nation”. Talking to a delegation of the newly-elected members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) led by its president Syed Qalbe Hassan at Zardari House here on Wednesday, the PPP chairman said that every state institution — including parliament, judiciary and armed forces — should work within their domain as given in the Constitution. Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PPP was striving for the rule of law and constitution in the country, and asked bar councils to play their role in this regard because this was the only way to deal with the problems faced by the people. Local bodies in Punjab dissolved through ‘undemocratic means’, insists PPP leader The SCBA office-bearers thanked Mr Bhutto-Zardari for his party’s support in the recently-held elections of the bar association. Suspended LG representatives Meanwhile, a delegation comprising representatives of the dissolved local governments (LGs) in Punjab also called on the PPP chairman. Talking to the removed local government representatives from Lahore, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Multan and Rawalpindi, he alleged that the local bodies had been dissolved by the government through “undemocratic means.” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the local governments in Hyderabad and Karachi were headed by anti-PPP parties, but the PPP government in Sindh did not interfere in their affairs. On the other hand, he added, “Imran Khan – a ‘selected’ and weak prime minister – does not tolerate political opposition”. PPP leaders Nayyar Bukhari, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Chaudhry Manzoor were also present at the meeting. The opposition parties through a declaration issued after the multi-party conference (MPC) hosted by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) in Islamabad, had also condemned the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for its decision to dissolve the local governments in Punjab and for delaying the new elections. Sources said that it was at the behest of the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that the issue of the local governments’ dissolution was included in the MPC’s declaration since most of these local bodies representatives in Punjab belonged to the PML-N, the previous ruling party at the Centre and the province. The sources said that the opposition parties had decided to highlight the issue of the suspension of the local bodies in Punjab and delay in LG elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during its anti-government protest campaign. Recently speaking at a news conference in Lahore, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal had requested the Supreme Court to restore local bodies’ representatives in Punjab as “52 per cent population of the country is deprived of representation”. Mr Iqbal had alleged that the Imran Khan government had targeted the PML-N and deprived Punjab of local bodies’ representation. “The PTI government did so to take revenge from the people of Punjab for voting for the PML-N,” Mr Iqbal said. “We request the Supreme Court and the [Lahore] high court to take notice of suspension of the local bodies and order its restoration. It was in May this year that about 58,000 local bodies’ representatives in Punjab were sent packing after the governor signed the Punjab Local Government Bill-2019. The whole set- up was handed over to the bureaucrats and since then commissioners and deputy commissioners have been posted as administrators of local bodies. Mr Iqbal said that the ‘credit’ for depriving 52pc of the country’s population of local representatives went to the PTI government. Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2019

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