Says he is advising them not to expect the chairman to solve problems like electricity shortage.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) candidate for chairman Shafique Cheema says he is urging voters in union council no204 (Gulberg III) to scale down their expectations from the upcoming elected local government.
During a door-to-door walkabout in the UC that includes several kachi abadis near Firdous Market besides planned blocks of Gulberg III, Cheema, a PTI Lahore Labour Wing general secretary, says he is advising voters to not expect the chairmen to solve problems like shortage of electricity or public education and healthcare. “I tell them that the candidates may make tall promises but there’s only so much that can be done under the new local government law,” he says.
He says he himself has yet to figure out the extent of the authority vested in the office of the union council chairman.
Cheema, who owns a small business in the area, has listed allocation of land for graveyards and improvement of potable water quality as his priorities for the area. “I will try to solve the two issues at the earliest,” he says.
The UC is part of a National Assembly constituency (NA-126) won by PTI’s Shafqat Mahmood in 2013 general election. In UC 204 areas, however, Mahmood had trailed behind his PML-N rival.
It has pockets with population of Malik, Gujjar, Cheema and Arain biraderis. The latter are concentrated in Theh Pind and abadis near Firdous Market – a stronghold of PML-N contestant Mian Muhammad Aslam (an Arian himself). He owns a catering business in Firdous Market.
Aslam says he has thrice been elected as a general councillor from the PML-N platform. He mentions gas and potable water shortage and poor quality of sewerage system as problems he will look into if elected to the office.
An independent candidate, Dr Zakaullah Ghumman, is also in the run for the chairman’s seat. He says personal relations matter more than party affiliations in the local government elections.
Ghumman, who has a medical practice in the Model Colony and was elected nazim from the area in 2005, says he is well known to the residents and is confident that they will elect him again.
Besides Theh Pind and Model Colony, the UC also includes Makkah Colony and Ittehad Colony katchi abadis. Other areas in the UC are Falcon Complex and B, G, H, J and K blocks of Gulberg III.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.