Financially, administratively empowered LG system demanded in Azad Kashmir.

ISLAMABAD -- Over 40 elected councillors along with civil society representatives have called for a financially and administratively empowered local government (LG) system in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). They have also urged the government to organise training and capacity-building workshops to enable councillors to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

These views were shared at a workshop organised by the Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), aimed to analyse needs of the recently-elected councillors.

In his speech, the executive director of the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) said that local government representatives have to play a crucial role in the fast-track development of AJK through their own innovative ideas rather than waiting for government support. He advised councillors to set measurable goals in the form of a five-year plan for their respective constituencies.

Public policy expert Dr Waqas Ali underlined the need to improve the empowerment component of elected officials so that they feel a sense of accountability as well as duty. Afraz Gardazi, an elected councillor from Bagh, said that people have attached huge expectations to elected representatives and we have to prove our leadership qualities by fulfilling the citizens' expectations.

Amir Khurshid, a councillor from Rawalakot, emphasised on the need to hold capacity-building workshops in all district headquarters of AJK to educate newly elected LG's councillors about laws and rules of business.

Speakers urge govt to organise training workshops for elected councillors

Mohammad Ramazan Chugtai, a councillor from Mirpur, said that people at the local level should be well informed about their rights, the local government's budget, and local development initiatives.

Dr Ishrat Sajjad said that women should be involved in the decision-making process and without their active participation, AJK cannot realise its true potential.

Amir Rafiq, a councillor from Rawalakot, lauded the AJK government for holding LG elections after a long break of 32 years. He hoped that all funds and powers will also be delegated to the councillors soon.

Abid Siddique, the chief editor of the Daily Dharti, advised LG councillors to improve their liaison with local authorities in order to complete current projects at a faster pace and avoid confrontational behaviour in the interest of their voters.

Rashid Afraz, a councillor from Rawalakot, highlighted the...

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