Mr Choudhary Sajjad Ahmad, a Pakistani local government official visiting Australia on a family visit called on AMUST offices and had a conversation with Zia Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of AMUST on the current situation of Pakistan.
Choudhary Sajjad Ahmad from Lahore is the Vice-President of Lahore Cantonment Board and the top elected official in the local government. The President of the Board is a non-elected, appointed position.
His position is similar to Mayor/Deputy Mayor of a City council in Australia.
Pakistan is a federal republic with three tiers of government: national, provincial and local. Each province also has its own local-government-enabling legislation and ministries responsible for implementation.
District councils and metropolitan corporations are respectively the highest rural and urban tiers of local government in the provinces.
Mr Choudhary thanked AMUST for the opportunity to share his views based on his long experience as a local government politician in Pakistan.
He said that he was first elected during the 2015 local elections on the Pakistan Muslim League (N) ticket, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party.
He said that although the Nawaz Sharif government has come under heavy criticism lately, it has a number of achievements to its credit during its governance period.
One of them is in the area of provision of electricity. During the previous Muslim League (N) government there was no crisis in the provision of electricity. However, during the Musharraf era, the situation deteriorated peaking to load shedding for 18-20 hours in a day.
The Muslim League (N) government took remedial action and restored this poor situation where load shedding has been drastically reduced.
Another achievement of the Nawaz Sharif government has been great progress on CPEK, the China-Pakistan Economic corridor project to rapidly modernise Pakistani infrastructure and its economy.
The Muslim League (N) Punjab government greatly improved transportation problem in Lahore by building bus routes where the cost to commuters is barely Rs 20 for covering a distance of 27 km.
Mr Choudhary claimed that PTI won power in Pakistan because a number of people from the same old corrupt parties joined PTI, just a few months before the elections.
He wished PM Imran Khan well in reducing much-entrenched corruption but said it is going to be a big challenge for him.
Mr Choudhary said that he was very proud of the recent democratic track record of Pakistan now that there has been a change of government by democratic means for a continuous third time.
He wished the PTI government well and assured that he himself, as well as the Pakistan Muslim League (N), will work for Pakistan in cooperation with the current government.