Local government elections will play an important role in empowering the citizens and removing the frustration in society. These views were expressed by the speakers while addressing a conference organized by the Center for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) regarding local government elections in Muzaffarabad on Monday. Leaders of the Pakistan People Party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muslim League and Muslim Conference welcomed the upcoming local government elections to be held at the end of November this year and said that these elections will positively affect the politics and society of Azad Kashmir, ushering in a new era of development in Azad Kashmir. People’s Party’s former minister Sardar Javed Ayub, Election Commission member Farhat Ali Mir, Muslim League representative Zahid Amin Kashif, PTI leader Sardar Muhammad Israel Qazi, Shaukat Javed Mir, Shahid Awan, Faisal Jameel Kashmiri, Ershad Mahmud, Dr. Waqas Ali, Murad Ali, Faiza Gilani, Irtaza Muhammad and others addressed the conference. Sardar Javed Ayub said that PPP fully supported the local body elections and expected new leadership to emerge from these elections. Middle-class youth will get a chance to come forward. He said that he wanted to see the local government system empowered and efficient. Addressing the conference, Member Election Commission Farhat Ali Mir said that the people were participating in this election after three decades. It is the constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission to conduct local government elections every four years. He urged civil society organizations to play an active role in making people aware of the importance of these elections and their participation in them. Farhat Ali Mir said that it was important to elect educated and knowledgeable representatives in the elections because local government representatives had to design development plans and they had to play the role of a bridge between the government and the people. Farhat Ali Mir said that the assemblies were the heart of the democratic system and the local governments were its arteries, without which the functioning of the body was impossible. He said that everyone, including women, youth, and minorities, had an equal opportunity to try their luck in the elections. Addressing the conference, Sardar Usman Atiq, leader Muslim Conference said that holding the local body elections was a good start. However, this was a gradual process and gradually the local government system would get strong and efficient. He suggested not expecting quick results. He said that the youth and women should energetically enter the election field and should compete without any fear. PTI leader Sardar Mohammad Israel Qazi said that Tehreek-e-Insaf had succeeded in transferring power to the grassroots as per Imran Khan’s vision. PTI will achieve remarkable victory in local government elections and empower common people, he anticipated. Speaking on the occasion, PML-N leader Zahid Amin Kashif said that the democratic system cannot take roots without local elections. He said that the Muslim League will participate in the election with full vigour and zeal. It is the right of the people that their local problems should be solved at the local level. He expressed the hope that the democratic system will be strengthened by the LG election. SDG’s Coordinator for Azad Kashmir Syed Ali Hasnain Gilani highlighted the possibilities of achieving sustainable development goals in the region through local governments. He said that with the establishment of local governments, problems like hunger, food insecurity, health crisis, educational issues, lack of clean drinking water and sanitation, scarcity of dignified employment opportunities and environmental sustainability issues can be addressed amicably.