Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry Thursday said the Punjab Local Government Bill would be approved in the next few days to pave way for holding the local government (LG) elections. Briefing the media in Islamabad about the PTI core committee’s meeting, he said LG elections in Punjab would be held by the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), as the relevant law had already been amended by the Punjab government. He said the government allies had also been taken on board as constructive talks had been held with them on the new structure of upcoming LG election in the province. He said LG elections were being held in 17 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 19. A total of 37,752 candidates will be taking part in the elections, while a total of 689 candidates are running for the slot of village chairmen and tehsil mayors. Some 19,282 are vying for the neighborhood councils. Lauding the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to constitute technical committees on the matters of EVMs, he said the ECP was now heading in the right direction for holding the next election by the EVM. The government, he said, was ready to assist the ECP in that regard. Brushing aside reports that the upcoming elections would be costly, he said indeed the process of elections would become a bit cheaper as compared to past due to EVMs usage. He said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare Dr Sania had briefed the Core Committee on some important social welfare programmes. He said the government was persuading the Sindh government to join the federal government for starting such welfare programmes in Sindh but they were reluctant due to absence of chances of receiving personal gains from the programme. He said Balochistan government had agreed to join and contribute in the welfare programmes but Sindh has not yet agreed. The role of Sindh government was anti-people as they were reluctant to join social welfare programmes of federal government. Responding to a question, he said inflation was the result of devastating policies of previous governments and now people like former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi were shedding crocodile tears on price hike. He invited Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to have a session with the Federal Bureau of Statistics to understand their system of issuing figures about inflation. The opposition is a bunch of illiterate people, as they are not well-versed with the current issues, he added. Up to 40 percent increase in Sensitive Price Index (SPI) index was due to inflation records from Karachi, he said. “The government of PML-N had left Rs 157 billion debt. Pakistan is still bearing the brunt of their ant- people policies,” Fawad added. Fawad appreciated the Election Commission’s decision to form a technical committee on the electronic voting machines and expatriates’ vote. In a tweet, he said the decisions of Parliament preceded all institutions. The minister said the role of the chairman and members of the ECP in elections was very important. He assured that the government would cooperate with the ECP in all these matters.