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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Sep 29, 2011

IMMEDIATE LOCAL BODIES POLLS DEMANDED

xperts, politicians and civil society organizations demanded to immediately hold elections for local government bodies, and resolved to take collective action for revival of the system .

The speakers said that the provinces under Articles 32 and 140(a) had the constitutional obligation to elect local governments and devolve political, financial and administrative responsibilities to these institutions..

They also called for taking steps to create awareness and conduct campaign to ensure political mobilization, devise a clear strategy for holding LG elections, extend it to all cantonments with elected heads and clear demarcation of functions with the provinces.

This was agreed upon in a national roundtable consultation on “Elected Local Government: Revival and Reforms” jointly organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), SANGAT Foundation and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) here.

Senator Haji Adeel Ahmad of the Awami National Party (ANP) said that he supported the system of local bodies but opposed the one of 2001, which violated provincial autonomy.

He said that it was very unfortunate that political parties had not been able to pass Local Government Bills in provinces despite the fact that they had assured the people to do it during the campaign for the last general elections. He said that LG bill had been tabled in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) Provincial assembly and it would be passed very soon.

He suggested further debates should be held at provincial level to ensure swift legislation and implementation.

Speaking on the occasion Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo said that every dictator in the intitial stages of of his rule had launched the local government system while mainstream political parties tended to ignore it.

He demanded to immediately implement the Provincial Finance Commission Award .

Nafisa Shah, MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Chairperson National Commission on Human Development (NCHD) said that provinces need to be sensitized for legislation on local government system.

She said the 2001/05 local government system was a complicated one (have three tiers at local level) and was in violation of the provisions of the Constitution. It tended to ignore rural- urban divide and had violated the conceptof provincial autonomy.

The political parties, she said, support local bodies as they help groom the people for running the government .

Danyal Aziz, Advisor, Governance Institutes Network International discussed constitutional issues and highlighted the current status of local governments in the provinces.

He said that the local government system, in fact complemented provincial autonomy in the form of devolution in 2001 and claimed the earlier senior bureaucratic posts were reserved for federal civil servants.

Kaisar Bengali, Former Advisor Government of Sindh said that local government system of 2001 was deliberately designed to serve certain purposes causing severe damage to the state institutions.