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The News

Published Date: Jul 30, 2013

Local government system should not have less than 18 members

Mirza Naeem,
Chief Operating Officer, Aurat Foundation, has said that a union council
in new Local Government system should not have less than 18 members
including workers, peasants, minority and women reserved seats in
addition to seats of mayor and deputy mayor all directly elected in
party-based polls.

Mirza Naeem was addressing a press
conference on ‘AAWAZ Utha: Citizen’s Charter of Demand for Local
Governance’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here
on Monday.

AAWAZ programme is a voice and accountability
programme that seeks to ensure inclusive democratic process and improved
state accountability to citizens. Consortium of AAWAZ includes SDPI,
Aurat Foundation, South Asia Partnership-Pakistan (SAPPK), Strengthening
Participatory Organisation (SPO) and Sungi Development Foundation.

Mirza
said that elections ensure citizen’s meaningful participation and
inclusion of all excluded groups in the local governments for effective
service delivery, gender equality, dispute resolution and social
harmony. He said that direct elections on party-basis improves
democratic culture in the country and discourages dictators to use LG
system for manipulation and depoliticisation.

He said that
drafts of bill prepared by Punjab and KPK LG systems were not
acceptable in present form. He said that LBs are nurseries for
democratic politics and women percentage increased in 2002 and 2005
elections which enhanced their empowerment.

Naeem Mirza
said that local government should have inbuilt mechanism system. He
called for district and provincial accountability Ombudspersons and
public accounts committees in which of PAC should be from Opposition a
la National Assembly.

Answering a question on conflict
between provincial and local governments, Naseer Memon, Chief Executive
SPO, said that devolution of district and local councils would complete
democratic set up if given a legal cover. He said that provincial
autonomy is not affected by LB as it takes autonomy even to district and
Union Council levels.

Sajid Mansoor Qaisrani, Executive
Director Sungi, said that policies and issues are decided at provincial
level while LBs are for implementation. He said that local governments
were the base on which higher democracy was evolved in India. He said
that dictators use LBs for their own ends and holding elections during
democratic polity is a welcome sign.

Mirza Naeem said that
there should be no urban-rural division lamenting that tiers in the
draft even in Lahore do not match. He said that capital territory and
cantonment areas should be part of LB system.