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LG polls: Ready but unwilling

Moin Zubair
Moin Zubair

Local government is a system that is said to empower the native people, and to give them a chance to directly participate in national politics. It is the lowest tier of government after federal and provincial government and the main pillar on which the democratic system stands and strengthens itself. The Western countries, after the inception of the concept of nation-state, developed a local government system and recognised its importance.
Pakistan, a third world country, lack local representatives. It is a fact that grass-roots representation has never been promoted by the democratically elected regimes in Pakistan. It seems that this is because the political parties don’t believe in the decentralisation of power. In past, Pakistan experienced three models of local representatives in 1962, 1977 and 2001, all under the umbrella of dictatorships. Such types of facts raise questions on the importance of democracy. In our country, much needed local government elections are lost in dilemma, controversies and tugs of war. However, Government of Balochistan, under the supervision of Pakistan Army held LG polls in two phases after May 11, 2013 general elections. All the remaining provinces remain without local bodies and are making lame excuses after the expiry date given to them by the Supreme Court.
Former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (R) Tasaduk Hussain Gillani during his tenure directed the provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa(KPK) to hold local government elections in their provinces by November 2014. The court also ordered that the election should be fair and transparent. Similar order was given by former Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice Umer Ata Bandial to the Punjab government. But no such effort was made by the government  All such manipulations are against the public and ultimately it will prove to be a bane for politicians.
There had been absence of local government representatives in Pakistan since 2010. After the 18th amendment local elections had been made a provincial matter. In Article 140-A of the Constitution of Pakistan it is written: “each province shall by law establish a local government system a dissolve the administrative, political, and financial power to the elected members of the local bodies”.
Now the government has announced dates to conduct LG polls in all provinces, but the same happened in the past. Let’s see how long the government takes its commitment.

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