Local government system | Pakistan Today

Local government system

Every democratic setup has three tiers of governance – central, provincial (or states) and local/municipal governments. Unfortunately in Pakistan , baring a few, most of the political parties believe in first two tiers while for the third one they prefer bureaucracy to take care. In my opinion, this third tier of municipal/city governments is far more important as it allows direct participation of general public at town/village level. This tier is directly responsible for upkeep of the cities and towns, however, our political parties prefer to run the towns and cities by unelected administrators and commissioners. By doing so, there is no love lost for the poor public, it’s a way to keep the bureaucracy under the thumb of governing political party(ies) in that province.
It’s now over three years since the previously elected local/city governments were dissolved at the end of their tenure, but no one knows when there will be elections for new municipal setup. All the provincial governments have chosen to ignore the advice from Supreme and High Courts to hold the city /municipal governments’ elections without any further delay.
All provinces, barring Sindh, have carried out legislation to abolish the local governments systems, have replaced with commissionarate system. In Sindh, both the coalition partners – PPP and MQM have held a marathon of meetings (may be more than 100 meetings) during last three years to discuss the future setup for city governments with no obvious breakthrough. Just few days back, on President Zardari’ interference, these two parties have got together to conclude the task; to agree upon a system more near to the one established during Musharraf era.
Both the PPP and MQM have been claiming to have reached on a consensus but I have reservation on this development. If we go by the history, it may be tactical move by PPP to pacify MQM and then by doing so first postpone the upcoming general elections and later get away with city governments elections as well putting up any excuse.
MQM shall be aware that none of the political parties (whether in government or in opposition) are ready to see Karachi city government being handed over to MQM, therefore, it’s up to MQM whether to be pacified with lollypops PPP would be offering, or keep struggling for the third tier governance all across the country. I see not much hope having a turnaround in our political parties thinking, therefore, should we agree with British colonial system to run the cities by commissioners. Perhaps this is the fate of a democratic Pakistan.
MASOOD KHAN
Jubail, Saudi Arabia



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One Comment;

  1. Shazia said:

    I could not find the rationale behind the protest against the PPP and MQM reaching a consensus on the local government (LG) structure in Sindh. Is it a crime for two major political parties who have 143 seats in the 167-member Sindh Assembly to discuss and devise a local governance system for their province? Is it a crime to make city/town governments more viable, more resourceful and in turn, more responsible for the upkeep of their respective cities/towns? Why do people wrongly assume that the MQM will win the mayorship of Karachi, Hyderabad and the other three urban centres? We are living in a democratic era wherein whoever gets the majority takes over ownership, be it the PTI, PML-N, MQM or PPP. On the same lines, not long ago, the JI’s Naimat Ullah Khan served Karachi as a democratically elected mayor/nazim of the city.

    In short, we need to see what is in the interests of the public. Should it be to strengthen the LG system to reap its benefits at grassroots level, or hand over the task of cities and towns’ development and operations to the bureaucracy? Even though no system is perfect, however, we need to criticise with an open mind; biased opinions help those who are always ready to create chaos as that is the only thing they can deliver

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