“Each Provincial Government shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibilities and authority to the elected representatives of the local government”, says article 140-A of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It has been almost four years since people in three provinces of Pakistan have remained deprived of their representative local governments, one Baluchistan, had LG elections in 2013. Inclusive and participatory government is privy to the definition of democracy and this can only be achieved when people are made part of the decision making process. Pakistan has seen four local government systems, three of them introduced by the dictators who wanted to get their legitimacy by reaching to the masses through local governments. The most visible and eventful, if not successful, was the system of local government introduced by Musharaf regime in 2001. This system was later defunct after the 2008 elections when democratic forces took over and the dictator was forced to resign. Elections in 2008 brought a new era of democratic rule in Pakistan that raised hope of the people for more share in the government but these hopes met with severe setback when the democratic forces failed to install a local government system even after completing a full tenure in office. All the political parties promised local governments in run for elections in 2013 but again it proves to be a long way to go. Establishment of local governments is the responsibility of the provincial governments who have not yet been able to act upon this constitutional injunction in three provinces. Though all the provinces have come up with legislation on local government but elections are yet to be held. There can be no second word on importance of local government, it brings governance to the door step of the people, makes them part of the governance process and includes their wishes in the local decision making. Local governments give ownership of the local resource to the people while making them responsible to resolve their indigenous problems locally. Hence local government empowers people with the resources as well as ability to use these resources for their collective good. The case for local governments becomes stronger when article 140-A comes forth for its endorsement. The incumbent provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have not only failed to establish democracy in its true form but it also implies that constitution has not been upheld. If Pakistan has to emerge as a democratic state it must strengthen democracy by implementing the constitutional injunctions and establishing local governments at local governments in all provinces.

Spread the word

Leave a Reply