Flawed Local Government system | By Assadullah Channa

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Flawed Local Government system

DEMOCRACY is a form of government that entails sovereignty belonging to the people. People are the real owners of taking decisions considering circumstances.

Unfortunately, democracy has not rendered certain authority to the masses in Pakistan. Many parties have widespread reservations over local government laws in their provinces.

Powers are not shifted in their true spirit. Likewise, Sindh is no exception. The polls conducted recently in Sindh mark stark criticism by opposition parties.

There was already discussion over reforming the local government laws. The mainstream political parties MQM, Jamaat-e-Islami and PTI tried to get implemented the laws made by the then COAS Pervez Musharraf about Local Government.

The existing law implemented in Sindh local government polls is General Zia’s legislated laws with minor changes.

The former laws give extraordinary powers to local authorities according to which district administration is bound to comply with local authorities.

The latter ACT includes the supervision of district administration over local elected authorities.

Therefore, the main reason for debate over local government laws is the shifting of powers at the grass-root level.

According to Article 140-A of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan “Each Province shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments.

” It seems that the Sindh government does not want to abide by constitutional orders. In this era of political interests, it tries to hijack the system through the district administration.

Powers are not shifted to local authorities in letter and in spirit. Local authorities rely on the provincial government to have funds to render services to the public.

Most of the funds are not transferred due to the intervention of the provincial government. The meagre amount of funds, transferred to the local government is devoured by local authorities.

There is also the prevalence of corruption in the recruitment process. Employment opportunities for minorities are not provided on an equal basis.

There are many instances where minorities are sidelined and ineligible people are appointed.

Furthermore, employees are also not serious about their duties. Streets are not appropriately cleaned because of widespread corruption in the whole system.

Employees often pay some currency to the authorities to be ghost employees. These practices have resulted in the ruined infrastructure of cities.

People are still facing a lack of suitable infrastructure of roads in rural areas as well as in cities.

The provision of street lights in every street is like a pipedream. Garbage and waste sewerage are part of everyone’s life.

Properties of people are in danger because of flawed sewerage infrastructure. Therefore, the so-called local government is not in favour of the citizens. Concerned authorities should pay heed to this grassroots level of power shifting.

There must be legislation over issues of local government and the system should be free from party politics.

The candidates should contest the election only based on self-sufficiency. There must be the provision of basic facilities to the people in every city and area.

Without facilitating people, how can one think that local government is a form of democracy?

—The writer is a government teacher at Sindh Education and Literacy Department.