LG system in focus again

A high level meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday, had detailed discussion on the Local Government system in the country and considered possibility of replication of the experiment done in KP by PTI government in other provinces. A high-powered Committee has been constituted with mandate to propose new structure of the local bodies within one week, which would be followed by necessary legislative process.
One would be able to give one’s views once recommendations of the Committee are made known but it is unfortunate that after seventy years of independence we still have no consensus on the LG set-up. Former military ruler President Pervez Musharraf introduced a hotchpotch system, which no doubt had some positive elements yet it destroyed the decades’ old administrative structure that delivered perfectly. Afterwards, that system was done away with and all the four provinces came up with their own versions of the LG system but the manner in which the elections were delayed, their functioning was obstructed and their funding was choked sent a clear message that the governments were not sincere in really empowering the local bodies. This is despite the fact that local government, if provided with clear-cut mandate and responsibilities, backed by necessary resources, have the potential to resolve most of the day-to-day problems of the common man.
Presently, we have local government institutions but they are almost non-functional due to lack of commitment by authorities concerned. In this backdrop, one hopes the Committee would come up with positive and practical proposals that further refine the existing system. Strengthening LGs would be a welcome initiative yet there should be no further tempering with the mandate and responsibilities of other institutions and offices.

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