AS Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is preparing to hold first phase of local government elections on 19th of this month, other provinces including Punjab and Sindh are also coming up with their pieces of legislation to ensure installation of local bodies.
Punjab Governor Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar on Saturday approved the Local Bodies Ordinance 2021 saying the new local government system will empower people in real sense.
In the first place, it would have been far better if this legislation were done through provincial assembly after consultations with opposition parties.
Earlier this year also, the Supreme Court had censured the governor for promulgating this ordinance.
It is only extraordinary circumstances that necessitate issuance of the ordinance and on such important matters, the assembly should not be bypassed.
We are confident that the ordinance will be laid in provincial assembly to get it passed as a bill.
As regards main features of the ordinance, this indeed will ensure a strong local government system as it envisages direct elections of the Mayors.
This mayoral model has proved to be very successful in many countries as directly elected mayors can take decisions more independently and better serve the masses.
Given the problems faced by our big cities such as Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad etc, a fully empowered Mayor is desirable to address chronic and longstanding issues of these cities.
For this, provincial government will also have to devolve more powers and resources to Mayor office.
Through this ordinance, the PTI government has also taken a very bold decision of holding elections on party basis.
Often sitting governments avoid doing so to avoid any embarrassment before general elections.
Hence, one may expect a lot of political activity and heat in Punjab’s LG elections.It will be a test for all parties especially the ruling one.
If the PTI manages to grab majority seats with its Mayors installed in major cities, it will be in a better position to ramp up its performance and stand a better chance in next general elections.