Without the establishment of local government and the empowerment of elected representatives, neither is the public participation in government affairs possible, nor can a sustainable and genuine democratic system take hold.
These views were expressed by the speakers while addressing a conference organized by the Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) on local body elections to be held in the 3rd week of next month in Azad Kashmir. Former Chief Justice Mohammad Azam Khan lauded the holding of local elections and termed it a wonderful political development. Women cannot be empowered without imparting quality education under the Devolution Plan, he claimed.
Justice Azam Khan suggested that to empower the local government in the real sense, reforms should be made in the Local Government Act after the election. He said that the provision of quality education is very important for the empowerment of youth and women. AJK Health Minister Dr. Nisar Ali Abdali said that despite all the difficulties and reservations, the PTI government is conducting local elections because it has been promised in the party’s manifesto.
He said that all the stakeholders have agreed to conduct local elections. Former minister and central leader of Muslim League-N, Chaudhary Muhammad Saeed while speaking on the occasion said that the local bodies have to be empowered politically and financially. He suggested that a District Finance Board should be formed so that each district and village could receive direct government funding. Based on population, area and poverty rate; the government should allocate grants to districts and then the districts to local union councils.
This formula can open the door to development and prosperity. PTI leader Zulfikar Abbasi said that our villages and cities cannot be clean and orderly until an effective management system is entrusted to the elected representatives of the local government. —INP