17 June 2021 Islamabad:
As part of the National Forum on Democratic local governance, Akbar Ayub Khan, Provincial Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stated that local government elections are to be held in October 2021, where village councils, neighborhood councils and tehsils will undergo the process of auditing to ensure appropriate disbursements of the allocated funds. With the true representation of people, tehsils will be granted the sublime powers which they deserve.
Mr Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, Executive Director, CPDI said that currently, the terms of local governments in Pakistan have expired and the next elections are being delayed due to various political hindrances. He emphasized the need for the provincial governments to establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility to the elected representatives at the community level. To ensure the implementation of local government systems he suggested that the constitutional cover should be given to the local government systems as the third tier of the government and a broad framework of functions and mechanism of local governments.
A panel of experts on the subject of local governments comprising of Zahid Islam, Zaigham Khan, Javaid Hasan, Fauzia Kulsoom and Zafarullah khan reflected upon the impediments to establishing empowered local governments for effective public service delivery in Pakistan. They emphasized that an exclusive public movement should be initiated to raise demand for the effective implementation of Article 140-A and 32 of the constitution of Pakistan. A panel of experts jointly maintained that strong and empowered local governments at the grassroot level are the only way to ensure better public service delivery.
Ghulam Qadir Chandio, Member of Provincial Assembly Sindh, while sharing his views in the National Forum, said that lack of fairness in the census of 2017 has contributed to the delay of local government elections. Mr Liaqat Shahwani, Spokesperson of the Government of Balochistan added that delimitations will take place after receiving the official results and notification of the 2017 national census. However, the provincial government is committed to the empowered local governments at the grassroot level. Mr Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, Secretary of local government and community development, Punjab recognized the importance of a local government system and called for a sustainable, empowered and decentralized local government system in Pakistan.
Ms Birgit Lamm, Country Director, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Pakistan concluded the national forum and endorsed that all stakeholders must strive for empowered local governments, citizen’s participation in policymaking and protection of municipal rights for better public service delivery in Pakistan.