ISLAMABAD: The newly-elected Local Body (LB) representatives have urged both the federal and provincial governments for empowering them as per the Constitution and provincial governments? acts for smooth service delivery to the masses at grass-root level.
The LB elections were held for the first time in the history of the country under any democratic government for devolving political, administrative and financial powers to the elected representatives at local level. However, the representatives were anxiously waiting for setting up offices at the Union council, village, Tehsil and district level for serving masses.
The prime objective of establishing local government system was to promote good governance, effective delivery of services and transparent decision making through institutionalized participation of the people at local level.
Village Council Nazim Sawal Dher-1, district Mardan, Jamsheed Khan Khattak said, “The federal government should issue directives to the provincial government for implementation of the LB Act 2013 in KPK for smooth public service delivery.” The whole purpose of LB election will become null and void if the elected representatives remain powerless, he added.
The local government institutions were composed of elected representatives having special representation of peasants, workers, women, minorities and youth.
Talking to APP, Taimoor Iqbal Jadoon, Islamabad based working Journalist, said “The local body system should be made functional at its earliest as per promises made by the provincial and federal governments prior to LB elections with the masses.”
The members of national and provincial assemblies need to focus on legislation while the LB representatives should be empowered for carrying out developmental projects in their respective areas, he added.
When contacted, Additional Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Fida Muhammad Khan said, “The ECP has got nothing to do with power distribution to the elected representatives of LB elections.”
The only responsibility of ECP was to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in the country, he added.
Another official of ECP said, “The Commission has no centralized data about the total number of LB elected members of the country.” It is totally a provincial subject to distribute power and funds, and setting up offices for them, he added.
It was pertinent to mention that the LB representatives in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had already staged protest demonstrations against the provincial governments for failing to transfer developmental funds and powers to them.
The local government representatives of KPK belonging to the Awami National (ANP) party in Torghar district had also criticized the provincial government for what they said was quelling their powers through amendments in local government Act 2013.
“We would never allow the government to curtail our powers as following recent amendments in LG Act 2013, all powers are being used by government officials which is not acceptable to us at any cost,? Syed Shahzad Shah, the tehsil nazim of Kundar Hassainzai Union council told the gathering of local bodies representatives the other day.
They also chanted slogans against the provincial government demanding powers as announced by the government before the local government elections in the province.
Shah said that PTI government had propagated? that all powers being exercised by bureaucracy would be transferred to LB representatives at district, tehsil and village levels.
“I am a tehsil nazim but still without office and other facilities to run day-to-day affairs,” he added. ?We are planning to organize sit-in in front of Imran Khan’s house in Bani Galla in Islamabad as we would never accept such powerless offices,” he said.
The true spirit of democracy was demanding an early empowerment to the LB elected representative so that masses could get fruits of the long process of devolution of powers to their local leaders.