LAHORE - The Local Bodies System of government is a political leadership nursery and ensures solution of problems at doorsteps the masses face. The incumbent PML-N government by passing a bill that allows conduct of local elections on non-party basis has crippled the efforts for democratic yield.
These views were expressed by speakers at Hameed Nizami Press Institute of Pakistan addressing a seminar on ‘Importance of Local Government in Democracy’ on Thursday.
Punjab Assembly opposition leader and PTI leader Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed presided while noted analyst Qayyum Nizami was the chief guest on occasion. Speakers included Taseer Mustafa and Dilawar Chaudhary. HNPIP Director Absar Abdul Ali was the moderator.
Criticising the Punjab government on getting the bill passed overnight without publishing it for public opinion, Opposition leader Rasheed said that government has lost a golden opportunity to conduct local bodies’ elections on party basis. Calling them democratic dictators, he said, the rulers could not devolve the powers the Zardari government did in recent past. The PML-N leadership failed to deem the constitutional obligation and even the Charter of Democracy signed by Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in office. The legislation by the Punjab Assembly gives more powers even the ‘58 2 B’ the most criticised by democratic circles to the Chief Minister who on the recommendations of Local Government Commission with majority of bureaucrats could suspend or even sack a mayor. He said that the Muslim League has become a ‘Mujrim League’ by bestowing role to MPs in development schemes and monitoring thus sparing them of legislation deeds. He said that PTI government in the KPK would conduct elections on party basis caring least about the results.
Fault-finding with the dictators on conduct of local bodies’ elections, Qayyum Nizami said that their intentions were malafide who did so just for a moral support. MQM and such other groups were generated on the dictators’ deeds. Referring article 140-A of the constitution, Nizami said that the provincial govenemnts have failed to meet the constitutional requirements by negating devolution of powers to the local governments. No role of the MPs in local governments as did the KPK government, Nizami said.
Noted journalist Taseer Mustafa said that lack of local governments would lead to lack of veteran politicians thus pushing taking democracy to a bad end.
Dilawar Ch discussing local bodies system in the historical perspective said that the need was to enhance trust on local institutions that was lacking in our culture.
The local governments and their worth was as imperative as foreign policy or security issues in the affairs of states. He cited example of Erodgon who started political career as a mayor and became one of the most powerful rulers in a country once governed by powerful military elite. He also proposed that the LBs elections should be party basis if the politicians wanted a true democracy in the country.