Islamabad - The newly-elected local government (LG) representatives have urged both the federal and provincial governments to empower them as per the constitution and provincial governments’ acts for smooth service delivery to the masses at the grass-root level.
The LB elections were held across the country in different phases for the first time under any democratic government for devolution of political, administrative, and financial powers to the elected representatives of the local governments for facilitating the people. However, the representatives are anxiously waiting for setting up of offices at the Union council, village, Tehsil and district level for public service delivery.
The prime objective of establishing local government system is to promote good governance and effective delivery of services besides transparent decision making through institutionalized participation of the people at local level.
Talking to APP, Malik Taimoor Iqbal Khan Jadoon, an Islamabad based working Journalist, said, “The local body system should be made functional at its earliest as per the promises made by the provincial and federal governments’ leadership with the masses prior to LB elections.”
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.
The local government institutions are composed of elected representatives , having special representation of peasants, workers, women, minorities and youth for resolving the basic issues of masses.
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.
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 becomes null and void if the elected representatives remain powerless, he added.
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 mentioned.
The local government representatives of KPK belonging to the Awami
National (ANP) party in Torghar district has also criticized the provincial government for what they said quelling was 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 .
They also chanted slogans against the provincial government demanding powers as announced by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government before the local government elections in the province.
Shah said PTI government had propagated that all powers being exercised by bureaucracy would be transferred to LB representatives at village and neighbourhood and tehsil councils.
“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 a sit-in in front of Imran Khan’s house at Bani Gala as we would never accept such powerless offices,” he said.