The Lahore High Court’s ruling for Punjab to conduct its local government polls on a party basis is a step in the right direction. It is no secret that historical favoritism and a positive bias in favour of Punjab has made its development graph much steeper than the other provinces and has also antagonized the other provinces for good reason. This decision will hopefully set a precedent that some provinces are not ‘more equal’ than others and given that candidates will have to contest with party affiliations, it seems that the provincial government will not be able to influence the local government too much by this decision. Considering how partisan politics is based on the logic of accountability, elected members of the local governments will be bound by their party mandates and less likely to be sidelined by the provincial government.

Now that this particular conundrum is out of the equation, perhaps focus now needs to be given to actually meeting the deadlines for the elections to take place and preparations should be made accordingly. However, minute and seemingly inconsequential issues such as delays in printing ballot papers are acting as obstacles. Given that it has been six months since the government has been in power, it is high time that the framework is in place to ensure that individual areas are governed effectively and their problems are addressed in an appropriate manner. Without local governments that cannot happen, and the provincial government cannot be relied upon to distribute its funds and resources in an equitable manner if there is no one to oversee that these instruments are used properly.  Enough with the dilly-dallying, a country needs to have tiers of government that trickle down to localized bodies and it cannot be deemed effective with such a big chunk of its structure missing.