LAHORE-With only four days left in the life of district governments, all the four provinces are looking to the Centre for policy guidelines about the contours of interim set up that would replace local bodies after October 16. The provincial governments are still clueless, and so is the federal government, about putting in place some alternate arrangement when district governments complete their four-year term on October 16, a local government official told The Nation on Sunday, adding that federal government was groping in the dark to find a way out in the wake of differences among the provinces and the Centre about the fate of local government system. Though, going by the statements of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, federal government has decided in principle to make local government system a provincial subject after December 31, and allow them to make necessary changes in the said ordinance, the sources said that there was still confusion within the government about the future shape of things under the local governments. According to one opinion all provincial governments should agree to a uniform system of local government, while a few also think that every province should be given the liberty to make appropriate changes in the system as per its requirements. An option of complete roll back of the present system is also under consideration. Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan want to restore the previous local bodies system along with old commissionerate system, whereas in the province of Sindh, there is visible dissension over the issue between the PPP and the MQM. The latter wants to continue with the existing system with minor adjustments, while its major coalition partner, the PPP stands for its complete revocation. It is to be noted that local government system shall remain a federal subject till December 31, because of its inclusion in the sixth schedule of the Constitution, and till that time all matters pertaining to district governments have to be decided by the Centre. A source in local government department said that federal government was in a state of dilemma over future of the local government system, as it is required to take two crucial decisions before October 16 on two different issues relating to district governments: One about the nature of interim set up and the other about the future shape of these governments, he informed. He said government was still indecisive about how to manage things during the period between October 17 and December 31. The questions before the government in this regard is whether to allow the present nazims to act as caretakers for the interim period, (for which provision is already there in the ordinance) or appoint administrators instead to run the show. If they are to be administrators, provinces need presidential approval because there is no provision for appointment of administrators in the local government ordinance in its present form. If the federal government decides to allow appointment of administrators, then again there is a question, whether they should be bureaucrats or politicians, he further told this scribe. The issue has its political dimension because any decision regarding local governments may have direct bearing on the relationship between the PPP and PML-N, which are already at loggerheads with each other over Kerry-Lugar Bill. The PPP is in favour of appointing politicians as administrators, whereas the PML-N wants senior bureaucrats to perform this role. In both these cases, the PPP would also demand its 40 per cent share, which the PML-N is disinclined to give presumably due to administrative reasons. It merits mentioning here that Prime Minister Gilani, had, some two months back, sent a summary to President Zardari seeking appointment of administrators in place of district nazims, and to allow the provinces to amend the local government ordinance as per their specific requirements. The President, however, did not sign it and referred the same to the Ministry of Law for legal opinion, which is still lying with the said ministry. President Zardari seems disinclined to accord such an approval at the moment, but a change of mind on his part cannot be ruled out. According to the local government ordinance, elections should be held to elect new assemblies at district, tehsil and union council levels besides nazims and naib nazims after expiry of the term of present bodies. But since provinces have their reservations about the system, the same is unlikely to happen. After postponement of bye-elections in Punjab and Balochistan, there is little likelihood of local elections taking place this year, a Punjab Government source told The Nation. It is highly likely that provinces would conduct these elections next year after making amendments in the local government ordinance, which would come in their purview by then, he further said. When contacted to know the latest position on local government system, Punjab Governments spokesperson, Senator Pervaiz Rashid told this scribe that provinces have already written to the federal government to remove the local government ordinance from the sixth schedule and allow them to make legislation according to their requirements before October 16 so that provinces could conduct local elections accordingly. The provincial governments, he said, were still waiting a nod from the federal government on the issue.