The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government proposed a new local government system which aims to empower tehsil and district councils. The draft is likely to introduce changes in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Centre in the first phase of implementation in order to restore democracy at the very grass-root level.

Deputy mayors will be in charge of tehsils while the administrative charge of a district will be held by the mayor.

The local government would, as agreed, be given one-third of the province’s total annual development budget that would be distributed among the local councils as per their eligibility, local councils will enjoy complete independence and autonomy from not only the ministries but the chief minister as well. Mayors would be elected directly with the entire district as the electoral college, not the house. The motive behind this is that the people must choose their own mayor, thus recognizing the people’s mandate.

Moreover, under this local government structure, the mayor will be in charge of the police and administration, and the local government will also be given lower judicial authority of executive magistracy to enforce local and special laws regarding adulteration, encroachments, and recovery of taxes and bills. Monetary affairs regarding to the district would fall under the mayor’s domain as well. Therefore, empowering the mayor system like in developed countries, e.g. Washington, London.

Senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan has shown importance towards this eminent project. On 17th January, the inter-provincial meeting is to be convened.

The minister also told in this regard that the meeting is aimed at emphasizing the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed local bodies system. He claimed that for the first time in Punjab the concept of Village councils and neighborhood councils being launched in which the masses would be given representation at local level. Furthermore he added that the new system of local bodies in Punjab would bring a revolution in which especially in all the 25000 villages developmental and social work at local level would start instantly.

There is no doubt that in every developed democratic country, the superiority of the people’s mandate and representation has always given people belief on the local level since they have elected their representative themselves and the grass-root level problems are addressed in a more approachable way by the local councils. This would surely encourage more people locally to take part in these election and devising plans and ideas for the improvement of tehsils and districts.

If this is implemented as promised by the Minister of Local bodies, Aleem khan, not only the notion of democracy will prosper but development, infrastructure and social issues locally may be addressed adequately and efficiently for the first time in these provinces.

The writer is law student of University of London International Programme.