It must be a party time. A dream coming true for the mighty bureaucrats and their front men like the ministers and parliamentarians as the government has decided to abolish the existing local government system and put off the elections till the time things got normalised in the country. These bureaucrats were never comfortable with the whole concept which reduced them to nobody in the new system while the parliamentarians and ministers found the development funds going out of their reach. Besides, they had to bow before nazims for the petty favours. As such they never reconciled with the Devolution Plan nor made any attempt to make the system more effective and amenable to public needs. Thus the small problems got bigger and bigger in the absence of any real healing touch from the lethal combination of bureaucrats and parliamentarians. In the end it failed to create any impact on the lives of the people despite the fact that the local councils were overflowing with funds and dollars. Rather problems got aggravated with nazims had no solution at all. District or town nazims, who were linchpin in the new system and were highly powerful seats, are themselves responsible for the failure of the local governments to deliver. Had the nazims been efficient and visionary with service to the people their motto the system would not have received this terminal blow. When the new local government system was enforced in the country every other politicians was in the race to become district or town nazim. They saw then in these local bodies a great opportunity to thrive politically and establish their sway over their respective areas and constituencies. The power and pelf associated with the new local government offices have dazzled the political class more than anything else. These were also good days for the system to take roots with federal government and President Musharraf highly supportive. These local councils were considered as the bastion of President Musharraf's power and instrument for his perpetuation in politics and power. There was no shortage of funds either to implement the welfare agenda of the government. Yet we hardly saw any difference being made in the lives of the people with an army of councillors and nazims around mandated to tackle the people's problems. The nazims claimed that they had carried out record development in the last eight or more years. But God knows where. The quality of governance was too poor when the concept of good governance was heavily hinged upon the performance of these local governments. The people found the system very complicated initially and out of their reach. The governance suffered despite the fact that the entire system was geared to provide services at one's doorsteps. The district nazims were little accessible to the general public. Here in Lahore the District Nazim was inaccessible to his own councilors and nazims, let alone the general public. The district nazims never took up causes that were close to the heart of the general public. None of the nazims emerged as public figure or role model for others. Hence they failed to win the hearts of the people. The new PML (N) government in the province too was hostile towards nazims and entire system of local government. They not only severed all links with nazims, giving precedence to DCOs but also withheld all the development funds. Even in the new budget they were not allowed to introduce any new scheme. But then no system in the world is perfect. Their working and performance is wholly dependant on those who are mandated to run the very system. The local government system had some inherent defects that have hampered its functioning. For example the district nazim was accountable to none. Same was the case with town nazims. They were their own bosses. This shows that the system lacked linkages, or proper hierarchy which is a must for any organization to thrive. Under this system the districts were cut off from the provinces and towns from the districts. There was no way of smooth communication. Again, the system did not provide any mechanism for price control and other local problems that a magistrate used to tackle. Despite these defects the system had the potential to deliver provided there is commitment. The government instead of abolishing the entire system should plug the loopholes that marred the functioning of the local governments. The country cannot afford another bout of experimentation and pain and agony the people go through when one system is replaced with another. Already decision to scrap has created quite an uproar in the country with most stakeholders disapproving the government way of thinking and scheme. E-mail: