PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is giving final touches to the Local Bodies Bill for its passage by the provincial Assembly. Senior Provincial Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, told The Nation that local bodies elections would certainly be held this year after passage of the bill from provincial Assembly. Excerpts of his interview are as follows: Question: Why the ANP-led government has so far failed in holding local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Bashir Bilour: In order to implement people friendly, coherent and compact local government system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we are simultaneously mixing up both the local bodies system -1979 and the latest local government system-2001 architected by Pervez Musharraf. In this connection, we have already tabled a bill in the provincial assembly, which has been handed over to a sub-committee of which I am the chairman. At present, the provincial assembly is in session and after the adjournment of the ongoing session, we will be able to call the meeting of the sub-committee to give final touches to the bill. We will table the local government bill in the assembly to pass it. After completing the whole process, the ANP-led government will be in a position to announce date for holding the local bodies elections in the province. However, I am certain that the local government elections will be held this year in the province. Question: What type of reforms you are going to introduce in the new bill? Bilour: Firstly, we have taken all the executive powers back from the nazims and given them back to the executive, secondly, we have returned all the departments back to their previous positions which have been devolved under the devolution plan introduced by Pervez Musharraf government. Besides, we intend to introduce more reforms in the system. The main reason is that there was nothing in the system about militancy in the province. It was one of the demerit of the old system. There would have been no militants nor their tunnels and training camps in Swat, if there were Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner as well as magistrates. Furthermore, under the local government system 2001, around 26 government departments were brought under the control of a single person nazim., which was an injustice. The third major shortcoming in the system was, that rural and urban areas were counted, treated and considered equally. How can rural and urban areas be equal?. Indeed, rural areas have own problems, while the urban have their own, so, they could not be equal. Thus, we have amended these three shortcomings by replacing it with more effective reforms in the coming local government system in the province. We have decided that elected representatives will only exercise civic powers, while executive powers be entertained by the executive. However, we have taken the election part of the local government system 2001 and made it as part of the coming act. Question: Will your government reintroduce the magistracy system in the province? Bilour: Well, our cabinet has formally approved reintroducing the old magistracy system. But there is a problem as for this purpose amendment would be made in the criminal procedure court, because a province has no right to make amendments, as it the subject of the federal government and federal government wants to ensure uniformity in it among all the provinces. However, a senior lawyer has told me that a province can make amendments by itself, if it the right of the province then we will do it soon. Question: Will your government hold local government elections on party basis and do you see that situation is suitable for such polls?. Bilour: As far as party base elections are concerned, I will say that non-party elections are nothing as those elected through such elections are always associated with some party. We will hold local bodies elections on party basis. As far as timing for holding these elections is concerned, if the situation remains normal, we will hold these elections this year.