One thing is crystal clear -- Pakistan' so-called feudal-cum-family based democracy has no place for real representation of the country' masses. As per constitution, we shall have three tiers governing system -- federal government, provincial governments, and local governments at city/town level. But understandably our political parties and their patrons try their best to stop the democracy at second tier and skip the third one. This is due to prevailing culture of bribing the federal and provincial assembly members in the name of development of their constituencies by granting un-audited billions of rupees. Also this skipping of third tier helps provincial governments to run the cities and towns through bureaucracy, means provincial assembly members control the city/town matters through their chosen commissioners and deputy commissioners.

In view of these package benefits, how come these so-called champions of democracy agree to confine themselves to their original tasks, serve the nation as legislators, to amend and improve the laws and codes for better governance? Regrettably it's only the army-backed governments who can take pride in regularly holding the local bodies/local governments elections (though that' a way to reach to grass-root to look more legitimate).

Despite Superior Courts orders, all the provincial governments have failed to hold the third tier elections during last five years; now Supreme Court has again ordered to hold these elections by September. This order has brought all sort of panic and chaos in the provincial capitals; comical comments are coming from very responsible leaders, local bodies legislation has not yet been completed, polling stations boundaries need to be re-drawn, law and order situation is not conducive and many more objections which tell the intentions.

Needless to say these are all excuses to forgo a constitutional obligation. Apparently, it may be difficult for the provincial governments to ignore court order this time; however, they intend to bring a toothless and powerless municipal system under the tight control of bureaucracy (read provincial legislators). Here comes the Superior Courts role to get the constitution to be implemented in its true sense which asks for financially and administratively independent local governments at city and town level. All provincial governments (barring KPK) intend to bring back the system Britain introduced in the 19th century to support their colonial governing structure in the then British-India. Laws framed in 1800s were not meant to be applied in 21st century; but how come we can deviate from these laws otherwise it will be harmful for Pakistan' feudal-cum-family democracy.

Can we expect the Superior Courts to intervene as our rulers see the local body’s institution unnecessary and a bone of contention leading to conflict of interest?


Saudi Arab, July 20.