KARACHI, (APP): Participants at the “Consultation Forum on Effective Local Governments” here Tuesday viewed that a constitutional amendment was a must to define key features of an effective local government (LG) system across the provinces to devolve political, administrative, and financial responsibilities to the local governments.
The forum was organized by PILDAT in collaboration with the UNDP. PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob moderated the forum, while speakers included Joint Provincial Election Commissioner, (Elections) Sindh Ali Asghar Sial, Assistant Resident Representative UNDP-Pakistan Kaiser Ishaque, Chief Technical Adviser, SELP UNDP Ali Al-Bayati, and Joint Director, PILDAT Ms. Aasiya Riaz. A representative of the Sindh Local Government Department joined the consultation as an observer.
Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, in his remarks, said the system of democratic governance was incomplete without effective devolution of financial and administrative powers to the local tier. PILDAT, he said, had been advocating for reforms for effective devolution of powers to the local governments.
Aasiya Riaz presented a rationale on the need for an effective local government system in Pakistan as well as a comparative analysis of the current system of local governments in place across the four provinces of Pakistan.
Ali Asghar Sial said the Election Commission of Pakistan was prepared to hold local government elections in keeping with their constitutional responsibility. The delimitation process in Sindh, he said, would be finalized by March 24, and the final schedule of LG elections in the province would be announced soon after by the ECP in consultation with the Sindh government.
Former Sindh governor Lt Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider said it was the political parties that had failed to institute a system of effective local governments despite constitutional obligations. He believed that Article 6 of the Constitution should be applicable to successive provincial governments for violating the constitution on the LG system. Besides Lt Gen (Retd) Moinuddin Haider, the forum was also joined by senior journalists Ghazi Salahuddin and Mazhar Abbas, Senior Journalist.
Representatives from political parties included Shiraz Ali, Provincial Secretary General Sindh, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI); Mohammad Hussain, MPA MQM-P; Rehan Hashmi, former MNA MQM-P; Ms. Sabeen Ghouri, former MPA MQM-P; Junaid Yousafzai, MQM-P; Syed Mustafa Kamal, Chairman Pak Sarmzameen Party (PSP); Dr. Arshad Vohra, Vice Chairman PSP; Dr. Fauzia Hameed, former MNA PSP; Maulana Ihsanullah Takarwi, former MPA Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Pakistan (JUIP); and Mahboob Khan, JUI-P. Representatives from academia, media, and civil society also attended the forum.
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