QUETTA: Speakers at a seminar called for devolving powers under article 140 of the Constitution to local governments in the country. They made this demand at a dialogue organized by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) with the financial support of the Freidrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Pakistan (FNF).
This will, in turn, play a significant role in strengthening the democratic system and the institution of a more substantive, inclusive and pro-people democracy in Pakistan. These views were expressed by speakers in a stakeholders’ dialogue on the Balochistan Local Government Act 2010.
While in opening remarks Syed Raza Ali, Project Coordinator, CPDI urged the Provincial government to ensure the complete transfer of powers and empower local governments as per Article 140 (A) of the Constitution so that local bodies can involve in the decision-making process and provide better service delivery.
Provinces should form provincial finance commissions
The provincial government should also constitute Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Award, akin to the National Financial Commission, where the district should get funds from the divisible pool according to their population, area, and underdevelopment. Capacity development and training programs for newly elected local representatives should be introduced so that local government representatives can deliver according to people’s choices and requirements.
While addressing the seminar, Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Executive Director of CPDI said that local government is the third tier of government. It is not the local bodies but a tier of government. It should have all the powers of a government. Developed countries have delegated powers and resources to local governments to increase service provision efficiency. It increases opportunities for citizens to engage in the policymaking processes of local governments which improves democratic efficiency.
Empower LGs under article 140 of the Constitution
Mr. Dotain Baloch, Secretary Local Government Department Baluchistan said that though Article 140 A talk about the devolution of power at the local level but there should be a chapter on Local governments in the constitution. It needs a chapter on definitions of the structure, powers, and functions of the local government, just like there is one each for the federal government and the provincial governments. Political leadership and the provincial government is not against the local governments and is committed to empowering local governments. We have made 41 amendments to Baluchistan LG Act 2010 to make it more effective. We have made progress towards empowerment but still, there is a need for improvement in the overall governance structure of the country says Dostain Baloch.
Ms. Raheela Durrani, Former Speaker Balochistan Assembly stressed the inclusion, equality, and participation of all marginalized sections of society in the electoral process at the local level.
Member of Provincial Assembly Mr. Ahmad Nawaz appreciated the efforts of workers, especially female workers on the ground, and said that political work is a backbone of a party therefore, they should be given preference while allotting tickets.