After a long period of 14 months, the final phase of local bodies elections was completed in 35 districts of Balochistan the other day. The local bodies’ elections were held in May last year in all districts of Balochistan except Quetta, Hub, and Lasbela. So far, no election schedule has been announced for Quetta, Hub and Lasbela districts of Balochistan.
On July 6 this month, the chairmen and deputy chairmen of all 35 districts were elected in a peaceful and democratic manner. The government deserves to be appreciated for holding historic local bodies elections peacefully last year and then subsequently completing the second, third, and fourth final phases of polls.
14 months already passed
Nevertheless, it is very strange that it took the government and the election commission of Pakistan to complete the final phase after 14 months. The constitutional tenure of the local bodies elections in Balochistan is four years like in other parts of the country.
14 months already passed, and it will take another week for the newly elected chairmen and deputy chairmen to formally take charge of their offices. Then, the newly elected LBs district heads are likely to commence the battle for their constitutional administrative, and financial powers entrusted to them as per Article 140-A of the Constitution.
Successive provincial governments have always been reluctant to devolve powers to LGs
It is ironic fate that successive provincial governments have always been reluctant to decentralize powers and empower the local governments as per the Constitution. Although, the same chairmen and deputy chairmen of districts and councilors belong to political parties.
LGs play a key role in the development and prosperity of the country and the development of villages, towns, and streets is the mandate of people elected on gross roots level. Moreover, this is a bitter reality that the members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) have always been reluctant to devolve powers to their own chairmen and councilors.
Assemblies job is legislation as councilors should construct streets
This is one of the underlying reasons behind bad governance and lack of access to policymakers. This is another bitter reality that military dictators have always empowered councilors, unlike successive fragile democratic governments.
To be precise, the Balochistan government needs to devolve powers to the councilors and chairmen of districts, municipal committees, and corporations without any delay.