Bureaucracy will be stopped from toppling LG system
By Mohammad Kamran
ISLAMABAD: District nazims from across the country on Saturday accused the bureaucracy of blocking the local government system (LGS) and demanded more administrative powers from provincial governments to strengthen district governments.
A nazims’ convention held here complained of meddling by provinces in local government affairs and expressed helplessness in multiple administrative affairs, including transfers, disciplinary action against public servants and violation of rules by provinces.
National Reconstruction Bureau Chairman Daniyal Aziz, who was also invited to the convention, said the bureaucracy would be thwarted in its efforts to block local councils and warned that it should either help run local governments or resign. He said the real problem was that powers had not been transferred to provinces. “The provinces have devolved the powers to districts but the federation has yet to empower the provinces,” he said. Peshawar District Nazim Muhammad Azam Khan Afridi said the local council system was a revolutionary step and it had saved people for bureaucratic officialdom. “A deputy commissioner used to enjoy all powers but now a public representative is there to serve people,” he said.
Khanewal District Nazim Ahmed Yar Hiraj said there were loopholes in the system and the rules of business for districts. He said nazims could not take action against corrupt officials.
DG Khan District Nazim Jamal Leghari said even the Police Ordinance had failed to rein in police. He said the NRB would have to empower nazims at the union council level if it wanted to run the new system smoothly.
Khairpur District Nazim Nafisa Shah said public representatives at the local level were still being harassed by political quarters. She accused the ruling alliance of exploiting the local council.
Quetta District Nazim Rahim Khan Kakar said local representatives would choose to resign from their offices if attempts were made to replace the existing system. Kohat District Nazim Malik Asad complained that nazims were not consulted in transfers and postings of public servants. He said nazims were also denied official protocol.
Sanghar District Nazim Roshan Din said the actual authority did not rest with nazims.
Mr Aziz assured the convention that despite all the bureaucratic hurdles the new system would not be scrapped. “It has constitutional cover and is part of the sixth schedule of the constitution,” he added.
He said the NRB would launch a website in January with a view to highlight the problems of nazims. He said those opposing the system should read the writing on the wall.
He said the government had set up a National Information Monitoring and Reforms Cell to monitor progress on Police Order 2002. He said the Local Government Ordinance 2001 and the Police Order 2002 were flawless but many sections of these laws were not being implemented in letter and spirit. He said the octroi system would not be revived. He mentioned the role of Citizen Community Boards (CCBs) in the socio-economic development and aid over 7,000 CCBs were registered and 159 projects out of a total of 359 were completed by November 17.
He said differences between the home and law departments were causing a delay in the formation of district ombudsman’s office. NRB Member Naeemul Haq said the local government system was only two-years old and it was too early to pass judgment on it.