INSPIRING Pakistan and Pattan launched the Islamabad LG system report on January 4, 2017.
Local Government councils in Islamabad need more powers, say experts
Islamabad, January 4: INSPIRING Pakistan and Pattan, two Islamabad-based civil society organizations, call for legislative amendments and rules of business in Islamabad Capital Territory and to transfer all local functions that are being carried out by federal and other agencies to Union Councils and Metropolitan Corporation.
A joint research report, Local Governance in the Federal Capital: A review of the 2015: Islamabad Local Government System, released today says that this is the first time the whole city has local government system with a five-year tenure. The report observes that some of the grounds for arbitrary dismissal of local government and officials by higher officials have been removed. INSPIRING Pakistan and Pattan however urge further steps to improve and strengthen the system.
Calling for further changes to the local government system, Dr. Niaz Murtaza, Executive Director, INSPIRING Pakistan emphasized the need for strengthening the accountability of local officials to communities, capacity building of councilors, clear budget allocations and greater focus on low-income areas. He also recommended the following key steps, among others:
Mr. Sarwar Bari, National Coordinator of Pattan, speaking on the occasion, emphasized the need to strengthen the electoral process for reserved seats for peasants and workers to curb the practice of elite capture of these seats, as happened in the last elections. He said any election that allows corrupt people to win election could never provide good governance. He also highlighted the need to strengthen UC-level bodies by clarifying their functions and strengthening their capacities.
Prof. SM Nasim a renowned scholar said that the Local Government Ordinance is a show-piece. He said that the government wants to do what it intends and does not follow the LB Law. He said that biggest land mafia lives here and had role of armed forces also in it. He said that structure of the capital has been changed over the years. He said that there is conflict of interest in having MCI and CDA Chairperson in one person.
Dr. Niaz Murtaza, head of INSPIRING, criticized the provision that after general elections, the new government can dissolve local bodies and conduct new elections. He said that rights of LBs have no constitutional protection. He lamented that Federal Government has undue rights of interfering in Municipal Corporation Islamabad. He called for protection of rights of MCI employees transferred from CDA. He said education and health taxes should be collected by MCI which has no budget so far.
He said that backwards areas need greater attention in planning and execution. Dr. Saeed Ahmed Rid from Quaid-i-Azam University said that during Musharraf period, the bureaucracy was given a big jolt but now the district management is again gaining power which is a backward journey.
Fauzia Arshad, a Union Council Chairperson, said that women are not given protection so that they could go out to earn a living. She said that we should serve the people above political divide and lamented the distribution of funds is being done on political basis. She called for giving job description and training to councilors. She called for giving legal status to French Colony, the slum in her constituency. She opposed gender discrimination prevalent in health, education and jobs. All women should do jobs in offices, she urged.
In the Question Hour, a minority councilor said that slums did not get justice from any platform. He said that Christian marriage is not registered in union council register. A participant said that a PTI politician has denuded around 4-km hills in between Maloti Road and Bani gala to carve out Park View and one does not know if the developer got an NOC or conducted Environment Impact Assessment from PEPA. One participant asked where powers of IMC would stand after CDA gets a Chairperson.
Earlier, Sarwar Bari, National Coordinator, Pattan, said that a dictator gave 33 per cent representation to women but in this democratic era, it was reduced to 10%. He said that India started with 20 pc and took it to 50 per cent.
He criticized that property dealers and lawyers submitted nomination papers declaring their professions as such but allowed to contest as peasants or laborer’s and no Returning Officer noted it. He said that a deputy mayor in IMC contested as peasant having huge bungalow in Chak Shahzad with tens of millions of bank balance whereas a peasant is defined in the law as one depending on agriculture for one’s living.
Rapid Appraisals conducted by INSPIRING Pakistan along with local councilors in Pind Bhagwal and French Colony in Islamabad as part of research on Islamabad Local Government system in November 2016
Islamabad-Advocating further political, administrative and financial devolution, experts on Wednesday pointed out several flaws in the Islamabad local government (LG) system. A review report launched by INSPIRING Pakistan and Pattan Development Organisation, Islamabad called for legislative...