Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Local Government Akbar Ayub Khan announced that local bodies polls polls will be held in October 2021 and village councils, neighbourhood councils and tehsils will undergo the process of auditing to ensure transparent disbursements of the allocated funds.
Ayub Akbar Khan announced this during the National Forum held by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a forum consisting of civil society members, journalists, local government minister and secretaries was held under the banner of the DLG project, co-funded by the European Union and Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
CPDI Executive Director Mukhtar Ahmad Ali said that after terms of local governments in Pakistan have expired, the next elections have been delayed due to various political hindrances.
He emphasized the provincial governments to establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative, and financial responsibility to the elected representatives at the community level.
CPDI Executive Director said that the constitutional cover should be given to the local government systems as the third tier of the government and a broad framework of functions and mechanism of local governments.
Panel consisted upon Zahid Islam, Zaigham Khan, Javaid Hasan, Fauzia Kulsoom and Zafarullah khan. The speakers reflected upon the impediments to establishing empowered local governments for effective public service delivery in Pakistan and emphasized that an exclusive public movement should be initiated to raise demand for the effective implementation of Article 140-A and 32 of the constitution of Pakistan.
Ghulam Qadir Chandio, MPA from Sindh, was of the view that lack of fairness in the census of 2017 has contributed to the delay of local government elections.
Balochistan Government Spokesperson Liaqat Shahwani said that delimitations will take place after receiving the official results and notification of the 2017 national census. However, the provincial government is committed to the empowered local governments at the grassroot level. Mr Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, Secretary of local government and community development, Punjab recognized the importance of a local government system and called for a sustainable, empowered and decentralized local government system in Pakistan.
Birgit Lamm, Country Director, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Pakistan concluded the national forum and endorsed that all stakeholders must strive for empowered local governments, citizen’s participation in policymaking and protection of municipal rights for better public service delivery in Pakistan.