Revamping LG System

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The Prime Minister, Imran Khan during a meeting with provincial cabinet members of Punjab has directed the cabinet to revamp the local government (LG) system in the province. The PM Khan, while reiterating his government’s commitment to eliminate corruption from the country had stressed upon the Punjab cabinet to make it their top priority to identify corrupt practices and take strict action against them. He said that the performance of the Punjab government should be a trend setter for the rest of the provinces. Khan directed the Punjab government led by Usman Buzdar to bring in new police order and carryout the audit of Orange Line Train project and pay attention to education and health sectors. Expressing his serious concern over land grabbing and encroachments in the province, particularly in Lahore the PM directed that the mafias and big groups involved in encroachments and land grabbing, must be taken to task. He directed the chief minister to immediately launch an anti-encroachment drive and take action against land grabbers, and assured his fullest support to the provincial government.
While stressing the need of austerity and simplicity, he said the cabinet members should set an example while remaining at the forefront to remove extravagance on taxpayers’ money at all levels.
So far as the revamping of Local Government System is concerned until now it has been nothing but a theoretical exercise. The system was introduced in the past by several governments but due to obvious reasons devolution of power to local government remained in many ways a distant dream. The local government, which is purely democratic in nature is in practice in different countries all around the world and is seen as the most effective tool for public service delivery. But in Pakistan the mainstream political parties and elected representatives who have been at the helm of affairs over the past several years have been a bit reluctant to empower the local bodies, perhaps, for the reason that they didn’t either want to see a government working in parallel or lose their long-lasting sway over their respective constituencies. Unfortunately rural development, social welfare and local government has never been the priorities of the state despite the fact that no government can function effectively in absence of the local bodies. Having a direct access to the masses the local government representatives can be easily approached and made accountable as compared to MNAs and MPAs who are rarely seen in their constituencies once they get elected. Last time the local body elections were held in all four provinces but the elected representatives have not been able to serve the masses at grass roots level due to some bureaucratic hurdles. One of the reasons is that instead of allocating sufficient funds to the local bodies the development funds were directly allocated to MPAs and MNAs. It is hoped that the PTI government will take effective measures to revamp the local body system all across the country, remove the legal and bureaucratic hurdles besides implementing its reform agenda.

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