Inclusive and Empowered Local Government
“We need to increase the empowerment component of our elected representatives so that they feel the responsibility alongside accountability” Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Executive Director, Center of Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI) emphasized.
He was presenting the detailed analysis of the newly proposed Local Government Ordinance in the Punjab Province of Pakistan called “Punjab Local Governance Ordinance 2021(PLGO 2021)”. He explained that while highlighting loopholes and recommendations for improvements, the law has to be in lined with democratic principle of effective devolution and empowerment of citizens at grassroots level.
The provincial cabinet approved the Punjab Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) 2021 in November to administrate and conduct the next Local Government Elections in the province in 2022. CPDI has a keen eye on governance, accountability, and financial legislation issues has decided to discuss the proposed law with the key stakeholders.
People at grassroots level should be fully aware about their rights, budget of local Govt and development projects in their area.
The one day consultative dialogue widely discussed and highlighted the legal and administrative gaps and implementing challenges of the Ordinance. Challenges related to A) enforcement which is effective and B) inclusiveness: how marginalized communities (both in urban and rural districts) can participate.
Mr. Ahmad Iqbal, who is a young politician and has headed the District Councils of Narowal in Punjab said that PLGO 2021 is against the fundamental democratic values and constitution of Pakistan. He highlighted the proposed Ordinance has various structural flaws including the Disenfranchisement of Punjab’s Cities, Selection criteria for Metropolitan Corporations, complex bureaucratic control, and representation of minorities and women.
All participated stakeholders demanded that Provincial Assembly’s standing committee on Local Government should resume their work and address the highlighted flaws in the Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2021 before making it an act. The refined law will help improve effective participation and public service delivery and contribute to uplift citizens through active local governments.
CPDI with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Pakistan office conducted a one-day stakeholder’s dialogue in the provincial capital Lahore on 29th March 2022 to discuss the newly proposed law with officials of local government, legal experts, and representatives of civil society, journalists, and the provincial parliamentarians.