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Local government elections - Folder

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    Local government elections - Folder

    = Foreword =

    According to the Local Government election timetable, elections for the new autonomous district councils will be conducted over 5 phases between December 2000 and July 2001,

    By August 14, 2001 it is envisaged that local governments will be installed in all the districts.

    = Rules for Folder =

    1. If you paste a link don't paste the article, unless the site you use does not archive its articles.

    The DAWN has archives so just post the link.

    2. Please give the title of the article also.
    3. Only reliable sources are to be used.
    4. News can be taken from any source.
    5. All are welcome to post.

    It will be particulary interseting to see how the foreign press are viewing the first elections in Pakistan since the miltary coup.

    Website of the National Reconstruction Bureau



    An Abstract

    The local government plan provides for devolution of power and responsibility from provinces to districts within the framework of the provincial governments and autonomy. It will enable the provincial governments manage their districts more efficiently and achieve the objectives of empowering the people at the grass root; providing affordable and speedy justice near the doorstep; ensuring financial autonomy and equitable opportunities of livelihood; and enabling the people to have a meaningful role in shaping their own destiny. Based on new electoral rolls, local government elections will be held in five phases between December 2000 and July 2001, after which local governments will be installed in all the districts on August 14, 2001.

    The basic administrative tier of governance in Pakistan has long been local, that is, a district. But the prevailing system has inherent disjoints and the management structures are irrational. For example, there is no integrated local government in the district. Rural areas have union councils and an indirectly elected district council, both under the control of the deputy commissioner. The urban parts of the district have town committees or municipal committees/corporations under the control of the commissioner of the division. The local political bodies thus divided on rural-urban basis and under the control of the administrative officers, are marginalised, and rendered ineffective. Real authority and power remains directly in the hands of the government functionaries in the district. The unparalleled concentration of authority and functions in the office of the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police of the district remain, as originally intended, instruments of rule and not service of the people.

    An objective review of these flaws suggests integration of the rural and urban local bodies into a district local government and making district bureaucracy responsible to it to create only one line of authority in the district. In essence, this is what the devolution plan seeks to achieve.

    Thus in the Local Government Plan 2000, there is an integrated three-tier government structure. At the bottom tier, the unions cover the rural as well as urban areas across the whole district. Unions have directly elected Nazims, Naib Nazims, and union councils. Union Nazims are also members of Zila councils and similarly, Naib Union Nazims are also members of Tehsil councils. This provides vertical linkages between the three tiers of local governments of the union, tehsil, and district.

    The middle tier, the Tehsils, have Tehsil Nazims and directly elected Tehsil councils with Tehsil municipal offices/bodies working under the control of the Tehsil Nazims.

    At the top tier, the district, there is a single integrated local government. The district government has a District Nazim and directly elected District Council. The district administration is responsible to the District Nazim. There is just one line of authority from the district down to unions, but with adequate checks and balances to ensure that it serves the people and not rule them.

    The plan effectively addresses the specific needs and problems of large cities. When a Tehsil in any district becomes largely urbanised it would be carved out of the district as a separate city district with self-contained infrastructure of services including police. In the first phase four provincial and the federal capital cities will be treated as city districts.

    At every tier of local government, women have guaranteed representation of at least 33%. Adequate representation has also been given to the workers/peasants and minorities. The plan thus provides an enabling environment for the empowerment of the traditionally marginalised sections of society.

    The plan enables proactive citizens to participate in community development/service through creating voluntary organizations called citizens' community boards. Villages/wards will have a local political structure of a village/ward council that will provide direct interface between the people at the grass-root and the local governance for changing attitudes and promoting community drives.

    Union councils, Tehsil councils, and District councils have committees to monitor the performance of the district government at respective levels. The multi-layered and un-intrusive monitoring of the government performance by the elected representatives and citizens' community boards is expected to trigger improved governance and delivery of services throughout the district.

    A grade 20 officer of the civil service will coordinate the functioning and performance of all the district offices. District offices of the line departments have been grouped for synergy into about twelve offices headed by executive district officers. The division, a purely administrative tier between the province and the districts will be wound up and most of the administrative authority of the divisional departments devolved to the local level of the district. For efficient and transparent administration, functions and authority of the office of the deputy commissioner have been deconcentrated into the offices of administration, revenue, and magistracy. The office of a district Ombudsman has been established for redress of grievances of the people against the district administration including its executive head, the District Nazim.

    Local Government financial system envisages formula-based fiscal transfers to the districts through provincial finance awards. In addition, the districts will be allowed local taxation from a specified list of taxes but to promote trade and commerce in the country there will be no import or export tax or tax on movement of goods through a district. Planning in the district will travel up from unions to districts and equitable resource distribution flow down from districts to unions. The system of transparency will provide an easy access to information held in public offices. A system of incentives will provide a mechanism of reward/retribution for the government functionaries based on monitoring by citizens' bodies and elected representatives.

    District police has been objectively restructured. An academy-trained officer of the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police will head the police station. The District Police Officer will be responsible to District Nazim for law and order. The District Public Safety Commission will prevent unlawful or motivated use of police by the District Nazim. A Police Complaints Authority will address serious complaints against police. To bring transparency, prosecution has been separated from the police. Similarly, investigation has been functionally separated from the law and order part of the district police.

    An important aspect of the plan is the provision of justice at the doorstep. Multiple types of courts are proposed as part of judicial reforms to ensure speedy and affordable justice through the district judiciary. Conciliation courts have been introduced in every union for resolution of disputes at the community level.

    Following the bottom-up approach, the government is now working on devolution of power and responsibility from the federation to the provinces. The establishment of effective local governments in districts and strengthening the autonomy of provinces will provide a strong base for genuine and durable democracy in the country.


    Election Commission announced local elections on December 31:

    Pakistan's Election Commission announced a first phase of elections for local bodies in 18 selected districts in the country. Voting will be held on December 31, with candidates asked to submit nomination papers from December 2 to 5, Pakistan's Election Commission announced in Islamabad. Results are to be declared on January 6, five days after the polling ends for electing representatives for the village-based bodies


      LB polls in 18 districts on 31st: Results on Jan 6