Punjab Local Bodies, a political dilemma

Written by The Frontier Post

The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to probe the delay in the restoration of local bodies in the Punjab province. A two-member Supreme Court bench heard the case of delay in restoration of local governments in Punjab. During the hearing, the counsel for the Punjab government submitted the notification relating to the restoration of local bodies in the province. However, the court expressed dissatisfaction over issuance of incorrect instruments by the Punjab government for restoration of local governments. Whereas, while speaking at the occasion, the petitioner’s counsel informed the court that the Punjab government had maintained in the Lahore High Court that it could not implement the court’s orders on restoration of local governments. The court sought records of the LHC’s legal proceedings on the case on the next date of hearing.

After the incorporation of the 18th amendment in the constitution of Pakistan, the local government system has become a provincial subject in the country. In fact, the ruling parties in the all federation units are the major hurdles in implementation of a public centred, service deliverable and non-political local government system in the provinces because such a type of local administrative mechanism does not suit their peculiar political needs. The Pakistani political elite conceives it’s strength from its stronghold in local bodies through tactful exploitation of basic needs of the public including provision of utility services and Police culture at constituency level. Therefore, Provincial governments are running the business of local bodies according to the needs of their parties instead of public requirements. According to reports, earlier Buzdar government has refused to restore local bodies despite order from the Lahore High Court only due to fear that if it holds elections for local governments in the province, PTI might lose its grip in the local affairs of major cities of the province which could be a big blow to it in coming general election. Therefore, the Punjab government is avoiding restoration of local government in the province on one or other pretext.

Although, Chief Justice vowed to penalise the individual responsible for the delay in restoration of local institutions, however, the ruling political elite in collaboration with Bureaucracy has specialities in mining dimi notifications and ordinances to avoid the lawful verdict of the honourable Court against them.

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The Frontier Post