‘Government not serious in devolving power to people at grass-roots level’ | Pakistan Today

‘Government not serious in devolving power to people at grass-roots level’

Abolishment of Local Government Ordinance (LGO) 2001 shows that the government is not serious in devolving power to people at the grass-roots level and giving relief to the poor. This was observed by speakers at a convention held under the banner of ‘Jeevay Pakistan Jeevay Maqami-Hakoomat’ (JPJM) on Wednesday.
The speakers severely criticising the imposition of the commissionerate system and the revival of Police Act 1861 in Sindh and reaffirmed their commitment to continue protesting until the provincial government withdraws its decision. Former National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) chairman and JPJM chief Daniyal Aziz was the chief guest at the convention, which the district administration tried to sabotage by releasing water at the venue and threatening the management of the convention a day earlier.
Besides thousands of people, former local government representatives from all over Sindh, members of citizen community boards, civil society activists, representatives of press and bar associations and leaders of local council associations attended the convention.
Speaking on the occasion, Aziz called upon President [Asif Ali] Zardari to think about the poor as poverty, inflation and unemployment have destroyed the country’s economy. “The Pakistan People’s Party [claims to be] a party for the common man and should not be made the party of the Zardari family, he said, adding that like Egypt, Syria and Bahrain, a revolution is heading towards Pakistan that will change the life of common man in the country.
Demanding the government stops undemocratic tactics by denying fundamental political rights of people and fully implements the 18th Amendment in letter and spirit, he said that those trying to create hurdles in the way of the future of Pakistan’s Constitutional obligations and democracy cannot succeed.
“By reviving the LGO 1979 and Police Act 1861, the provincial authorities want to usurp political, administrative, financial and democratic rights of local government representatives ensured in Article 140A of the Constitution,” added Aziz.
“And by reviving the commissionerate system, the government has restarted the war between the executive and the judiciary, as the revival of the district magistrate office is also contrary to the idea of separation of judiciary from executive as ensured in the 1973 Constitution. The move is an unlawful act and contrary to the 18th Amendment, unanimously passed by the parliament.
“After the revival of commissionerate system, billions of rupees of developmental funds earmarked for local governments in the provincial budgets would be misused, opening a new arena of loot and plunder by some vested interests in politics and bureaucracy.
“With the enforcement of commissionerate system, authority and resources of union councils have been taken back and the money earmarked for common people at union, tehsil (taluka) and district levels have been snatched by the provincial government.
“Most of the institutions and departments established at district level to provide services to common people have been closed or handed over to the provincial government while the independence of judiciary has been challenged after reviving Police Act 1861,” said the former NRB chairman.
Accusing the Sindh government of hatching a conspiracy for usurping the developmental funds earmarked for Citizen Community Boards in the provincial budget, Aziz alleged that a plan has been made to embezzle the money specified for the development of rural areas.
He pointed out that besides providing funds to local governments under the Provincial Finance Commission, the existence of the commission has also been ceased.
Former Sukkur nazim and Local Council Association Sindh convener Nasir Shah, former Haripur nazim and LCA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Yousaf Ayub, former Quetta nazim and LCA Balochistan President Mir Maqbool Lehri, LCA Punjab President Asghar Shah Gilani and former Muzaffargarh nazim Malik Allah Yar among others also spoke on the occasion.

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