On The Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2021
The Local Councils Associations of Pakistan (LCA Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and ADLG) are playing their vital role to strengthen local democracy, enhancing leadership role, empowering networking for experience sharing, discussing common issues and finding possible solutions, raising united voices for more decentralization and endeavouring to ensure sustainable local governments across Pakistan. Worldwide, it is strongly believed that strong local government associations could be instrumental for effective united voices not only to develop consensus on common challenges and local solutions to local governments but to enhance the capacity and leadership role of councillors for municipal service deliveries and ensure dignified life of citizens also.
In a fragile state of local governments across Pakistan, local councils associations are struggling to establish local democracy at all levels. This includes implementation of constitutional articles 140-A, 32 and 37-I, cases in the high and supreme courts, engaging media and influential civil society, mainstream political parties, relevant bureaucracy and donor community. Within the structures of the association, district executive committees one in each district of Pakistan comprising at least thirty representative councillors aim to meet regularly to discuss and lean on above mention agenda items. The immediate past councillors still are community leaders, constituents have great trust in them, and ask them for support to solve their petty and major issues those not allowing healthy and dignified life. Essentially, in the absence of elected local government, they have fewer opportunities to meet on regular basis, however, district executive committees under the forum of local councils associations still have a place to meet, discuss and react to emerging challenges.
Relevancy of action
Local Councils Association of the Punjab, in partnership with Commonwealth Local Government Forum, European Union, LCA Baluchistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Association for Development of Local Governance are endeavouring to strengthen the institutional capacity of the associations to contribute to good governance and local development. Under expected result areas of two and four of the programs, it was envisioned to increase local government leaders’ understanding of effective leadership, capacity and knowledge for sustainable local development.
In the prevailing situation, it has become more important. The committees of the associations must meet regularly to discuss, engage media and stakeholders to influence decision-makers to return to local democracy across Pakistan. Moreover, all four provinces are introducing new dimensions and policies for local governments aiming to empower local governments. During the district executive committee meetings, the champions of local government would also have the opportunity to know about the new structures, eligibility of candidates and how to run for elections. The data collected from the district executive committee sessions can be used to formulate effective strategies to lobby and advocate for the restoration of local democracy.
The overall objective of the district executive committee meetings is to enhance understanding of the main features of new laws of local governments, enhance their role to raise voice for elections and realize the decision-makers about the miseries of community in the absence of elected local governments.
The specific objectives are;
To share latest development regarding local government laws, cases in courts, the intentions of governments, the election commission of Pakistan and efforts of local councils associations;
- To increase knowledge and understating on new local government laws, sensitize and realize to local media, community and government functionaries on the importance of local governments;
- To enhance inclusion of marginalized segment of the society essentially of women in the coming local government elections.
Detail of the Activities
The overall objective of the district executive committee meeting is to enhance understanding of main features of new laws of local governments, enhance their role to raise collective voices for elections and to realize the decision-makers about the miseries of community in the absence of elected local governments
Mr Anwar Hussain, CEO LCA Punjab, conducted this meeting as an Expert. The specific objective of this meeting was to share the latest development regarding local government laws in Punjab, the intentions of governments, the election commission of Pakistan and efforts of local councils’ associations, also to increase knowledge and understating on new local government law (Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2021) and the importance of local governments.
The designated local government member from the respective district convened the workshop to support fellow LG members held under the Project supported by the CLGF and the European Union. The trained LG members will educate more LG members from the lower tier to have an understanding of the new legislation.
The main features from the Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2021 were highlighted that include, Methods of elections, Composition of Councils and Functions of Councils and Eligibility of candidates for LG election.
It was then discussed that the term of the revived local governments in Punjab is going to be expired on 1st January 2022 and the commission was under constitutional and legal obligation to hold the local bodies polls within 120 days of the expiry of the tenure. The participants have appraised the efforts of LCA Punjab for working as a bridge between Government and Opposition parties to form better legislation of LG.
The expected outcomes of this workshop were that councillors will step forward effectively in the Local Government system, will amend the policies that left some drawbacks in the previous tenure, will have a better understanding of the new system, functions of councils and their responsibilities as councillors.
Pictorial representation of the ongoing awareness sessions on LG Legislation.