KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Thursday proposed a detailed local government law that ‘promised’ authority and power to grassroots level reflecting true essence of democracy and offered opportunity to elected representatives at lower level to take up ownership of development and revenue collection.
The MQM leaders held a detailed meeting of their parliamentary party in the Sindh Assembly and later addressed the media in the assembly building mentioning the “detailed and well-researched document”, which they believe would pave the way for the people’s participation in the resolution of their civic problems and share burden of authorities at the higher level to a large extent.
Senior MQM-P leader Kunwar Naveed Jamil flanked by Mohammad Hussain and other MPAs of the party, said that the party had also set up an advisory board with representation of professionals and experts from different walks of life to ascertain key problems being faced by the local government system and suggest their solutions.
“When we claim to be a part of the democratic system we need to prove it through our moves and actions,” said Mr Jameel.
“The local bodies system is the key indicator of democratic depth in a society. If the local government system of any country doesn’t have participation of its people, then how that country can claim itself a democracy? We need to think beyond our political ideology and gains. We need to think for the people of this province and the country. If we fail again, the already fragile democratic system will no more be effective for the people.”
Forms an advisory board of professionals and experts to point out key problems of LG system and their solutions
He said the advisory board set up by the party would take opinion from all segments of society and build a strong momentum for resolution of problems being faced by both the urban and rural parts of Sindh.
If the Constitution, he added, required any amendment for “empowering” the local bodies in real manner, the political forces should not hesitate to join hands for this crucial initiative.
PPP criticised for 18th Amendment
He blamed the Sindh government of the Pakistan Peoples Party for keeping all powers under the garb of 18th Amendment and regretted that no one was taking ownership of Karachi, leaving the city of over 20 million people helpless and abandoned.
MPA Mohammad Hussain, who once headed the local bodies’ ministry of the province in the party’s coalition with the PPP government, shared details of the proposed local government act, which he said would bring all international practices in exercise, which strengthen parliamentary democracy in development of nations.
‘Negation’ of Article 148-A
“The current system negates Article 148-A of the Constitution which asks for power and authority to municipal and local institutions,” he said. “The first schedule of our proposal suggests 33 and 17 institutions put under the local bodies which deal with public services in a direct and an indirect way, respectively. Similarly, the proposal identifies 27 taxes which can be regulated from top KMC [Karachi Metropolitan Corporation] to UC [union council] levels. It makes UC chairman an authority to impose tax and generate revenue for development of their area. Under the current system our UCs don’t have funds other than salaries of the staff.”
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2020