President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday said the local government was an effective governance system providing for devolution of power and resources besides featuring easy access to public. The president, addressing the concluding session of two-day National Conference 2021 on Local Democracy: Moving Forward, said as per constitution, the local government was a provincial subject. He said the constitution had mention of local government system for around 22 times however binding the provinces to set up the system and the state had a role to encourage.
He said since inception, the country had witnessed an old struggle of power and resources as every government tried to achieve maximum of both. He said giving a historic account of local government system, he said Ayub Khan had introduced BD system to serve own vested interests. He said the local government system existed even some 3000-4000 years ago as the evidence of communal living had been found in Moenjodaro remains making Indus civilization the only one to have such organized system including planned roads, sewerage and even toilets.
He said though the local government was a devolved subject; however it was essential to implement it in accordance with the constitutional spirit for resolution of public issues without any hassle. President Alvi, who earlier distributed souvenirs among the heads of local councils associations, told the gathering of elected local government representatives to identify the problems, learn from past mistakes, carry out future planning and ensure effective implementation.
Referring to the Islamic history, the president said whenever the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) assigned some responsibility to anyone, he strictly advised him to keep up public contact, adjust the living standard as per the people to know their problems. The president said the local government system featured 5Ds including devolution of power, distribution of resources, diffusion of authority, deconcentration of management and decentralization of service cadre.
Head of Operations of European Union Ovidiu Mic said the EU highly valued the local government system as citizen’s participation in democracy and decision making would bring about effective governance.
He said being close to people, the local government was also a catalyst to development. Chairman Local Councils Association of Punjab Tahir Iqbal Chaudhry, President Association for Development of Local Governments in Pakistan Rajan Sultan Pirzada, President of Local Councils Association of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Himayatullah Mayar also addressed the gathering.