Constitutional provisions & ordinances

A RECENT headline in Dawn said: “Gilani says local governments illegal, unconstitutional”.

From the above statement of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani it appears that he is ignoring constitutional provisions and federal government ordinances. To refresh his memory, I quote the respective provisions in the Constitution and ordinances:

1) Article 140 A of the constitution states: “Each province shall by law establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments” (not administrators).

2) Article 175 (3) states: “The judiciary shall be separated progressively from the executive within 14 years from the commencing day”.

3) Federal Government Ordinance 2001 for Local Governments, Section 159 states: “Provided that a local government notwithstanding the expiry of its term of office shall continue to hold office until the successor local government assumes office.” It may be noted that this ordinance is covered by the 17th amendment of the constitution passed by the parliament.

From the above it is quite clear that if through any ordinance the local government is dissolved before October 2009 or even after it would be illegal, unlawful and mala fide against which any citizen of Pakistan could go to the apex judiciary to set aside the ordinance for dissolving local governments.

In the first year of the changed system (devolution of power to the grassroots level) bumper crops of wheat and cotton were produced because of a better water management system, i.e. lining of canals and watercourses. Above all the upsurge of the economy of the country after the introduction of the system is well-manifested by foreign reserves, rising from million to billions and the parity of the dollar remained constant at Rs60 to a dollar, which has now risen to Rs83 to a dollar.

It is unfortunate that our media — both print as well as electronic, which is said to be the fourth pillar of democracy, is not highlighting the benefits and the prosperity accrued by the country after the induction of authority of the people to the grassroots level.

I want to ask the PM that in the present war-like situation in the country is it not logical that the local government system, which is democratic in the real sense, should be allowed to work now and continue until the next local government election is held on a non party basis as in the past two elections?

S.M. ZAKERYA KAZMI Ex-MNA

Karachi

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