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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Local empowerments: A hope for the society

The confidence in people and society go further low once one age. The romanticism of youth and belief in idealism shatter once one starts to face the practicality of nepotism, exploitation and bribery. The naivety of youth screams hard when one looks around and sees how the wheels of the real world are spun.

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Disgusted, disgruntled rather disappointed to see the plague of self-perseverance and sham all around. No one seems to have confidence in others rather everyone thinks that someone is there to get him through his treachery and deceit. The confidence in people and society go further low once one age. The romanticism of youth and belief in idealism shatter once one starts to face the practicality of nepotism, exploitation and bribery. The naivety of youth screams hard when one looks around and sees how the wheels of the real world are spun, how the ruling elite has set up rules and regulations in their favor, how the educated elite works for the ruling elite and how a common man is left on the mercy of unjust cruelty of the system. Local empowerment is the only hope our society can rely on for a better future.

The faith among people has reduced and everyone sees the other with shades of doubt because no one sees justice happening in any institute. Rather, people remain scared that they should never encounter a hospital, police, or any kind of court. The belief has gone stronger over the years that no office can give any kind of justice and one can get away with anything if one is well connected, belonged to the elite, or have enough money to buy or bypass the system. With every passing day, the trust in the institutions is diminishing, it starts from the village police station, health, or school. People see and believe that this country belongs to the wealthy, and they are born to be ruled and abused by the powerful in any capacity.

Read more: Battling the challenge of dying faith in Pakistan’s youth

People have given up any hope that this unfair system will ever change

The ordinary men have now started to take refuge by being part of hooligan groups, may it be a political, religious party or may it be part of lawyer or doctors’ gang. They feel only group assault can get them justice. The worst part is that no one from the ruling elite wants to change or reform though they fully understand the weaknesses of the system. The elite in all forms is delusional that they can keep taking advantage of the loopholes built in the system over the years. There is a dire need for all the institutions starting from Parliament, Judiciary, Police, District management, Health, education, etc.

Local bodies’ elections and their empowerment can play a pivotal role in bringing reforms and justice to common people. The biggest hindrance in having empowered local governments and strong police is parliamentarians themselves as they still feel that their prime objective in being parliament is development funds rather than legislation. The provincial and national assemblies must get rid of this notion and only a lot which is interested in legislation or who can understand legislation must be part of the esteem institution. The local development, policing and providing basic needs such as clean water, health and education must be handed over to local governments.

Direct elections of mayors or District Nazim are key to people empowerment and people having belief in the institutions. There must be an ecosystem wherein different districts must compete with one another in service delivery. The policy-making must be done at the Federal and provincial levels and budgets must be allocated to different districts based on underdeveloped population and infrastructure.  It will reduce the burden of urban cities once people have basic amenities in their local areas. The local police and judiciary must be reformed and made independent of intervention. While local bodies must be empowered, the justice system and state must be seen acting against hooligans with stern hands. The distributed power will help create new political leadership and has the potential of creating new economic development across the country.

Read more: Understanding the term ‘Anti Establishment’ in Pakistan

The local government model has been institutionalized across the globe

However, its implementation in this country has remained a challenge as neither political parties nor the elite bureaucracy wants it implanted as they fear letting go of their powers and control over people. The political parties are scared that not only development funds will get out of their hands but also the new leadership from the districts will become a threat to the established political houses.

There would be many parliamentarians who will prefer to be part of the local governments than to be part of the legislative assembly which in a way is also a step in the right direction as eventually, only legal minds will be part of the federal and provincial legislative. The mayors or District Nazim will also create pressure on the political parties to have elections within the parties and one can hope that lifetime political leaders will be forced to retire, and probably new political leadership will emerge.

The local governments will give tough time to the establishment maneuvering as well. The so-called political sloganeering and media war against the establishment remains for power politics while conveniently all the parties and media ignore the essence of local governments. One can only hope that the local government system if properly empowered will eventually work for the welfare of the common man and bring the badly needed social reform.


Moied Javeed is a senior telecom executive in Pakistan and can be reached at mj@tptglobal.net. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.