PESHAWAR: The newly elected nazims of the 24 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday expressed concern over the delay in issuance of rules of business for the district government.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Inayatullah Khan said these rules would be in notified within the next seven to 10 days.
The nazims from all the districts had gathered in provincial capital for a two-day orientation workshop. The inaugural ceremony of the event was addressed by Inayatullah Khan, Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani and Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan.
Speaking on the occasion, Inayatullah announced that rules of business for the recently formed local governments have been prepared and would be issued soon so that the district governments could start working formaly.
“Several detailed meetings have been held on the rules of business. The regulations have been prepared and would be issued in the next seven to 10 days,” he said while talking to reporters.
About the rules, he said it was too early to share the details. However, he said that the police in the rules have been made operationally autonomous, but would be accountable to respective district councils. Similarly, there would be focus on strengthening the public safety commissions, he said.
The minister urged the local government representatives to focus all energies and resources on the wellbeing and uplift of their people and areas to make the local government system a success.
He said the district governments won’t face complications in getting development funds. He added that allocations of funds amounting to Rs42 billion have been made for the district governments in the budget.
“This year the district governments would get Rs30 billion for the development activities along with the remaining Rs12 billion to be taken from certain provincial liabilities,” he said.
The liabilities of the provincial government would be done away with from the next financial year, he added.
The minister said that a formula would be evolved for the vertical distribution of funds among various districts on the basis of population, poverty, underdevelopment and infrastructural development.
He said the formula would be developed by the provincial finance commission, which would have representation of district and tehsil nazims.
He termed it a great achievement in the political history of the country that a democratic government had introduced the local government system.
“In the past military dictators used to form local governments to establish a constituency for themselves. The political governments were reluctant to form the local governments because they didn’t want to share their powers with others,” he argued.
“We would have to share powers at the grassroots level if we want to become a developed nation,” he stressed.
He said under the local government system the district representatives would get the powers of transfer and postings at the district level. However, he urged the nazims not to waste their energy on transfers and postings and instead focus their attention on their real goal of development of their areas.
Inayatullah asked the nazims to come up with vision and mission for the uplift of their areas and avoid confrontation. “The laws and rules made by the provincial government are not sacred documents. They could be reviewed any time through consensus,” he remarked.
Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government didn’t believe in discrimination and it would ensure equitable release of funds to all the districts irrespective of the political affiliation of the local governments there.
Meanwhile, the district nazims participating in the workshop expressed concern over the absence of rules of business due to which they could not start their functions formally even a month after formation of the district governments.
Himayatullah Mayar, Mardan district nazim, said their role and functions had not been properly explained in the Local Government Act. He claimed there were ambiguities in the act.
“Where are the rules of business? When would these be issued? The government should have finalised them before formation of the district governments,” he maintained.
He also expressed concern over the non-representation of district and tehsil representatives in the Local Government Commission, which is a monitoring and regulatory body.
“We fear the provincial government would use this forum for victimisation of its political rivals. The government should give representation to the district and tehsil nazims in this body to ensure transparency and fair-play,” argued Himayatullah Mayar, who belongs to Awami National Party.