PESHAWAR: As a veteran of the 2002 local government, Abdul Baqi thinks devolved systems could prove to be very powerful if implemented properly. The former nazim of Maryamzai union council 55 comes with reservations and hindsight tinged with experience.
Baqi, who is associated with Awami National Party, tells The Express Tribune the local government set-up is the best way to govern as it allows power to trickle through to the lowest tiers. “Devolution of power to the grass roots is what is crucial; people need assistance with police stations and courts. Construction of dams is a secondary issue.”
Yet devolution is questionable in a system where the chief minister holds considerable sway over the nazim, says Baqi. He points out how some aspects of the current local government plans are weaker than the one he worked under.
“I do not know why those drafting the law did not set an education criteria for candidates,” says Baqi. This leaves candidates unequipped to eventually manage affairs when they come into power. “How will they find the confidence to fight for what their people want?”
His advice to voters? Vote for representatives who live where they are contesting from.
He says candidates stand from villages but actually live in the city. “People residing outside their constituencies should have been disqualified,” he added. “I have served as a nazim and a naib nazim of a union council and was always available for my people.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2015.
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