With local government elections taking place on a party basis for district councils across the province, the poll results are likely to affect power and governance dynamic in K-P in the long run. The rest of the lower-tier councils will be elected on a non-party basis.
From Peshawar – where the province’s sole city district government will be elected – as many as 582 candidates will be contesting from 92 wards. Of these 336 will be vying for city district council seats on tickets issued by various political parties, the rest will be independent candidates. According to documents of district wards available with The Express Tribune, the city district council will have 138 seats – 92 general, 31 reserved for women, five for non-Muslims, five for peasants/workers and five for the youth.
Of the 582 candidates contesting general councillor seats, only four are women. Nelofar Basit, contesting independently from Khalisa-1, Naila Jehanzeb contesting on an ANP ticket from Andar Sheher, Fakharun Nisa, contesting independently from Hayatabad 2 and Neelam Nawaz, contesting independently from Dag.
The city district council, once formed, will be responsible for a significant portion of the local government in Peshawar. In addition to various functions delegated to K-P’s district councils by the LG Act 2013, the council in Peshawar will have other functions and responsibilities as well.
District councils’ functions
According to the LG Act, a district government would consist of a district council and the district administration made up of devolved offices (education, health, etc). The nazim would be the executive while the council would be responsible for ensuring the local government is run in accordance with the law.
The district council would have the power to approve taxes mentioned in the Act; approve development plans and budget proposals for the district government; elect district accounts committee to audit funds available to local set-up and their spending; form joint committees of village and neighbourhood councils to oversee working of government offices, district government offices and municipal offices; and form a committee to ensure the district council members follow a code of conduct. Among several other responsibilities, the district council would also make recommendations to improve the care of disadvantaged and marginalised segments of society.
City district council
Along with these, the additional responsibilities of the city district government of Peshawar would include the approval of proposals for public transport and mass transit systems; construction of transport networks, and management of the city’s urban planning. It will also be responsible for development schemes for beautification, development of systems for water reservoirs and water sources and as well as ensuring provision of municipal services such as drainage, waste disposal and sanitation.
The city district government would also ensure environmental pollution levels are controlled in accordance with federal and provincial laws and standards. It would also be empowered to approve and manage urban development such as town planning and creation of parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities such as museums, art galleries, libraries and community centres, along with several other responsibilities.
Peshawar’s district-level local bodies will have additional functions, responsibilities. DESIGN: TALHA AHMED KHAN
After the polls
One of the most important sectors meant to be devolved in the initial phase after polls is education.
Others include health, community development; sports and culture; revenue and estate as well as social welfare. In later phases, rural development, livestock, agriculture as well as finance and budgeting of devolved offices, among others will also be devolved to the district government.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2015.
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