On 5th August 2013 a Conference was held by SPO with its consortium partners (Sungi, SAP Pakistan, Aurat Foundation) on Local Government System which the new Government is formulating. The Conference was held at Pearl Continental Hotel, Peshawar. People from different walks of life, civil society members,former Nazims and political leaders participated in it. The following were the guest speakers for the event:
Dr. Muhammad Tufail (SPO),ManzoorQaiser (CEO Sungi),ShabbirTunio (LG Expert),HimayatULLAHMayar (Ex Nazim and Ex MNA Mardan),YousafAyub (Ex NazimHaripur and Minister),Dr.Iqbal Khalil (Ex Naib Nazim Peshawar),AzamAfridi (Ex Nazim Peshawar),ShaziaTahmas (Politician),AnisaZaibTahirkheili (Poltician),Mr.Sikandar (SAP.PK)
Dr. Tufail welcomed the participants and introduced the AAWAZ program to the audience. He emphasized on the point of recognizing LG as the third tier of governance which will promote more development and prosperity in Pakistan. He stated that the latest Supreme Court’s decision has paved the way for the implementation of the LG system. LG system he highlighted is a cause that the civil society has been struggling to implement for more than 20 years. AAWAZ, he highlighted is a program that is aimed towards creating a balanced participatory democratic system that will eventually seek the betterment of all of its citizens.
Mr. Mazoor Qaiser took up the rostrum after Dr. Tufail and further elaborated on the AAWAZ program and its main activities. He pointed out that LG system is the basis of democracy and is necessary for balanced participation of all citizens. He emphasized, civil society was the pioneer group that spear headed this movement whereas politicians and dictators always had tendencies towards maintaining a centralized government.
It was all speakers’ consensus that the LG System should be implemented because the system which we have today was introduced by the British Empire for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the masses. It is a legacy which has been exploited by ruling elites and dictators throughout the history of Pakistan. The speakers also highlighted that representation of women, non-muslims and other excluded groups is very minimal and should be increased/balanced. According to them, Pakistan’s biggest problem is the gap between citizens and their government.The LG system he emphasized can fill this gap. They advocated for the implementation of the LG system as it can solve local disputes & problem at grass root level and also give people a sense of holding the people they elect accountable. All speakers after thanking the hosts & audience vowed to give their full support to make sure that the local government legislation is passed in the provincial assembly and ensures balanced participation by including excluded groups.