As part of its national campaign, SPO organized a Round Table Dialogue on “Balochistan Local Government Act” in Quetta. MPAs, both men and women, civil society representatives , media and leaders of political parties attended the event. Secretary Local Government Board and representatives from Health and Education departments also attended the event. 18 members of the provincial assembly participated in the discussion on the local government law of the province. More than a dozen women participants also shared their views in the event. Dr. Jahanzaib Jamaldini Senior Vice President BNP-M, Mr. Abdul Khalique Hazara, Chairman Hazara Democratic Party, Mr. Ubaidullah Abid, Vice President ANP , Jamal Shah Kakar from Pakistan Muslim League-N and Ms. Sakina Abdullah from PTI also shared their views on the law.
Secretary Local Government Board Mr. Faysal Jamal highlighted key features of the recently amended Local Government Act of Balochistan. Mr. Jamal elaborated that 17 chapters and 158 sections have been amended. Naseer Memon shared a comparison of BLGA with other provincial laws of Sindh and Punjab. He admired that GoB has allocated 33% seats for women. He however suggested that women should be given a chance to contest direct elections rather than indirect elections which deprives women from marginalized groups to get right of representation. He also indicated some ambiguities in some of the articles of the law and suggested to bring more clarity. Mr. Niaz Ahmed, Deputy Country Director of Democracy Reporting International (DRI), Pakistan shared recommendations of DRI regarding the law.
Women participants emphasized that local government system is backbone of any democratic government and women should be given proper representation. Ms. Yasmeen Lehri MPA suggested that there should be a parliamentary committee to review the local government act and there is dire need to develop a mechanism to ensure transparency at each level in the local government election. Dr. Jehanzaib Jamaldini (BNP-M), Mr. Khalique Hazara (HDP) and Mr. Ubaidullah Abid suggested that there are some anomalies in the BLGA, and provincial government should consult with people of the province to incorporate their suggestions. Presiding the discussion, Sardar Raza Mohammed Barech of PKMAP suggested that local government system is pro-people and people friendly. He said that provincial government believes that basic services should be provided at doorstep to all the people. He assured that law can be further amended if GoB receives concrete proposals. He also shared that the provincial government will approach all stakeholders to seek their inputs to improve the law.