ISLAMABAD, November 6
(Internews): Under the next phase of devolution of power plan, the federal
government in Pakistan will downsize its ministries and divisions whose
counterparts existed in the country's
Federal Minister for Local Government Omar Asghar Khan said in remarks
published Monday that minimum staff would be retained to run the federal
ministries like education and health and the funds saved allocated to
provinces for undertaking various development projects.
Answering a question about the fate of the employees rendered surplus
due to the exercise, he said they would be sent to the surplus pool and
a decision about their future would be taken later. The strength of
staff would be rationalised even at provincial and district level, he
"In the past, all financial resources were concentrated in Islamabad but
the current government would transfer them to provinces which would
distribute them among the districts," Khan said.
About the time frame set for the completion of transitory period for
local councils, Khan said the councils had started functioning from
August 17 last. The issues affecting their working were being solved by
the four provinces according to their specific requirements, he added.
Relying to another question, he said so far there was no need to give
constitutional cover to the new district government system. "It is a
provincial subject and the federal government will intervene only if it
feels that a third tier of government is required in the country."
Admitting that there were loopholes in the new system, he said the
success of the system depended upon its working.
He said the Local Government Commission would be made functional soon
for checking deviation by the district governments from rules and
The devolution committee of the chief executive was also analysing the
feedback received from various quarters and was making amendments in the
devolution plan accordingly, Khan said, adding a report would soon be
prepared to set parameters for the new system.
Speaking at a workshop on National Consultation on Good Governance at a
local hotel, the minister said the local bodies ordinance was not the
final word and amendments might be introduced in it keeping in view
He urged the elected representatives to take initiative in solving
problems of the people of their respective areas instead of waiting for
provision of funds and completion of business rules.
About checks and balances in the new system, he said 50 per cent members
of public safety commissions would be nominated by the district nazim
and the rest would be selected from various walks of life. District
Ombudsmen were also being appointed shortly who would be men of
integrity, he added.
About the representation of women councillors in various committees,
Omar Asghar Khan said it had been decided in principal that women would
be given one-third representation on all forums and committees in the
new system. If there was any violation of the principal, a voice must be
raised against it, he added.
He stressed that steps should be taken to make the elected
representatives literate so that they could learn about their powers and
About the ban on political activities in the country, he said work on
holding general elections was continuing and the ban on political
activities would be lifted at a suitable time.
He said that a reasonable time would be given to the political parties
for the preparation of elections. -Internews