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Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol.

3, Issue 6, January 2013

Political and Administrative Structure of Local Bodies in Pakistan A Case Study of City District Government Faisalabad
Saadia Saleem Mughees Ahmed

Abstract Pakistan has a poor data of democracy as for more than half of its years of existence after independence. It has been governed by the military. While the Military governments always created faults with the politicians. It was the basic reason; the Military Government always shaped the Local Government systems as per their own desires to prolong their regimes. Pakistan had experienced with two systems of Local Government before the present Devolution Plan. Historical, analytical and comparative approach is adopted in this discourse. Here an attempt is made to present a general view of such elements which resist change in local bodies system.

Key Words: Nazim, Naib Nazim, Tehsil, Zila

Contextual Analysis: Local institutions means sub units at the public level to which the government gives some authorities so that, they may be able to solve the local problems with the local resources.1 Local Bodies are a system of Government which provides the facilities to the people in specific areas but in Pakistan it is still in experimental stage.2Laski says, we cannot realize the full benefit of democratic government unless we begin by the admission that all problems are not central problems and that the results of problems not central; in their incidence require decision at the place and by the persons where and by whom the incidence is most deeply felt.3 Historical Notes: The history of Local Government elections inside Pakistan was started from the regime of General Ayub Khan (1959-1969). In 1959, he issued an Ordinance through which non-party Local Government Basic Democracy elections were held.

Basic Dem ocracies introduced

M.Phil. Scholar, Department of Pakistan Studies Government College University, Faisalabad. Chairman, Department of Political Science & International Relations. 1 Ahmed,Mughees Local-Bodies or Local -Biradari System: An Analysis of Role of Biradari in Local Bodies System in Punjab., Vol. XXX, No. 1, ISSAN 10127682, (Jan-June 2009), NIHCR. Islamabad, P. 81 2 Azam, Muhammad Chauhdary, (2005). Local Governments: Abdullah Brothers, Lahore; p.70.

Muhammad Asif Malik, Local Self Government in Pakistan, Lahore; Publishers, Emporium, 2006, p .16.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 the Local Government system in Pakistan but Basic Democracy system was destined to become less a means of local representation and more an arm of the bureaucracy.4

At the lower level the Local Government is a drill of democracy, and is the source of political education. In developing countries like Pakistan these institutions represent the powers of Local groups. Zia-ul-Haq, after coming into power, reviewed the system of Local Government and established this system on strong footings, which progressed step by step. 5 Local Government Ordinance (2001), Devolution Plan set up the National Reconstruction Bureau as a think tank. Its mission was to establish the real democracy in the country with the help of reconstructing the institutions of state. District Government, Town Councils, Union Councils, Village Councils and Citizen Community Boards wereplanned by the National Reconstruction Bureau. The District Assembly, the Nazim, the District Administration, the District Police, District Public Safety and Justice Committee formed the District. Chairmen of all Union councils in a District formed the District Assemble.6

City District Government, Faisalabad Structural Analysis

Devolution Power Plan was presented by Pervez MusharrafIn 2000. This was the policy for the reconstruction of Local Government. It was a plan to transfer the Devolution of Power and

Mahmood, Safdar,( 2000). Pakistan: Political Roots and Development 1947-1999. Oxford University Press; p. 79.

Jalal, Ayesha, (1995). Democracy & Authoritarianism in Pakistan: A comparative and historical perspective. Lahore: Sang-e-

Meel; p. 99. Callard,K.(1975).Pakistan: A Political Study. London: George Allen and Unwin; p.70. Talbot, I. (1998). Pakistan, A Modern History. New York: St. Martins Press; p.10.

Rizvi S A (1976). Changing Patterns of Local Govt. in Pakistan, A study in clashof ideas. IST Ed. Ideal Packages,

Karachi; pp. 28,38, .andSiddiqui, K. (1992). Local Government in South Asia, Dhaka: University Press Limited; p. 67.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 Responsibility to the grass root level. The basic principle of the Devolution Plan was that Local Government would function clearly within the provincial framework.7 For the strong Local Government system, the Provincial Local Government Ordinance, 2001 was included for the period of six month in the Sixth schedule of the Constitution. This ordinance can be amended by the president after discussion with the Prime Minister. Though the Devolution of Power & Responsibility and decentralization of authority was permanent development and convincing improvement in the delivery of services at the District level, would increase the image and efficiency of governments at the grassroots level .Because it was a important element of a good governance to provide a justice at the doorstep. The Local Government was based on five ground rules:
Devolution of political power Decentralization of administrative authority Deconcentration of management functions, Diffusion of the power authority nexus and Distribution of sources.

This plan gave the guarantee of the rights of the people and their participation in the community welfare. Provincial Local Government Ordinance, 2001 provided the framework for the Local Government in Faisalabad. This Local Government system introduced democracy at the grassroot level to serve as the foundation on which we could build the genuine democracy. Due to which power was given to the peoples representatives at all levels. The administrative setup was connected with responsibilities. These clear responsibilities provided protection against political interference. The administration worked under the elected head of the District because the effective check and balances was an integral part of the Local Government plan. Till the

Rafi Khan S (2004).

Pakistan under Musharraf (1999-2002)Economic reformand Political Change, Vanguard

Islamabad; p. 19.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 beginning of existing legal changes, the Constitution of Pakistan did not distinguish Local Government as separate tier of Government with their own powers and functions.8 This Local Government was shaped particularly to fulfill the requirements of the Districts. Local Governments was formed at three levels: District, Town and the Union. District government was consists of District (Zila) Nazim and District Naib Nazim, an elected body and its administrative structures. For the more active participation of the people in community development a grass roots organizations were established such as Village Councils / Neighborhood Councils and Citizen Community Boards. The overview of the distribution of basic structure of the set up of District Government is given in the below diagram.

1st tier 2nd tier 3rd tier




Union Council

Union Council

Union Council

Union Council





Source: National Reconstruction Bureau, 2001

Figure: I

The present Local Government system was introduced in 2001, for developing the democracy for strong supremacy and another objective was to transfer of power to the representative of people. For this purpose National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) was

Local Government Plan, 200, National Reconstruction Bureau, Government of Pakistan.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 established on 18 November, 1999. This Bureau was working on restoration of institutions that were shaped under the Local Government system. 9 The Devolution Programmed in Pakistan was established in five phases. During these phases elections were started from the smaller Districts towards the larger Cities and Districts. It was believed that each phase would improve the implementation of every coming phase. In the first phase the elections were held on 31st December, 2000 in the eight District of Punjab, Three District of Sindh and four District of K.P.K.and three District of Baluchistan. In the second phase the Local Bodies elections were held on 21st March, 2001 in the nine District of Punjab, five District of Sindh, five District of K.P.K. and one District of Baluchistan. In the third phase the Local Bodies elections were held on 31st May, 2001 in District of Punjab included Faisalabad District, two District of Sindh , one District of K.P.K. and five District of Baluchistan. In the fourth phase the Local Bodies elections were held in July 2001in the District of four Provinces and in fifth phase this elections were held in December 2001 in all provinces.10 The election in Faisalabad Division was held in third phase of the Local Body elections. Elections for the Union Councils were held on 31st May 2001, and for the District Government were held on 2nd and 8th August 2001. This election was conducted by the Chief Election Commissioner in pursuance of the Local Government Elections Order, 2000. President appointed him under Article 213 of the constitution of Pakistan. The blue print of Local Government was announced by the Chief Executive of Pakistan on 23 rd March, 2000, and final plan was announced on 14th August, 2001. In Faisalabad the elections of District Council was held on 8th August 2001. Local Government structure was to be put in place by 14th August 2001.This period post 14th August is called Transition Phase. This phase was for the proper transfer of power in the newly established District Government in Faisalabad.11 The transition process was important in ensuring the success of Devolution from the existing system to the New Local Government system. This phase needed the careful planning

National Reconstruction Bureau, 2001. Khan S R (2004). Pakistan under Musharraf (1999 2002). Economic reform and political Change. IST Ed. Vanguard Book: Islamabad; p. 12. 11 Sindh/ Balochistan/North West Frontier/Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2001.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 and better approach to implementation. The Provincial Governments established transition teams at the Faisalabad City at District level to ensure a smooth and trouble free operation. The National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) provided an initial set of transitional guidelines to Faisalabad Governments on February 22nd, 2001. But dueto changes in the law and a number ofdevelopment processestaking place, another transitional guideline was releasedon 14th June, 2001.12 The transition phase preparations completed on 11th March, 2001 when the NRB gave presentations to the Faisalabad Transition Teams. This included guidelines for collecting data through the National Reconstruction Information Management System (NARIM) data collection forms. These guidelines for the District Transition Reports were given on 15 June, 2001. For Faisalabad District Rs.47.5 million were approved for the transition process. This amount was broken up and Rs.45, 000 was given to each Union Council and Rs. 10.5 million was given to the District. The key objectives of the transition process were:
Ensured continuity of services during the transition phase Ensured that staff, facilities and logistics were identified Access funds for the transition period which was provided by the Federal Devolution Fund Ensured that the transition should be take place at a minimum cost. Ensured the improvement of services during the transition phase.

According to this plan the distribution of functions of the District Government is given in the table: Responsibilities of District Government Responsibilities

District Government
Primary &Secondary Education, Literacy


Niazi, M. A. ( 1994) . Local Bodies; the history, The Daily News on Friday, 30th September.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013

Health Roads Water Sewers & Sanitation Fire Services Parks & Playgrounds Animals Cultural & Sports Services Street Services Dispensaries & Local Hospitals District Roads Water Supply System Yes Yes Yes Slaughterhouses, Fairs Fairs, Cultural Events Street Lighting, Signals

Source: National Reconstruction Bureau,2001Table:


Yes = responsibility of City Districts

3.1. Political structure & system

Since August 2001 it had been a period of transition as well consolidation. The Local Government representative and elected Nazims relationship with MNAs/MPAs was very difficult one. Much heartburn was created due to this new political structure. The Local Government ordinance, 2001 had developed political power and decentralized administrative and financial authority for good governance and effective delivery of services through institutionalized participation of the people at grassroots level.13


Cheema A, Khaja I A and Qadir A (2004). Decentralization in Pakistan: Context, Content and Causes. Kennedy School

Working Paper Number: RWP05-034.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013

Political Decentralization Indicators:

Indicators Political Decentralization


Macro( Local)

Importance of elected bodies in sector policy formulation

Multi-part elections



Elected Local Governments Secret ballot in Local elections Impartiality of the Judiciary Elections held at regular intervals Election free and fair

Importance of elected bodies in sector service delivery

Importance of elected bodies in decisions about levels of sector funding

Source: Charlton, Jackie et al., 2002

Table: 2

The dominating ideology in a society played an important role to understand the structure of the political system at national as well as Local level. Local Body system had linked with Local biradaries. This relation played an important role during general elections and influenced the result at Local level. Andrew Wilders opinion on Local Bodies and its role:
The 1985 National and Provincial Assemblies elections demonstrated that Local Body politics had become the entry point into Provincial and National politics. According to one press account 124 of the 240 members elected to the Punjab Provincial Assembly were sitting members of Local Body. It meant that Provincial and National politics began to resemble Local Body politics. Patronage politics became the order of the day, and representing personal and constituent interests became much more important for legislators than

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013

representing national interests and this put the PPP, which had not actively participated in Local Body politics, at a severe disadvantage.14

The social system of Faisalabad was dominant by caste system. Local identities and local issues were the part of the politics of Faisalabad. Their political loyalties were attached with their family and biradari. In Faisalabad political parties except Muslim League (N&Q)had not been taking interest in Local Bodies election but they take part in the election of of 2002 in forms of group with different names. Millat Party ( Sher Dad Group), Jamat Islami ( Ihtsaab group), PML-N ( Quaid-i-Azam group), Pakistan Awami Tehreek( Awami group) , PML- HK (Istehkam-e- Pakistan group) , Tehreek Insaf ( Insaf group) and more than 80% male and female candidates were directly attached with political parties their loyalties was related with their political parties. In Faisalabad these Local Groups became active and participated as a representative of political parties during general elections of 2001.

Results of the Elected Representatives for Faisalabad District

Place Faisalabad District Faisalabad City Town Samundari Town Tandlian Wala Town Jhumra Town Jaranwala Tehsil Sadar Nazim Ch. Zahid Nazir Mumtaz Ahmad Cheema Rana Farooq Saeed Ali Gohar Fawad Ahmad Cheema Major(R)Abdul Rehman Rana Misbah-ud-Din Zagham Naib Nazim Muhammad Afzal Sahi Muhammad Ilyas Ansari Abdul Hameed Shamsher Haider Watoo Tariq Mehmood Rai Nasir Hussain Dr. Yasin Votes 2596 797 255 223 152 350 466

Source: Dawn, August 2, 2005

Table: 3

In August 2002, the District Government of Faisalabad was consists of District Nazim, District Naib Nazim, and the District Administration. The Naib District Nazim was the speaker of the District Council and the District Nazim was notthe member of the Council. The Provincial Government interfered in the elections of District Nazims because the seats of Nazim were distributed between the major biradaries and these biradaries were in the majority in the District . So this biradari system had a major say in the political arena of Faisalabad.

Wilder, A. R.(1999). The Pakistani Voter: Electoral Politics and Voting Behavior in the Punjab. Karachi: Oxford University Press; p.133.

Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 The basic part of the Local Government political system and structure formed by the election at Union level. At that level the election were held directly. The direct elections in a Union not only shaped the Union Council but also directly elected District Nazims and Naib Union Nazims.15

Total number of town wise elected seats in city District Government Faisalabad

S# Name of the Town

No. of Union

Total No. of Councilors

Total No. Of Councilors of in all Union Councils in the Town 195 741 364 364 533 559 507 494 3757

Councils in the Elected Town 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Chak Jumera Jarranwala Tandianwala Sumundri Madina Iqbal Jinnah Lyallpur Total Town Town Town Town Town Town Town Town 15 57 28 28 41 43 39 38 289

each Union Council 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13 13

Source: National Reconstruction BureauTable:

The District Nazim and Naib Nazim elected as joint candidates through the vote of Nazim and Naib Nazim of all Union Councils of a District. There was seats reserved for 5% for Peasants/ labourers, 33% for women and 5% for minority candidates. In fact the Decentralization process was based on the concept of contributory. The goal of the system was that the actual problems of the people would be solved at their doorstep and this thing would improve the quality of governance. Although the Local government brought the significant change in the performance of elected representative because the local councils


Ahmad Sultan, ( 1997), Public Administration: With Special Reference to Pakistan. Lahore: Famous Books; p.339.


Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 monitor their performance and holding of the second term elections on time was a clear indication of the acceptance of the system and support of the Government by the people.16 Total No. of Women Seats in the 8- Towns in the District = 96 Total No. Of Women Seats in the Union Council = 96

Total No. Of Women Seats of Councils in the City District =1156 Total No. Of Women Seats in the City District=1348

The election at the Union level formed the backbone of the political system and structure of Local Government of Faisalabad. AT that level election was direct .This direct election formed the Union Council. Each Union Council was consiss of 26 elected members. Out of these 26 were general seats, 8 seats for males and 8 seats for females. Nazim was the head of the Union Council. Union Council were extended to Urban areas in the District for the equal participation of Local representative of political parties. This thing equalized the level of Local representation presented to Urban and Rural areas. AT the District level Nazim and Naib Nazim of all the Union Council elected the District Nazim and District Naib Nazim. Similarly this electoral college elected peasant (5%) , women (33%) and minority candidates. The New set up of Local Bodies working under Punjab Local Govt. Ordinance 2001amended 2005 which came into force w.e.f.14-08-2001. Previous Local Bodies were working under Punjab Local Govt. Ordinance 1979 which is repealed now.In the New Local Council System 5City Districts in the Punjab had been declared.


Local Govt. Election Held on 25-08-2005

Union Council Faisalabad

Election of City District Nazim Oath Taking of City District Nazim Election of Naib Nazim City District

06-10-2005. 17-10-2005 28- 12-2005.

Siddiqui, A (2000). Local Self Government. IST ed. Ever- new Book Palace, Lahore; p. 150.


Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 Run of election of Naib Nazim City District Oath Taking of Naib Nazim City District 19-01-2006 23-01-2006

Composition of Union Council City District Govt. Faisalabad

Total No. of 33% Special Seat Lady Members of Union Council Total No. Of 5% Special Seat Peasant / Labour Members of Union Council Total No. Of 5% Special Seat Minority Members of Union Council Total No. Of Union Council Members 96 14 14 413

Town wise detail of members of Union Council Faisalabad

S# Name Town of the No. Union Councils Of No. Lady of No. of Peasant No. /labour Minority of Members Of Total No. Of Members of

members of Members Union

of Union Council

Union Council Union Council in the Town in the Town

Council in in the Town the Town 1 Chak Town 2 Jarranwala Town 3 Tandianwala Town 4 Sumundri Town 5 Madina Town 6 Iqbal Town 7 Jinnah Town 8 Lyallpur 38 13 02 39 13 02 43 14 02 41 14 02 28 09 01 28 09 01 57 19 03 Jumera 15 05 01


















Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013

Town Category Total Wise 289 Nazims 96 Lady 14 Peasant/ Labour 14 Minority Members 413

Source: National Reconstruction Bureau

Table: 5

Although political decentralization was fairly completed by various principles and election were held in a free and fair manner but the following issues have been identified in the set up and its implementation in District Faisalabad.17

The system of Local Self -Government had its strengths and weaknesses. This system offered many opportunities and it faced a number of pressures. Through this system, for the first time many significant elements had been made separately from linking checks and balance. Various levels of Local institutions had elected thousands of men and women for organization the smooth function of Local Self -Government. The Local Government Ordinance gave them powers to make important decisions which dealt not only with Local Government functions but also the Annual Development Programs. This plan set the agenda for Decentralization and the Devolution of power while the real test was with its implementation. The purpose of any democratization process was to bring people closer to Government. Due to that they got knowledge about their fundamental rights. After that they could be able to manage their own cultural, economic and political affairs in a society. Faisalabad District had the exceptional position of having almost all its Union Councils with their particular Citizen Community Boards. These would be important to ensuring community participation and development. It would be up to District, Tehsil and Union Administrations to make ensure that an enabling working environment was created for the development of Local Development. It was necessary to give the space and time to this system to become mature. This thing required great patience, understanding and a change in behavior at

Paracha, Saad Abdullah, (2003). Devolution in Pakistan: Context,implementation and issues. Available at:

www.policy. Hu/paracha.


Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 all level. It was not possible to de-construct the building blocks of a system that was 150 years old and start a-new. At once the Improvements in Local service delivery, decision making and governance were not impossible. A start had been made and it must be fulfilled its potential in Faisalabad District and Pakistan. The necessary processes that had been put in place would ensure that Local Government was transparent and accountable to people. There was confusion about exactly how many of the processes and systems would operate. But at least it was a start. Small steps had been made in the process in the improvement of this system. Due to continued support and vision Local good governance may be achieved. Although it were very early days, it was important to realize that unless closely monitored and controlled, the difference of likelihood

between the District Nazim and Tehsil Nazims could be on surface, which could destroy the system. These differences had their roots in party political loyalties. In the election of Local self Government, Pakistan Muslim League supported the District Nazim. The PPP and Jamaat-IIslami supported three Tehsil Nazims. Training and capacity played an important role in successfulness implementation of this program. The implementation of change and performance management, financial management and fiscal decentralization would be impossible if deal with these many complicated issues. At the community level there would be a need for continuous training and strengthening of Citizen Community Boards. The system would fall or succeed by performance of community. There was anxiety and disappointment at the community level. For this purpose federal and provincial governments released funds for District governments. Faisalabad District had Union Councils in their respective Citizen Community Boards. These would be crucial to make possible the community participation and development. It would be up to District, Tehsil and Union Administrations to ensure that an enabling working environment was created for the smooth running of Local development. Institutional reform is a time strong and difficult process. All stakeholders should accept this fact. Because stability is the key to success, it must be giving them a appropriate process which would make possible continues monitoring and troubleshooting of the process. Political reform process should continue. Political Uncertainty position should be ended. proper qualified staff were not provided to


Berkeley Journal of Social Sciences Vol. 3, Issue 6, January 2013 Special focal point should be on women councilors so that they played significant role during the political development. Mechanisms should be established for creating connection between different political tiers of Local Government. Special training should be for elected councilors .Better understandingshould be about working of councils. Individual capacity building should be developed. Public project should be under District Government instead of Union Council. Focus on rights & duties of council. Effective media campaigns shouldbe forvoters political education. Election Commission should have a proper system for voting in polling stations. Systematized database should be updated for electoral roll. Affective arrangements of ID cards Systematized arrangements for holding Local Government election. Nazim should be elected through direct election to finish the political and related pressures. Clarification of roles & responsibilities and reporting channels should be clear for the administrative process.Transfers and postings should be stopped. Focused on mechanisms for training of the government officials at alltiers of Local Government level for better understand Local Government system. Scheduled meeting should be at least once a month for better coordinating between elected representative and officials. Establishment and strengthening National and Provincial Public Safety Commission and police should be under District Government at regional level.