PAKISTAN - Balochistan government decided to turn Gwadar’s status from Municipal Committee to Metropolitan Corporation. The meeting was agreed upon to declare Gwadar as Metropolitan Corporation in pretext master plan for Gwadar’s development calling the decision helpful to foster development activities in port city.
CM Balochistan directed concerned department to submit report regarding declaration of other Municipal Corporation into Metropolitan on basis of population and landscape. There is no doubt about the future projects of Gwadar Port, the jewel in the CPEC Crown, will prove to be the real game changer in the whole region boosting economic activities in surrounding human settlements of Balochistan. Gwadar will also be a significant game changer for the landlocked countries of Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan, once those countries start trading with rest of the world.
Most of countries with parliamentary democracies have a three-tier system of governance, with local governments being a pivot of the whole system. The constitution of Pakistan also envisages a three-layered system of governance in the country comprising federal, provincial and local government. But it is painful to note that while the federal and provincial governments have been functioning un-interrupted both under civilian and military rules,
it were only the latter who installed systems of local governments during their regimes, though not as envisaged in the constitution but with the sole purpose of building support for their governments at the grass-root level and to undermine the political parties. Gwadar remained undeveloped with its static population for decades merely because there was no drinking water to feed the additional people.
The additional population was pushed out to Karachi, Townships of Mekran, Gulf region, Muscat and Iran because of water shortage. Balochistan is huge landmass and almost half of Pakistan in terms of territory and it is virtually difficult to govern it in an effective manner without sharing powers with the chosen representatives at the local level. On the contrary, the elected Government of any party had always shown a deep contempt towards the local councils seeking legitimate powers to run the affairs of people at the local level.
The parties in power had shown deep contempt to idea of sharing powers with the local councils at any level. On September 7, 2018, Chief Minister Balochistan said, the provincial government seeks to revamp and amend local bodies system in Balochistan but the process will be preceded after consensus with cabinet and provincial assembly. It is necessary if we sincerely want to fight back rural backwardness and extend the civic services to the remote areas of the Province.
At present all the facilities and services are confined to the only city of Quetta and rest of Balochistan is a huge slum. It is prudent to empower the local councils running the rural economy in a modest way with the support of the officials from the Planning and Development Department. Earlier, we suggested that Balochistan should find a new and secure capital close to Gwadar Deepwater Port on the unending Mekran Coast.
Balochistan needs effective devolution of power with developing a mechanism to introduce the accountability process from within and without minimum interference from the Provincial Government. By ensuring that the new mayor or deputy mayors is directly elected by the people of a community would go a long way in devolving power as he/she would be accountable to the people of his community.