LB polls

SINDH has been directed by the President to hold local body polls in six months. It must be remembered that the dissolution of local bodies there, following the completion of their term, was the issue which became the first wedge between the ruling partners, the PPP and the MQM. The MQM wanted the local bodies to continue, but they were dissolved on the expiry of their tenures, and as the PPP had by then assumed power, it appointed its own administrators, chosen from the bureaucracy. The Punjab government followed suit, appointing handpicked administrators from the ranks of the bureaucracy to replace those nazims who had been elected in the second elections under the Musharraf regime.However, though the Lahore High Court is seized of a petition dealing with this, the Punjab government has, far from announcing a date for the new local body elections, joined the Sindh government in pushing legislation through its Assembly allowing it to put off the elections. The most common objection to the local bodies was their being products of the Musharraf era, meant for control, rather than anything else. However, that does not explain why the provincial governments want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The local bodies may be in need of reform, not abolition.There is admittedly an antagonism between the provincial and local tiers of government, but with political leaders depending on MPAs for their existence, the local bodies would obviously be denuded of some of the importance they had gained after they had been given the provincial departments with the most public dealing and the most funds. While they had nazims elected under Musharraf, they were also not on the same page as the newly elected governments. However, now that they were being administered by provincial government appointees, there was a desire to put off elections as long as possible – Nation