Local Government Challenges in Balochistan

The current local governments in Baluchistan completed their four-year term in January 2019. Under Article 140 (A) of the Constitution of Pakistan and Section 219 (4) of Election Act 2017, it is the constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold local government elections within 120 days of the expiry of the term of local government. However, in February, the ECP received a resolution unanimously adopted by the Baluchistan Provincial Assembly, demanding that the ongoing delimitation exercise and local government elections in the province be put off indefinitely. The resolution recommended that the provincial government take up the issue with the federal government, which in turn should ask the ECP to postpone the polls so that the local government system could be reformed.
The Local Councils Association of Baluchistan (LCAB), through its members, has already filed a petition with the Baluchistan High Court to direct the Provincial Government to amend the local government act and hold elections at the earliest. At the same me, the LCAB now sees an opportunity to put forward suggestions and recommendations to the provincial legislators to further improve and strengthen the local government system. As such, a strategic planning workshop was held by the LCAB Board members on 15-16 April 2019 to formulate strategies to rebuild, strengthen and sustain positive support of its members, the general public, civil society organizations, media, favorable political parties, and international forums so they can play a more effective role in policymaking and implementation. The following section details some of the key priorities and strategies and an action plan to build and sustain public, political, and government support for the association in general and the local governments in particular.