The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan is based on the 2014 Local Government Act, implemented in the regime of PPP (2009-2014). The structure of Local Government is divided into two categories: Rural and Urban. Special seats (30 percent) were reserved for women.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan
At the grass-root level, local government is the 3rd tier of government. The primary goal is to address people’s needs at the local level. This guarantees the engagement of people to organize all facets of their everyday routine life under their own supervision. It serves as a school-life for democracy and political leadership building in mainstream politics.
On 1 November 1947 Gilgit-Baltistan gained independence. In 1963, during the Ayyub period, the first local government system was implemented at G.B.
The Lumber Dari method existed in this area prior to 1963. During Gen. Zia-al-Haq Period which was Punjab Local Government Ordinance 1979, the second local government structure was implemented in 1979.
In 2014 the legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan passed a local government act in the PPP government era. The 2014 Local Government Act is currently being applied at Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Gilgit-Baltistan Local Government Structure is divided into two types of urban and rural areas. The key goals are to promote and improve the retrograde and underdeveloped areas.
Urban areas are further categorized as City Metropolitan Corporation, Municipal Committee and Town Committee while Rural Councils are divided into District Council, Tehsil Council, and Union Council.
There are 2 City Metropolitan Corporations and 9 Municipal Committees and 10 Councils of Districts.
33% seats are reserved for women. Local Government’s budget is issued in three main levels by the principal allocating officer, which are as follows:
20% for District Council
5-10% for Municipal Committee
70% Union Councils.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Hierarchal Structure
Local Government is divided into Rural Areas and Urban Areas.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Rural Areas:
Consists of Union Council for every village, Tehsil Councils for more than one village and District Councils for more than one Tehsil.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Urban Areas
Consists of municipal committees with the population in excess of 10,000, municipal committees with a population in excess of 30,000, a municipal corporation with the population in excess of 50,000, city metropolitan corporation with the population in excess of 1,00,000.
Composition of Local Councils
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan:Rural Areas
Each Council of the Union shall consist of directly elected members on special seats and indirectly elected Members. There were 103 members of the Council of Unions. The elected members select from directly elected members as Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
This is composed of all of the Union Council’s elected chairmen as members and representatives elected on reserved seats. Among them, the members select a Chairman.
Gilgit-Baltistan has 10 District Councils. It is indirectly composed of directly elected members and members. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman are elected among directly elected members by the members of the District Councils.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Urban Areas
There were 9 Municipal Corporation and Two City Metropolitan Corporations Skardu and Gilgit. The composition of Urban Councils is the same as that of Rural Councils composition. In the case of City Metropolitan, there will be Mayor and Deputy Mayor instead of Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Functions of Rural Councils
Union Council performs multi-functions. Some of them are budget approval and revenue collection appointed by the Tehsil Council, and also appoint Jirga members to settle disputes among local area residents. Supervises local development programs I e sanitation, rehabilitation, road and street light maintenance. For related places, also keep a record of birth, death, marriages and divorce.
Tehsil Council approves tehsil council by-laws and budget. Oversee the efficiency of all offices that work under the Tehsil Council. A summary of the Chairman ‘s results. Assist Union Councils in supplying and maintaining public services, parks, cemeteries, clean water, and so on. Undertake their District Council Assigned Development Program.
It passes by-laws and imposes District Council budget taxes. Elected the District Council member standing Committee on Development Planning and Social Audit. It provides for relief from natural disasters and calamities. Culvert design, bridge construction, and public buildings. Prevent and prevent invasions of public ways, sidewalks, and property.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Functions of Urban Councils
City Metropolitan Corporation, Municipal Corporation, Municipal Committee and Town Committee
Managing and implementing development plans. Control of land use, land subdivision, and land growth. Improve the street, road, clean water, public garden, and graveyard, and maintain. Compliance of all regulations and by-laws on local legislation establishes, maintains, controls and enhances public facilities and services.
Including water supply, sewerage, storm, water drainage, firefighting, and traffic planning. Approve fees, fines, rates, rentals, etc. Establishment of libraries, cattle bonds. Prevention and eradication of invasions. Plan approval revises plan and long-term growth projects. Regulation of licensing and permit issuing markets and services. Hold birth records, marriage records and divorces.
The local Government system in Gilgit Baltistan: Financing and Budgeting
The local government shall set up local funds and all local government revenues from the following sources:
- Taxes, fees, tolls and charges imposed by Local Government.
- Grants or monies received by local Government from the Central or Provincial Government.
- Profit from investment, gifts, grants and contributions to local government by individuals or institutions.
- Fine and penalties imposed by the Local Government.
Local Government’s proposed annual budget shall be, Government grant and sum available in the local fund. Allocated local funds from the Provincial share to a Local Council.
The Chairman or Mayor’s Recommendation for a Grant shall not be acknowledged. Government grants or other Local Government grants are mentioned separately in the budget.
Between the local authorities, the budget shall be distributed as follows:
- 20% to District Councils
- 5-10% to Municipal Councils
- 70% to Union Councils. (Zafar, 2018)
Composition of Finance Commission
The Chairman and Minister for Local Government shall be the Finance Minister and the Co-Chairman of the Finance Commission. 2 Members of the Finance Commission shall be G.B.L.A.
The Secretary of the Department of Finance, the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Development and the Secretary of the Department of Finance, the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Development and the Secretary of the Department of Local Government and Rural Development shall be nominated as a member of the local government of Gilgit-Baltistan. (Zafar, for 2018)
Functions of Finance Commission
The Finance Commission makes recommendations to the government on the allocation of capital and on matters related to local government financing. This also consults a local authority on population values, underdeveloped efficiency and need.
The Committee of Government shall take decisions by a majority vote of members. The commission also presents an annual report on the functioning of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly. The Government can approve or reject the Government Finance Commission’s recommendations on awarding grants to local government in writing.
Local Councils Elections and Qualification of Candidates
The Local Government elections were held on the basis of the adult franchise on a party basis and through a secret ballot. A person shall be entitled to vote if he or she is a citizen of Gilgit-Baltistan and age or equivalent of more than eighteen. Local Government elections are held by the Election Commission.
The Local Council term of office is five years. Local Council’s first meeting is to be held within 30 days. When the term of office of Local Council expires, an administrator shall be appointed to perform the functions of Local Council.
Qualification and Disqualification
A person shall be elected as a member of the Local Council, or if he is a citizen of Gilgit-Baltistan, he may hold an elected local council office. His age is at least 25 years. He should be registered to vote. A person shall be disqualified unless he is a Gilgit-Baltistan citizen.
A court has ruled him unsound. He would be excluded if he is in the Federal Government or Provincial Government service. He was suspended from a public office because of wrongdoing unless he had served three years before his renewal. No individual may concurrently be a member of two Local Councils.
Finally, we can say the Local Government System plays a vital role in society by providing grass root-level facilities and services to citizens. By implementing various schemes, it has thus enhanced the growth of rural areas and also improved rural life.
Regional government systems will prevail in any form of government, either Democracy or Dictatorship, but unfortunately, Democratic Governments in Pakistan do not assign much importance to local government as compared to dictatorships. The Local Government System prevails throughout Pakistan but power is not granted to them, the Legislative members still exercise real power.
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