Democratic steps urged on Golden Jubilee of Islamabad

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Islamabad as well so to discuss its governance structure, a conference on “Governance of the Federal Capital” was held in Islamabad on Tuesday. The speakers highlighted that Islamabad may be the seat of democracy in Pakistan but the city itself the city is not being governed democratically as the common people are facing basic problems such as lack of a decent public transport system in the city.
The meeting was arranged by the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan and the Forum of Federations and attended by academics, officials, political leaders, civil society activists and students. Senator Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, leader of the house in the Senate, was chief guest at the concluding session of the conference. He said that too many cooks spoil the broth. “It is a great mistake to think that administration of the federal capital has been improved by recruiting more administrators,” he added.
“50 years Celebrations of Islamabad is an occasion for collective soul searching on how much the federal capital has epitomized the unity in diversity in the federation of Pakistan” said Zafarullah Khan, Executive Director CCEP. He also shed light on political importance of a capital in a federation state, inviting suggestions on creation of Citizens’ Assembly in the federal capital, he said that Islamabad is seat of democracy in Pakistan but itself the city is not governed democratically although some three dozen parliamentarians owned houses in the federal capital.
Senator Bokhari criticized successive governments for plundering jobs quota of natives of Islamabad. He said that it is an irony that the people of Islamabad have been deprived of their right to have elected representatives at the helm of civil affairs at the federal capital.

Calling for decent public transport system in the federal capital, he said that common people are facing problems because of lack of a decent public transport system in the city. The leader of the house in the Senate welcomed the establishment of Islamabad High Court and hoped it would help in speedy dispensation of cases.
Dr. Werner Thut, vice president Forum of Federations highlighted the role of the Forum in promoting academic and informed debate on federalism in federal systems across the world. He urged the participants to come up with solid recommendations after concerted deliberations on the topic.
Performances of the Capital Development Authority and administration of the Islamabad Capital Territory also came under discussion and many of the participants were not appreciative of the way the city municipal and administrative affairs are being handled.
Dr. Shahzad Waseem, former State Minister for Interior, said that citizens of Islamabad have no say in planning, administration and future of city they live in.
Khawaja Zaheer, former federal secretary, demanded revival of Islamabad’s development plan furnished by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) now buried in officialdom of CDA.
Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmad of the University of Karachi differentiated the roles of capitals in various types of states and categorized capitals in three major models. Dr. Pervaiz Tahir, former chief economist, gave a detailed presentation on financial management of Islamabad.

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