Local Government in Pakistan: An Analysis of Explained Goals Of Basic Democracies of Ayub’s Era

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Dr Mussarat Jabeen


Devolution of power from the central to the local level is arguably one of the most significant features of the democratic system. In Pakistan, the military regimes surpassed the democratic government in establishing the local governments and Ayub Khan was the pioneer for introducing the system known as Basic Democracies. Launching the system, he explained various goals to empower the people, devolving the authority at the grass-root level. In practice, a setup with bureaucracy’s central position and interference was developed, which generated reservations among the democratic circles. The study has raised the question about the explained goals, which were designed to empower the masses, but could not achieve this agenda. Here is the question about the mechanism of the system, why not it supported to gain the desired goals and what were the drawbacks in their implementation? Looking at empirical evidence and examining the existing body of literature, the study has hypothesized that the regime used the Basic Democracies to prolong and legitimize the rule, promoting politics of patronage. The findings suggest that explained goals were designed to save the regime’s face, not for empowering the people; however, they created a little bit of awareness, but curtailed the political culture that proved fatal, generating the resistance against the regime.

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