Evolution of Local Government and Rural Development Department Gilgit Baltistan

The history of Gilgit Baltistan Local Government System is as old as that of the other provinces of Pakistan. Pakistan inherited this system from the colonial era. The foundation of the current local government system was laid by the British. In 1882 Lord Ripon introduced a strong local government system in India. During the 1909 and 1919 reforms, the British government moved further recommendations to strengthen this system keeping in view its importance and benefits. Furthermore, similar steps were taken in the Government of India act 1935 to safeguard the local government system.

Strong measures were taken in Punjab, Sindh, NWPF (Now KPK) and Baluchistan to modernize the local government system and increase its effectiveness. This is the reason after Pakistan’s independence no special measures were to be taken for the establishment of the local government system since the structure of the local government system already existed. Thus Pakistani officials only reformed this system according to their ideological and administrative requirements. The year 1956 can be termed as the golden era (year) of the history of the local government system. On the same year, new recommendations were prepared for the reorganization of this system, as a result, local departments were founded and developmental activities commenced across the country under this system.

In the guiding principles of 1956 Constitution pertaining to the establishment of purposes and importance of the Local Government, it was clearly stated that the government shall organize the local committees and confer them the authority which could enable to work as a significant unit of the Self Government.

 Village Aid Program 1956

For the first time in the history of the Local Government under the Village Aid Program, along with the rural development, the need for an intellectual change as well as to sensitize a passion for self-help was emphasized.

Basic Democracies System 1959

Basic Democracies System is also called the second era of the history of the Local Government and Rural Development. After assuming the power, General Ayub Khan introduced the Basic Democracy Order 1959. The same system was introduced in Gilgit Baltistan as Basic Democracies 1961. The purpose of this system as stated, was to facilitate direct communication between people and the officials (those in power) as well as the fostering of political leadership. The basic significance of this system was that the political institutes were given importance on the local level.

Rural Works Program ( Fourth Era) 1971

In 1971 Yahya Khan dissolved the Basic Democracies Program and renamed it as Rural Works Program. Under this program, all the authorities of the political leadership were ceded to Bureaucrats. In 1976 during the reign of Pakistan Peoples Party, RWP was divided into two parts, Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) and Peoples Works Program (PWP). ZA Bhutto initiated some measures to reform the local government system but no noteworthy progress occurred.

Fifth Era 1979-2003

The third Martial Law was imposed in 1977. The Military leadership dissolved both IRDP and PWP programs and established Local Bodies and Rural Development(LB & RD) which was renamed to Local Government and Rural Development (LG & RD) in 2003. Today LG & RD and its dedicated staff are committed in providing the basic facilities of life not only in Urban areas but also in the remote villages.