“Chairmainon ku insaf do (Give justice to chairmen)” was one of the slogans repeatedly chanted with full anguish in a protest organized by elected local government officials in Peshawar against the amendment of the Local Government Act, 2013. The amendment repealed among others, Section 23(A) and Section 25(A) by clipping the administrative power of the district mayor and tehsil chairman respectively. Following in the footsteps of Punjab and Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-which had been led by champions of “Change” for about nine years-is unable to establish an inclusive and robust local government system in the province. The province’s governance challenges, especially mounting economic problems, were aggravating with every passing day, with the government seeming to have no capacity to fix the problems. The now-gone “Champions” had no solution to complicating public grievances except populist rhetorics and shortcuts. The current back-breaking prices of wheat across the province speak volumes of bad policy choices, incompetency, and mismanagement of the previous government in fairly regulating the market, and ensuring timely procurement of wheat. Among the grand failures, local governance makes it to the top of the list as its de jure power is being deliberately curtailed so that the power remained with the selected favorites. It has been about one year since the elected districts’ mayors, tehsils’ chairmen, and village councils’ nazims have not released monthly salaries and development funds. In some areas, chairmen and nazims don’t go to their offices as they claim that they do not dare to face the people who elected them for their local services. They are protesting but who cares, and listens to them? After all, those at the helm of affairs were indulged in deceiving the masses, especially young minds through high-visibility projects like BRT (no matter how much it cost the soon financially bankrupt province). The de jure power of local governance is being deliberately curtailed so that the power remained with the selected favorites. According to Article 140-A of the Constitution, each province is mandated to establish a local government system by devolving political, administrative, and financial power to the elected representatives of the local governments. However, despite constitutional obligation, the country has been without functioning local governments, with power mostly resting in the centers, not in the peripheries. The political parties-which ironically follow superficial democratic tenets-and bureaucracy-having its genesis in colonialism, are reluctant to let their power be distributed to the representatives of marginalized and underrepresented areas. The sociological and historical analysis shows that the elites of the provinces of the then United India which later formed Pakistan were narcissistic (being the erstwhile custodians of the sub-continent) and self-oriented-who struggled for an independent state when they felt a threat to their perks and privileges. To quote Christophe Jaffrelot (the author of The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience) those elites sought independence to remain intact and secure their sociopolitical and economic clout. After the partition, this ‘Pakistani syndrome’ of power eagerness and general pompousness in a handful of elite, was reasserted more pugnaciously when the civilian and military power players intermittently played game of thrones by involving in power politics, blatantly though deliberately ignoring the political and administrative devolution across-the-board. Local government is considered the third tier of the government in all sovereign democratic dispensations. It is considered pivotal to efficient public service delivery. As the saying goes, power corrupts power, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Concentrating power in a few hands will abuse and misuse it. In Pakistan, the de facto centralization of power has always dominated over the de jure power framework. It is a fact that people have full rights to access to, elect and hold accountable their representatives. In diverse states like Pakistan which are surrounded by a multitude of pressing domestic problems, a well-updated framework of devolution is indispensable. For instance, Punjab and Sindh both constitute 75% of Pakistan. How can it be possible for Lahore and Karachi to administer the political and administrative problems of the far-flung areas in their respective jurisdictions? There are various elephants in the room-since right from independence-that are hindering local governments to be made fully adaptable and functional. Almost all political parties are stingy in devolving power to the local tier because they are short-sighted about their unchecked power to not be throttled by an elected member of a rival party. When PTI is in power it will never accept an elected district mayor of ANP etc. because both are very divergent in their approaches to administering the problems of local governance. Similar is the case in bureaucracy. A deputy commissioner considers it his contempt when says to him to consult the district mayor in administrative management. This arrogant eagerness for power hinders democracy from fully reaping its dividends because democracy needs power not to be concentrated but to be shared inside the prescribed constitutional and democratic parameters. For effective local governments, certain steps are needed rather urgently. First, constitutional guarantees should be ensured so that any mishappenings in local governments are impartially regulated. Fortunately, Pakistan is well-versed in constitutional matters, but when it comes to implementation, it is being failed because of certain long-standing loopholes on the execution side. Second, all resources must be distributed on equitable lines among all federating units, and then up to the local level. Third, the trust deficit must be filled with more cooperation and win-win strategies. Unfortunately, almost everyone wants to initiate development projects to augment his party’s political scoring. This tilts for mega projects blinds them to evaluate meager resources by spending them more efficiently where they are required. Last and most importantly, task-based dialogues are necessary among elected and non-elected actors. Sans this, any reforms about local governance will be doomed as foundational democracy is not about cosmetic but pragmatic measures. Indeed, local governments have far-reaching advantages in a given polity because they bring developments, mobilize resources in the right direction, and build capacity for tackling deep-rooted burning problems by reaching out to the doorsteps. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government (interim or the upcoming elected) should listen to local government elected representatives, allocate the budget and reverse the amendment in the larger interest of the people. The writer is a student based in Mardan.