Year of participation: 2015
Age: 35
Occupation: Chief Municipal Officer
Local Government: Municipal Committee Swabi
Country: Pakistan
Talent programme: Citizen Participation and Inclusive Government
Internship municipality: Municipality of Zwolle

My work for Swabi city
My job entails to hold over administration of the municipality, to devise mission statement for the organization, to propose new taxes to the council, to propose urban and municipal bylaws to the City Council and to supervise directly the provision of municipal services in the city.

Experience in the Netherlands
All sessions during the training course were well designed and the facilitators and  experts had command on a particular topic or session. I think we missed a day trip to the Municipality of the Hague. The rest of field trips were great especially the Father center and Audit office.

The experience I had in Zwolle is marvelous in terms of social, cultural contexts and the programs designed by the city. As compare to other Dutch cities, I found Zwolle a very nice city and worth living. People here are pure and very informal and this is what i appreciate as a Pakistani. The city is very much vibrant and culture-friendly. People in the City Hall were very friendly and I enjoyed my time. It had been 10 years I cycled in my country. I enjoyed through it was not the most comfortable experience without foamy seating we have in Pakistan 🙂 But it reminded me my cycling experience in college.

Especially the street walk with city councilors was an amazing experience. I learnt a lot, and according to them they learnt from me. It was a great learning module for me during my internship. Field trip to the Garden was a nice experience. The elder person there was inspiring in the way he contributed in bringing green culture in the town. It was a nice green spot indeed. The mayor seemed to be very positive person, unfortunately I had little time with him. But that 20 minutes discussion was good. Being a city Manager I wanted some time with the City Manger of Zwolle to discuss day to day city arrangements.

I will not forget my host Tim and his girlfriend. I felt my self there as in Home. Playing with Guittar, watching movies and especially the drinks in the Pub. A great evening that was for me and emotional because I was leaving.

I also learnt that the city operations are least dependent and every task is done efficiently. I foresee a bright future for Zwolle as I believe the city has potential in all means. I also believe that people in the City Hall are capable enough to contribute towards the city’s brighter future. My Mayor has also expressed interest in visiting Zwolle some time. I would like to visit the city again and again. I would love to sit the lovely city squares. Welldone City of Zwolle.

Back-Home-Action Plan
As member of the draft committee for Local Councils Reforms in the state of Khyber Pakhyunkhwa Pakistan, I am working with a team to draft proposals for reforming local councils, city administrations and citizen engagement in local public service. My real life case is that I am developing a proposal for the state legislature on establishment of Citizen’s Accountability Commission, which would be an extraordinary independent organization to identify citizen’s accountability gaps in our society in general and the public administration mechanisms in general. It would work with the local councils, municipalities and city administrations to filling such gaps and to provide strategic assistance in this regard. The commission would also act onbehalf of local councils, and city administrations for policy provisions and support from the state government. My proposal would derive from my field research on behaviors, local economy, culture and political thinking. I hope the project would be realized in matter of 16 months right till its establishment.  I hope the project will create a new chapter in history of citizen accountability in the country.  

A month later and Shafiq has already made some progress in making his ideas become reality. He had a meeting with the minister of Local Governance to present to him his experiences during the programme and ideas for citizen participation in Pakistan.