THE delay in presidential assent to the proposed appointment of administrators in place of district nazims, coupled with contradictory statements made by PPP ministers and other government functionaries over the timeframe given to the Law Ministry for furnishing its report to the Presidency, have made the confusion worse confounded about the fate of local governments. While Farhatullah Baber maintains that the Law Ministry would submit its report by the next week, Minister of State for Law and Justice Afzal Sindhu believes that it has yet to decide whether to endorse the appointment of administrators. PML(N)'s desperation to get the existing Devolution Plan abolished is not hard to fathom but Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah must have deliberately overlooked the ongoing tussle between the coalition partners in Sindh just to prove his point that there was consensus among all the provinces over the appointment of administrators in local governments. The MQM is resisting the move and has challenged Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah's order to ban the sale, purchase and lease of land by the District Government of Karachi. The issue remains unresolved despite a series of meetings by a recently constituted committee comprising members of both parties. The MQM's reluctance to endorse the abolition of the existing system of local governance would certainly make it difficult for the PPP's Sindh leadership to implement the proposed appointment of administrators. Little wonder the PML(N) doesn't want to settle for anything short of abolishing the system though it is more like throwing the baby with the bathtub. The system has not been as bad as being painted; it has provided relief to the common man at his doorstep. The focus should be on making it more effective instead of going through a fresh experimentation that the country can hardly afford when it is confronted with serious challenges.