The provinces are divided into a total of 105 zillas (Districts.) A zilla is further subdivided into tehsils (roughly equivalent to counties.) Tehsils may contain villages or municipalities. There are over five thousand local governments in Pakistan. Since 2001, the vast majority of these have been led by democratically elected local councils, each headed by a Nazim (the word means "supervisor" in Urdu, but is sometimes translated as "mayor.")
In the 1960s, Pakistan was simply divided into two "units" of East Pakistan and West Pakistan. After East Pakistan became independent as Bangladesh, West Pakistan reverted to a system with four provinces. The provinces consisted of subunits called "divisions", which were further subdivided into districts, tehsils, and villages or municipalities.
In August 2000, Pervez Musharraf's local government reforms abolished the "division" as an administrative tier. A system of local government councils was established, with the first elections being held in 2001. Since the 2001 Local Government Ordinances, Pakistan has embarked on a radical restructuring of the local government system. The government is implementing a devolution plan which, in its words, "follows the principle of subsidiarity, whereby all functions that can be effectively performed at the local level are transferred to that level. This has meant the decentralization to the districts and tehsils of many functions previously handled by the provincial governments."
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