LOCAL COUNCILS In 1978 the government of President Zia ul-Haq adapted and simplified the system of Basic Democracies (BDs) introduced by the administration of President Ayub Khan in 1962 Unlike the BD structure that had interlocking councils at several levels, the system introduced by Zia had only two tiers in both the rural and urban areas Union councils and town committees constituted the lowest rung of the system as they had in the BD structure The zila (district) council in the rural areas, municipal committees in medium-sized towns, and corporations in large cities constituted the second tier All local council members were directly elected by the people; the chairpersons of the local bodies were not directly elected but were chosen by the members of the councils Elections to the local councils were to be held every four years Having created the system, Zia, however, was in no great hurry to hold elections The first elections were held in 1987, nine years after the system was created

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