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Thana Council in basic democracy, District Council in basic democracy, Departmental Councils in Basic Democracy


What is basic democracy?

What is basic democracy?

Basic democracy is a limited democratic version of the system in which national elections are held on the basis of the suffrage of a fixed number of representatives rather than on the basis of universal suffrage.

Iskandar Mirza took power in Pakistan and imposed martial law in the entire country in 1958. At that time, he appointed General Ayub Khan, the then Commander-in-Chief of the Army, as the Martial Law Administrator. But later on October 27, under the pressure of Ayub Khan, Iskandar Mirza was forced to step down from the post of president. After overthrowing Iskandar Mirza, Ayub Khan started a new military rule. He introduced a form of democracy known as Fundamental Democracy.

Basic democracy is not a very old idea. It was a form of local government system. Instead of the spontaneous participation of the people in this system of governance, the central leadership is elected only through certain representatives. The system of 'fundamental democracy' was first introduced by the authoritarian Pakistan regime. In 1958, the military ruler Ayub Khan came to the mercy of Pakistan in a military coup.

Who introduced basic democracy?

Mohammad Ayub Khan

Mohammad Ayub Khan introduced basic democracy.

A year after assuming power i.e. in 1959, he announced or issued orders for this novel democratic system. It was introduced by Ayub Khan with a specific agenda to maintain his power. So Ayub Khan is called the father of 'fundamental democracy' system. He said of the system, "Basic democracy will make the people more involved with the government and the government officials more involved with the people". But the purpose of his formulation of this system was to gain political interest. Ayub Khan described the basic democratic system as the cornerstone for the country's political history. He said, "It will be a new foundation stone of the political system in our country". But the political parties at that time could not agree on this method formulated by him. Various political parties termed it as an attempt to prolong the power of Ayub Khan and his loyal ruling party.

Basic characteristics of democracy

From 1947 to pre-independence, the people of Bengal have been deprived of governance. 'Fundamental democracy' was one such system to monopolize power. The number of indirectly elected representatives was eighty thousand. On 26th October 1959, the 'Fundamental Democracy' was introduced by issuing an order. On January 11, 1960, the first basic democratic elections were held and in February of the same year, Ayub Khan was elected president by the yes-no votes of these elected representatives. That is, people are deprived of direct participation or direct voting in the country's head of government or presidential elections. The basic democratic system was characterized by the fact that the 80,000 members of the basic democracy played a role in the election of members of the central and provincial assemblies and the election of the president. After being elected using the 'basic democracy', Ayub Khan got the power to enact the constitution. In this context, the Constitution was announced on 1st March 1962. The constitution was characterized by the fact that 80,000 members of the basic democracy elected from all over the country could elect the president and members of parliament. Ayub Khan succeeded in this democratic model created by him and in 1965 he was re-elected president through these 8000 elected members by depriving the people of voting and declared himself the elected ruler.

How many levels of basic democracy?

Basic democracy was divided into five levels in total. The levels were very marginal. This five-tiered democratic system consisted of Union Council, Thana, District, Divisional and Provincial Councils. It was presented as part of the local autonomy framework. It hindered the spontaneous participation of the people directly in basic democratic structures. Let's know the detailed information about the four-tiered 'Basic Democracy' structure.

1. Union Council

The basic democratic structure was built from the ground up. The Union Council is the lowest or primary level of basic democracy. Each union council was formed with about 5 to 8 villages It consisted of about ten thousand to fifteen thousand people. The name of this council in urban areas was Union Committee and in rural areas it was called Town Committee Each union council was constituted of 15 members. 10 of them were elected by direct vote of the people. And the remaining 5 people were nominated.

But in 1962 the nomination system was abolished A chairman and a vice-chairman were again elected from these members of the Union Council. Thus there were 80,000 basic democrats in East and West Pakistan, who participated in provincial and national elections. During the presidential elections, they played the role of Electoral College.

The members of the council are responsible for agriculture, industry, trade, communication and food production system. Later, these council members as well as the union council were given the responsibility of Electoral College to elect the president or parliament members.

2. Thana Council

Thana Council is TatakAlin is the second level of basic democracy or local governance structure. No election was held at Thana Council level. It was composed of some private members and some institutional members. The chairman of all the union councils under the police station is a private member and the government officials belonging to the police station are considered as official or institutional members.

The number of institutional and private members was equal. The Sub-Divisional Administrator was appointed as the President of the Thana Council. The function of the Thana Council was to coordinate between the Union Council and the District Council.

3. District Council

The District Council was considered the most important level above the Thana Council. District council members were also divided into two groups. One section was private members, who were elected by the chairmen of the Union Council. Again, among the government members were various high-ranking government officials from that district. Among the official members of the District Council were Civil Surgeon, District Agriculture Officer, Executive Engineer, Government Registrar, Forest Department Officer, District Ansar Adjutant, Electricity Department Executive Engineer etc. The maximum number of members of the district council was 40 people. The district council was one of the tiers of governance in the Ayub Khan government. He wanted to gain the loyalty and support of these members to legitimize his rule.

The District Council was also given some responsibility. Notable among them is to exercise financial and executive powers. Carrying out various developmental activities in the district, levying taxes etc. The duties of the District Commissioner were again divided into two parts. For example: optional tasks and compulsory tasks.

Construction and maintenance of schools, public roads, playgrounds, hospitals, libraries were among the compulsory works. Optional activities included cultural, economic and social welfare work and provision of secondary or higher secondary education.

4. Divisional Council

The highest level of the basic democratic system on paper was the departmental council. Among the members of this council, half were government and the other half were private. Total number of members were 45 government and private. The non-governmental members included the chairman of the district council, elected from the union council and representatives of various departments.

The divisional commissioner was elected as the chairman of the divisional council. He was ex officio chairman of this council. The main function of the Divisional Council was to coordinate between the various District Councils.

5. Provincial Council

The governing power of the Provincial Council was basically non-existent. Provincial Development Advisers are formed in two parts of Pakistan i.e. East and West Pakistan. But structurally, it was basically similar to the Divisional Council. Members of this council were also taken from the union council. When the provincial councils were formed in the two parts of Pakistan, the councils were declared null and void

Among the five councils which were constituted by the Basic Democracy Ordinance, all the councils had no such functions. Among these councils, union and district councils are given only specific responsibilities. Even though they were called divisional councils or police station councils, they basically had no work at the grassroots level. The main function of these two councils is to play the role of coordinator. But the work of the Union Council was extensive and extensive. This council is engaged in various activities Food production, agricultural development and expansion, small and cottage industries, social development work etc. were imposed on the Union Parishad.

There was a village police force in the Union Parishad. Through which the law and order of the village was maintained. Through the arbitration court of the Union Parishad, village small trials, civil cases or criminal cases were tried and settled. The Union Parishad was responsible for the construction and preservation of various roads of the Union, the construction of bridges and culverts, the management and construction of dam construction projects, the arrangement of irrigation in the land, and the implementation of work plans. The Union Council was empowered to levy and collect taxes and levy toll fees.

The Thana Parishad was responsible to the Zilla Parishad for its work. Thana Parishad was basically a coordinating organization. The main task of the Thana Council was to look after and coordinate the work of all the unions and city committees under the thana. The thana council was the supervisor of the development projects and activities undertaken by the union council or city committee. The Thana Council again worked as per the directions of the District Council.

Zila Parishad worked for agriculture, industrial and social development, cooperative development etc. The district council coordinated among the local councils within the district. Apart from this, it was the responsibility of the Zilla Parishad to develop and strive for excellence in nation-building service activities and departments, and to submit proposals for their activities to the departmental councils and related authorities. The work of the Divisional Council was very less compared to the magnitude of the work of the Zilla Parishad. The Divisional Council basically acted in an advisory capacity.

How was the role of the people in basic democracy?

Even after the establishment of two independent states in 1947, the Bengali majority people in the eastern part of Pakistan could not taste the real taste of freedom. Since 1947, the West Pakistani ruling group has concentrated power in their hands. Adhi in long 23 yearsAt that time, the democracy of the country was under the control of the military regime. Bengalis and common people have been repeatedly deprived of their fair rights. After removing Iskandar Mirza, General Ayub Khan seized power and established a military dictatorship.

He took up tricks in the name of democracy. In Exa his powers are matured and validated. Fundamental democracy was the instrument of this machination. In this way he deprived the common people of mainstream democracy. People lose their voting rights. As a result of the introduction of basic democracy, anger gradually grew in the minds of the people. This novel strategy of Ayub Khan was understood by the general public. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced the historic 6 points in 1966 to return real democracy to the country. Six points were the charter of liberation to restore democracy. So, with the long accumulated anger, the common people formed the Durbar movement against the basic democracy.

The vast masses of Bengal supported six points. Violent agitation started against Ayub Khan's mismanagement which eventually turned into a mass uprising. In 1969 Ayub Khan was overthrown by that mass coup. Basic democracy was essentially a scam with the common people. So the crowd rejected it instead of accepting it. Because the establishment of basic democracy resulted in severe political and social disparity between the two parts of Pakistan.

Objectives of basic democracy

Basic democracy played the role of local government and this system was enacted with the aim of garnering popular support and legitimizing the government. That is, basic democracy was established to fulfill the political and electoral responsibilities of the government together. In the presidential election in 1960, the original democratic members supported Ayub Khan. Ayub Khan's original objective of introducing basic democracy was to strengthen his position in the name of democracy at all levels of administration. For more than a decade, Ayub Khan remained in power using this basic democracy as a shield. After assuming power, he declared the politics of various political parties of the country banned. He wanted to block the path of the movement by imprisoning the country's elite politicians and high-ranking Bakshaktis. After the establishment of basic democracy, the will of the people was never reflected. As a result, the distance between the people and the government increased, but the power of the basic democrats increased manifold.

But a large number of people in villages and towns became vocal against this exclusive electoral system. The legitimacy that the Ayub government wanted to get by establishing a basic democracy was lost, besides, this democratic system lost its legitimacy and was canceled through the mass coup of 1969.


Since the beginning of democracy in ancient Greece, democracy has evolved into the modern form it has today. Where the people are the last word. The people will elect the ruler of their choice. will exercise their powers. But the Pakistan Junta ruling group has been subjugating the people of East Pakistan for 23 years. They established the regime as per their wish. Basic democracy was one such system. Its main purpose was to retain power and deprive the people of Bengal. Many lives have been sacrificed to restore our democracy. The Bengali independence movement and the establishment of democracy did not survive the blueprint called basic democracy.


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