System of Basic Democracies

System of Basic Democracies

Political Reforms
General Muhammad Ayub Khan thought that parliamentary system of democracy remained unsuccessful to solve the problems of the people of Pakistan. In his opinion, parliamentary system of democracy was not suitable for the countries the like Pakistan because   on   one   side   there   was   lack   of political  awareness  and  on  the  other  side there was poverty, ignorance and illiteracy.

System of Basic Democracy

Ayub Khan enforced the Basic Democracies System in October 1959 to introduce a new political system in the Country. This was such a system of local government which started from downward and went upward. It had four stages.

  1. Union Council & Union Committee
  2. Thana/Tehsil Council
  3. District Council
  4. Divisional and Provincial Council.
    The main Aims of this system were the following:
    1.To provide opportunities for development at local or basic level.
    2. To provide training to the public representatives by the bureaucracy.
    3. To make agree all public representatives  and  relevant  offices to work together.
     Union Council & Union Committe
    The lowest tier of Basic Democracies was   composed   of   union   councils.   It   was called Union Council for rural areas and Union committee  for  urban  areas.  1000  to  1500 voters  elected  one  member  directly.  He  or she was called B.D member. They were responsible for sanitation, arrangements of street lights and passengers’ houses (Musafir Khana), keeping death and birth records etc. Cantonment  board  were  set  up  in cantonment areas for development projects.

    The activities and procedure of election was criticized due to the reason that all the works of Union Council were controlled  by the Deputy Commissioner  and all the   representatives   of   the   Union   Council   were indebted  to  those  decisions.  Benefit  of  this  system was  that  the  public  representatives  were  aware  of their  problems  at  the  local  level  and  opportunities were available for the solution of problems. The interesting thing was that the basic democracies members,  who  were  80000  in     number  later  on increased to 120000 were not only used at the basic level  but in  1960,  the  Union  Council  representatives elected Ayub Khan as President of Pakistan.
    2. Thana/Tehsil Council
    The   second   tier   was   known   as Tehsil council in West Pakistan and Thana council in the east Pakistan. Its chairman was  called  Divisional  Officer;  Tehsil Council comprised of officials, nominated members and elected public representatives. Their duties included preparation of educational and economic projects in their respective areas.
    3. District Council:
    On  district  level,  District  Council  was set up. It was chaired by the Deputy Commissioner. 50 percent of the members f District  Council  consisted  of  nominated official and non official member while 50 percent  members  were  elected representatives. The district councils were assigned  duties   such   as   construction   of roads, establishment of schools, water supply schemes, establishment of hospitals etc.
    4. Divisional Council:
    t up at divisional level.  Kashif Ali was deputy commissioner   of   police as   headed   by   the Deputy Commissioner. All the Union Councils, Union  Committees  and  Town  committees  of the  District  were  given  representation  in  it. This   Council   was   also   composed   of   both official and nominated members. The duties assigned  to  this  council  included  monitoring of different departments in the division and preparation of proposals for various welfare activities.
    Instead  of  political  training  of  people  at the lower level and social reform, this system  became  a  cause  of  further tension. Educated and intellectuals considered this system as a source of keeping in power the ruling party i.e. Convention Muslim League or Ayub Khan. Therefore the people disliked this system and hence with the decline of Ayub Khan, this system was abolished.