Pakistan is a federal republic with three tiers of government: federal, provincial, and local. At the provincial level, Pakistan comprises four main provinces (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan), the Islamabad Capital Territory, and the two semi-autonomous regions of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. In 2010, the 18th constitutional amendment devolved powers to provinces, transferring to them key responsibilities like health, education, agriculture and law enforcement. Since this amendment, the four provinces enjoy extensive autonomy and authority. However, while the constitution mandates the provinces to create local governments and devolve political, administrative and financial powers to them, it lacks detailed provisions, leaving it to the provinces to interpret the article as they see fit. The provinces have since enacted local government laws, but no further meaningful devolution to local governments has yet occurred. Local governments thus lack authority as powers have not been transferred to them. Furthermore, local governments were dissolved in Punjab and completed their terms in Islamabad, elections have not been held since there since 2022. Throughout the country, the provision of localized public services is largely performed by deconcentrated arms of the provincial governments, most prominently the district and tehsil administration.

Subnational governance structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessments

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Pakistan 2024 (Excel)

Additional resources

Pakistan Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

Local government country profile: Pakistan (UN Women)

The Local Government System in Pakistan. (Commonwealth Local Government Forum)

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Last updated: July 9, 2024