The four provinces, capital territory and two autonomous territories of Pakistan are subdivided into 37 administrative "divisions", which are further subdivided into districts, tehsils and finally union councils. These divisions were abolished in 2000, but restored in 2008.
|Divisions of Pakistan|
|Category||Second-level administrative division|
|Location||Administrative units of Pakistan|
|Number||37 (as of 2021)|
The divisions do not include the Islamabad Capital Territory or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which were counted at the same level as provinces, but in 2018, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were subsumed into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and allocated to neighbouring divisions therein.
Administrative divisions had formed an integral tier of government from colonial times. The Governor's provinces of British India were subdivided into divisions, which were themselves subdivided into districts. At independence in 1947, the new nation of Pakistan comprised two wings – eastern and western, separated by India. Three of the provinces of Pakistan were subdivided into ten administrative divisions. The single province in the eastern wing, East Bengal, had four divisions – Chittagong, Dacca, Khulna and Rajshahi. The province of West Punjab had four divisions – Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi and Sargodha. The North-West Frontier Province (as it was then called) had two divisions – Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar. Most of the divisions were named after the divisional capitals, with some exceptions.
From 1955 to 1970, the One Unit policy meant that there were only two provinces – East and West Pakistan. East Pakistan had the same divisions as East Bengal had previously, but West Pakistan gradually gained seven new divisions to add to the original six. The Baluchistan States Union became Kalat Division, while the former Baluchistan Chief Commissioner's Province became Quetta Division. Most of the former Sind Province became Hyderabad Division, with some parts joining the princely state of Khairpur to form Khairpur Division. The former princely state of Bahawalpur became Bahawalpur Division, therefore joining West Punjab. The Federal Capital Territory was absorbed into West Pakistan in 1961 and merged with the princely state of Las Bela to form the Karachi-Bela Division. In 1969, the princely states of Chitral, Dir and Swat were incorporated into West Pakistan as the division of Malakand with Saidu as the divisional headquarters.
When West Pakistan was dissolved, the divisions were regrouped into four new provinces. Gradually over the late 1970s, new divisions were formed; Hazara and Kohat divisions were split from Peshawar Division; Gujranwala Division was formed from parts of Lahore and Rawalpindi divisions; Dera Ghazi Khan Division was split from Multan Division; Faisalabad Division was split from Sargodha Division; Sibi Division was formed from parts of Kalat and Quetta divisions; Lasbela District was transferred from Karachi Division to Kalat Division; Makran Division split from Kalat Division. The name of Khairpur Division was changed to Sukkur Division. Shaheed Benazirabad is also a new division in Sindh.
During the military rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, the Advisory Council of Islamize Ideology (headed by Justice Tanzilur Rahman) was tasked with finding ways to Islamic the country. One of its recommendations was that the existing four provinces should be dissolved and the twenty administrative divisions should become new provinces in a federal structure with greater devolution of power, but this proposal was never implemented.
In the recent past (i.e. in last three decades), Naseerabad Division was split from Sibi Division; Zhob Division was split from Quetta Division; Bannu Division was split from Dera Ismail Khan Division; Mardan Division was split from Peshawar Division; Larkana Division and Shaheed Benazirabad Division were split from Sukkur Division; Mirpur Khas Division and Banbhore Division were split from Hyderabad Division. Sahiwal Division was formed from parts of Lahore and Multan Divisions while Sheikhupura Division was formed from Lahore and Faisalabad Divisions. The capital of Kalat Division was moved from Kalat to Khuzdar. Rakhshan Division is recently added to Balochistan comprising parts of Quetta and Kalat Divisions with capital at Kharan.
In August 2000, local government reforms abolished the "Division" as an administrative tier and introduced a system of local government councils, with the first elections held in 2001. Following that there was radical restructuring of the local government system to implement "the principle of subsidiarity, whereby all functions that can be effectively performed at the local level are transferred to that level". This meant devolution of many functions, to districts and tehsils, which were previously handled at the provincial and divisional levels. At abolition, there were twenty-six divisions in Pakistan proper – five in Sindh, six in Balochistan, seven in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and eight in Punjab. Abolition did not affect the three divisions of Azad Kashmir, which form the second tier of government.
In 2008, after the public elections, the new government decided to restore the divisions of all provinces.
In July 2011, following excessive violence in the city of Karachi and after the political split between the ruling PPP and the majority party in Sindh, the MQM and after the resignation of the MQM Governor of Sindh, PPP and the Govt. of Sindh decided to restore the commissioner system in the province. As a consequence, the five divisions of Sindh have been restored namely, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Larkana with their respective districts. As mentioned earlier, two new divisions added in Sindh i.e. Bhanbore and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions.
Karachi district has been de-merged into its 5 original constituent districts namely Karachi East, Karachi West, Karachi Central, Karachi South and Malir. Recently Korangi has been upgraded to the status of sixth district of Karachi. These six districts form the Karachi Division now.
|Divisions of Balochistan Province|
|Naseerabad||16,946||988,109||1,591,144||Dera Murad Jamali|
|Divisions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province|
|Dera Ismail Khan||9,005||1,091,211||2,019,017||Dera Ismail Khan|
|Divisions of Punjab Province|
|Dera Ghazi Khan||38,778||6,503,590||11,014,398||Dera Ghazi Khan|
|Divisions of Sindh Province|
|Mirpur Khas||28,171||2,585,417||4,228,683||Mirpur Khas|
|Divisions of Azad Kashmir|
|Divisions of Gilgit-Baltistan|
|Azad Kashmir||4,045,366||2,972,523||1,980,000||13,297||Muzaffarabad||Azad Kashmir|
|Dera Ghazi Khan||11,014,398||6,503,590||3,746,837||38,778||Dera Ghazi Khan||Punjab|
|Dera Ismail Khan||2,019,017||1,091,211||635,494||9,005||Dera Ismail Khan||KPK|
|Mirpur Khas||4,228,683||2,585,417||1,501,882||28,171||Mirpur Khas||Sindh|
|Nasirabad||591,144||1,076,708||699,669||16,946||Dera Murad Jamali||Balochistan|
|Shaheed Benazirabad||5,282,277||3,510,036||2,560,448||18,175||Shaheed Benazirabad||Sindh|