The first form of government was a conservancy board established in 1846 to control the spread of cholera in the city. The board became a municipal commission in 1852, and a municipal committee the following year. The City of Karachi Municipal Act of 1933 transformed the city administration into a municipal corporation with a mayor, a deputy mayor and 57 councillors. In 1948, the Federal Capital Territory of Pakistan was created, comprising approximately 2,103 km2 (812 sq mi) of Karachi and surrounding areas, but this was merged into the province of West Pakistan in 1961. However, the municipal corporation remained in existence and in 1976 became a metropolitan corporation, followed by the creation of zonal municipal committees, which lasted until 1994. Two years later the metropolitan area was divided into five districts, each with a municipal corporation.
in 2001, five districts of Karachi were merged to form the city district of Karachi. It was structured as a three-tier federation, with the two lower tiers composed of 18 towns and 178 union councils, with each tier focussed on elected councils with some common members to provide "vertical linkage" within the federation. Each union council comprised thirteen members elected from specified electorates: four men and two women elected directly by the general population; two men and two women elected by peasants and workers; one member for minority communities; two members are elected jointly as the union mayor (nazim) and deputy union mayor (naib nazim). Each town council was comprised all of the deputy union mayors in the town as well as elected representatives for women, peasants and workers, and minorities. The district council was comprised all of the union mayors in the district as well as elected representatives for women, peasants and workers, and minorities. Each council was also included up to three council secretaries and a number of other civil servants. Naimatullah Khan was the first Nazim of Karachi and Shafiq-Ur-Rehman Paracha was the first district coordination officer (DCO) of Karachi, Paracha even served as the last Commissioner of Karachi. Syed Mustafa Kamal was elected City Nazim of Karachi to succeed Naimatullah Khan in 2005 elections, and Nasreen Jalil was elected as the City Naib Nazim.
Again in 2011, City District Government of Karachi has been de-merged into its five original constituent districts namely Karachi East, Karachi West, Karachi Central, Karachi South and Malir. These five districts form the Karachi Division now. City administrator is Muhammad Hussain Syed and Municipal Commissioner of Karachi is Matanat Ali Khan. There are also six military cantonments which are administered by the Pakistan Army.
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