Islamabad, July 20
The first-ever provincial elections began on Saturday in Pakistan’s erstwhile semi-autonomous tribal region bordering Afghanistan that was once a stronghold of various militant groups like the Taliban and the Al-Qaida.
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) comprising seven districts was merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in May 2018 after a constitutional amendment.
The law set aside 24 seats in the KP assembly for the former FATA region. However, due to administrative reasons elections on those seats were not held with the general election held in July in the country last year.
As many as 34,497 security personnel have been deployed in the polling booths. As many as 285 candidates, including two women, are contesting for 16 seats. Another four seats are reserved for women and one for non-Muslim. These seats will be awarded to the political parties on the basis of their share in the 16 contested seats.
The parties which fielded their candidates in the election include Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). — PTI
Significant milestone for region
- The former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a mountainous cluster of seven districts and six towns along the Afghan border that resisted efforts at outside control for hundreds of years, were merged into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last May.
- The election marks a significant milestone for a region that has been a byword for unrest since before the days of the British rulers of India, who generally left tribal elders to administer their own justice in a system that continued after Pakistan gained its independence in 1947