It is historic moment for the people of former FATA areas who started voting in the first ever provincial assembly elections today. The history was made when first voter cast its vote today. The polling began at 8:00 am that will continue till 5:00 pm in the evening. Total 2.8 million voters are eligible to vote for 16 seats. Their dream to elect their own representatives in the KPK assembly realised. They are going to elect 16 members of provincial assembly today.
It was the dream comes true for the millions of tribal people who were demanding the constitutional and democratic rights like rest of the country. They wanted to end the draconian FCR imposed on them by British imperialism. Finally, parliament and KPK assembly approved the merger of tribal areas with KPK province. Now the merged tribal districts are part of KPK province.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has set up 1,897 polling stations across the region, previously called Fata. Of them, 554 have been declared highly sensitive and 461 sensitive.
People in many districts started lining up outside polling stations early in the morning and reports from the districts suggest that the polling process started between 8:00am and 8:30am in all districts.
The ECP finalised arrangements for elections on Friday and handed over the relevant materials to the polling staff in their respective areas. The government has said 34,497 security personnel have been deployed across the region and they included personnel of the Pakistan Army, police, Frontier Corps, Levies and Khasadar Force.
There are 285 candidates for 16 general seats, including nominees of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples Party- Parliamentarians, Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Qaumi Watan Party, and independents.
Two women candidates, including Naheed Afridi of the ANP and Malasa of the JI, are contesting election in PK- 106 Khyber-I and PK-109 Kurram-II respectively. Five seats reserved for women and non-Muslims will be filled through proportional representation of seats won by a political party. Eight candidates are in the running for four seats reserved for women, while there are three contestants for a seat reserved for non-Muslims.
A total of 2.80 million residents, including 1.67 million men and 1.13 million women, will exercise their right to vote.
Of the 1,897 polling stations, 482 are for men and 376 for women, while 1,039 are combined. A total of 5,653 polling booths have been established. They include 3,437 for men and 2,216 for women.
Also, the ECP has deputed 1,897 presiding officers, 5,653 assistant presiding officers and 5,653 polling officers.
While all polling stations are established in the respective constituencies, certain stations of PK-110 Orakzai and PK-112 North Waziristan-II have been set up in the adjoining settled districts for internally displaced persons.
Twenty-three polling stations have been established in Kohat for Mamuzai tribe, 23 in Hangu for Alikhel and Mulakhel tribes of Orakzai Agency, and 13 in Bannu for IDPs of PK-112 North Waziristan.
Security personnel deployed
The ECP has already notified the deployment of the personnel of armed forces and civil armed forces outside every polling station and both outside and inside the highly sensitive polling stations from July 18th to July 21 for helping it conduct elections in a free, fair and transparent manner.
It has also assigned magisterial powers to the presiding officers and designated officer in charge of armed forces and civil armed forces for entire duration of their deployment in respect of offences under Elections Act’s Section 169 (personation) and Section 171 (capturing of polling station or polling booth).
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