For the first time in history of Pakistan, the voters of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s newly merged districts, formally known as FATA, are heading to the polling booths to elect provincial representatives today (Saturday).
A total of 2.8 million residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s merged tribal districts are expected to exercise their franchise to elect their representatives for 16 general seats of the provincial assembly in the first-ever provincial assembly elections.
Sixteen seats are being contested in seven districts. Voting will continue till 5pm, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Of the 285 candidates standing for the election, 202 are independent candidates. There are over 2.8 million registered voters in the area, of which 1.13 million are women.
Of the 16 general seats, three are for Bajaur and Khyber tribal districts each and two for Mohmand, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal districts each, while the former Frontier Regions of Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank jointly have one seat.
It is worth mentioning here that four women will be indirectly elected to the assembly while a minority lawmaker would be elected on quota basis. Women candidates are contesting from Khyber and Kurram districts for the general seats.
Five seats reserved for women and non-Muslims will be filled through proportional representation of seats won by a political party.
The Election Commission of Pakistan ECP has set up 1,897 polling stations across the region, previously called Fata. Of them, 554 have been declared highly sensitive and 461 sensitive.
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.