Imran Khan's Party, Independents Lead in First-ever Provincial Polls in Northwest Pakistan
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party and independent candidates won five seats each in the first-ever elections in former semi-autonomous tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, that was once a stronghold of militant groups like the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the first-ever provincial elections were held on Saturday, comprises seven districts and was merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in May 2018 after a constitutional amendment.
According to the unofficial results of 13 constituencies out of 16, Khan's PTI and independents got five seats each while Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Awami National Party won one seat each. Results of three constituencies were not available so far.
The law set aside 24 seats in the provincial assembly for the former FATA region. However, due to administrative reasons elections on those seats were not held with the general polls held in the country in July last year.
After putting in place the necessary legal and logistic wherewithal, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) went ahead to hold the election on the 16 general seats.
Another four seats are reserved for women and one for non-Muslims and these seats will be awarded to the political parties on the basis of their share in 16 contested seats.
ECP spokesman Nadeem Qasim earlier told the media that it might take a day before the official results will be announced.
A total of 1,897 polling stations were set up, including separate poling facilities for men and women. The ECP data showed that 285 candidates were contesting for 16 general seats.
The ECP said that out of 2.80 million voters, 1.67 million are men and 1.13 million women.
Poling was held in peaceful environment as foolproof security measures were taken and government deployed 34,497 security personnel from army, police and Paramilitary Frontier Corps, Levies and Khasadar Force.
The tribal region was once known as stronghold of militants from Al-Qaeda and other groups but the rebels were killed or expelled by the army in successful military operations.
Pakistan, after a series of reforms, has also abolished the colonial era draconian Frontier Crime Regulations law, which prescribed collective punishments for the entire tribes even for minor misdemeanours.