PESHAWAR – As many as 2.801million registered voters would exercise their right of vote in the first ever historic elections for 16 general seats of KP Assembly being held on July 20 in merged tribal districts and frontier regions.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made all arrangements for smooth and peaceful conduct of the elections in the erstwhile Fata including Khyber, Bajaur, Mohmand, Kurram, Orakzai, North Waziristan and South Waziristan and Frontier Regions.
Under the 25th constitutional amendment, the merged districts of FATA have been given representation for the first time in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the election for the 16 general seats and five reserved seats, including four for women and one for the minorities was to be held within a year of the July ballot.
This is a big democratic change considering the fact that the inhabitants of FATA finally got the right to vote under the principle of universal adult franchise in 1997. Until then, only the hereditary tribal elders, had the right to vote or contest election for National Assembly.
Army will be deployed inside and outside the most sensitive polling stations and outside of all other polling stations.
According to ECP, the total number of male voters is 1671308 and female 1130529. A total of 285 candidates are in the run for elections including two women from different political parties and independents.
The women candidates are contesting elections from Khyber and Kurram districts constituencies on general seats.
There are eight candidates nominated against four women reserved seats from merged areas and three contesting from the lone non-Muslim seat. ECP has setup 1896 polling stations including 482 male, 376 female and 1038 combined to facilitate the voters.
The elections would be held for three each seats of Bajaur and Khyber districts, two each in Mohmand, Khurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan and one each in Orakzai district and ex frontier regions.
The provincial government has decided to make all out efforts for installation of CCTV cameras on all polling stations including most sensitive polling stations.
The ECP has made strong endeavours by arranging series of workshops and seminars to lure maximum women voters on Election Day at polling stations. Women security personnel would also be deployed on all female and combined polling stations to facilitate women voters.
The ECP has declared elections in constituencies where women polling was less than 10 percent of the total cost would be annulled and fresh election would be announced.
The process of distribution of ballot papers to the constituencies has begun under the supervision of armed forces. Over 2.8m ballot papers have been printed for the said elections.