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ISLAMABAD: After a delay of two weeks, elections on four Senate seats from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were finally held on Friday.

According to unofficial results, Taj Mohammad, Aurengzeb Khan, Momin Khan and Sajid Toori were elected senators after the Islamabad High Court conditionally allowed the polling, linking it with the outcome of its final judgment on a petition filed by former textile minister Abbas Khan Afridi challenging the mode of elections on Fata seats introduced in 2002 by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The elections were to take place on March 5, but confusion over a controversial presidential order amending the procedure of elections had forced the Election Commission to cancel the polling indefinitely.

Under the order that now stands withdrawn, one seat each was allocated for seven tribal agencies and another for frontier regions, practically throwing out of the electoral race the candidates from the tribal agencies already having representation in the Senate, even after the acceptance of their nomination papers.

Although the elections on four of the total eight Senate seats from Fata have now taken place, it remains a fact that those elected now were deprived of their rights to take part in the election to the offices of chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate.

Many blame the ECP for it, saying that the commission should have ignored the last-minute order issued by the president after the announcement of election schedule, particularly when it had found the order to be vague, self-contradictory and derogatory to the law under which the schedule had been issued.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2015

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