ISLAMABAD: The first-ever provincial assembly elections in the erstwhile Federally Admi­nistered Tribal Areas (Fata) will take place in the last week of June.

A schedule for the polls on 16 seats of the Khyber Pakhtun­khwa (KP) Assembly would be announced by the end of April, said a senior official of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) while speaking to Dawn.

The ECP had determined and notified in January the share of tribal districts in the provincial assembly seats. The decision was in line with Article 106 of the Constitution amended through the 25th Amendment in May last year and last-minute promulgation of an ordinance to avert disenfranchisement of scattered tribal regions.

The ordinance amended Section 20 of the Elections Act, 2017, inserting a new sub-section (2A) which reads: “For the purpose of delimiting constituencies, for the general seats of the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for tribal areas, two or more separate areas may be grouped into one constituency for their elections to be held in 2019 and by-elections related therein and thereafter this sub-section shall stand omitted.”

Election schedule for 16 general seats to be out within two weeks

According to the representation determined by the ECP, Bajaur and Khyber will have three general seats each in the provincial assembly, Mohmand, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan will have two seats each while one seat will go to Orakzai and the Frontier Regions each.

The KP Assembly, under the amended Article 106, will have a total of 145 seats including 115 general seats, 26 seats reserved for women and four for non-Muslim communities. Of the total 145 seats in the KP Assembly, Fata will have 21 seats, including 16 general, four for women and one reserved for non-Muslims.

Under the amendment, the elections for these seats were to be held within a year after the 2018 general elections.

The ECP has already carried out delimitation of constituencies and notified it. The constituencies were delimitated using district-wise provisional population data of Census-2017 provided by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and maps provided by KP’s revenue department.

While the rules require that variation in populations of each constituency should not exceed by 10 per cent, it was done in many cases for different reasons.

In Bajaur district, there are three provincial assembly constituencies namely PK-100 (Bajaur-I), PK-101 (Bajaur-II) and PK-102 (Bajaur-III), which have the population of 351,555, 341,386 and 393,743, respectively. The variation among these three constituencies is 12.44pc, which has exceeded slightly from the 10pc permitted variation. But this was done due to peculiar tribal affiliations of the district.

In Khyber district, there are three provincial assembly constituencies namely PK-105 (Khyber-I), PK-106 (Khyber-II) and PK-107 (Khyber-III) which have the population of 314,569, 348,756 and 323,648, respectively. The variation among these three constituencies is 10.39pc which has exceeded minutely from 10pc allowed variation. However, this was done to avoid dividing large administrative units of the district.

Kurram district now has two provincial assembly constituencies namely PK-108 (Kurram-I) and PK-109 (Kurram-II) having the population of 339,247 and 280,306, respectively. The variation among these two constituencies is 19.44pc, significantly higher than the permitted percentage of variation. But this was done due to several reasons including the history of religious clashes in the agency.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2019

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