ISLAMABAD: The first-ever provincial assembly elections in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) will be held on July 2, according to an election schedule anno­unced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday.

The Returning Officer (RO) will issue a public notice on Tuesday (today) inviting nominations for the polls on 16 seats of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly.

Candidates will be allowed to file their nomination papers with the RO between May 9 and May 11, while names of the nominated candidates will be published on May 12.

The ECP has set May 18 as the last date for scrutiny and May 22 for filing of appeals against acceptance or rejection of nomination papers, which will be decided by the appellate tribunal by May 27. A revised list of candidates will be published the following day. May 29 will be the last date for withdrawal of candidature as election symbols will be allotted to the contesting candidates the next day.

The election programme will also apply to the four seats reserved for women and one seat reserved for non-Muslims in the KP Assembly as a result of the erstwhile Fata merger.

The ECP, in a separate notification, barred the government and the relevant authorities from posting or transferring any officer in the constituencies for which a poll schedule has been announced.

“No government functionary or elected representative including a local government functionary shall announce any development scheme for the constituencies, where election is under process till 2nd July,” stated the notification issued under Article 218 (3) of the Constitution.

The ECP had determined and notified the share of tribal districts in the KP Assembly seats in January. The decision was in line with Article 106 of the Constitution amended through the 25th Amendment in May 2018.

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 should be held within a year after the 2018 general elections.

Subsequently, the ECP 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 the revenue department of KP government.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party has asked aspirants of the party ticket for the upcoming elections for the provincial assembly in tribal districts to send their applications addressed to the President PPP-P. They have been asked to send a bank draft of Rs30,000 against Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians along with the application to the party’s central secretariat.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2019

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