PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan has issued the final list of candidates for the first ever provincial assembly elections in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) slated to be held on July 2.

The returning officers concerned have allotted symbols to all 297 candidates for 16 general seats.

According to the ECP data, a total of 419 candidates were eligible for the elections after the disposal of appeals against the decisions of the returning officers and 122 of them withdrew their nomination papers until May 29, the last date for doing so.

The symbols allotted to the parties include bat for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, lantern for Awami National Party, book for Jamiat Ulema–i-Islam-Fazl, scale for Jamaat-i-Islami, tiger for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, arrow for Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians and lamp for Qaumi Watan Party.

The highest number of 31 candidates is contesting election in PK-108 Kurram-I followed by 24 in PK-110 Orakzai, 22 in PK-105 Khyber-I and PK-109 Kurram-II each, 21 in PK-114 South Waziristan-II, 20 in PK-112 North Waziristan-II and PK-113 South Waziristan-I each, 19 in PK- 106 Khyber-II and PK-111 North Waziristan-II each, 18 in PK- 104 Mohmand-II and PK-107 Khyber-III, 15 in PK-101 Bajaur-II, 12 in PK-100 Bajaur-I and PK-102 Bajaur-III each, and 10 in PK-115 ex-Frontier Regions.

ECP also allots symbols to all 297 contestants for 16 general seats of provincial assembly

Also, there are four candidates in PK-103 Mohmand-I and 12 in PK-100 Bajaur-I and PK-102 Bajaur-III each and 10 in PK-115 ex-Frontier Regions.

Of the 16 general seats of the provincial assembly, Bajaur and Khyber tribal districts have three each, Mohmand, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan two each, and six former Frontier Regions of Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank one collectively.

The five seats reserved for women and non-Muslims will be filled through proportional representation of seats won by political parties.

There are eight candidates for four seats reserved for women and three for a single seat reserved for non-Muslims.

Correspondent from Landi Kotal adds: The returning officers allotted symbol to 59 election candidates for three general seats of Khyber tribal district.

PTI has fielded Shahid Shinwari, Ameer Mohammad Khan and Zubair Afridi for PK-105, PK-106 and PK-107, respectively, while the Awami National Party’s candidates include Shah Hussain, Ms Naheed Bibi and Mohammad Sadeeq Chiragh for these constituencies.

The PPP’s nominees are Malakzada Nadeem, Hazrat Wali and Sohail Khan, JUI-F’s Mufti Ejaz, Ghufranullah and Shamsullah, and Jamaat-i-Islami’s Murad Husain Afridi, Shah Jehan and Shah Faisal.

Some disgruntled PTI candidates, including Abdul Ghani, Abdur Raziq and Sher Mat Khan, and ANP’s Malik Darya Khan are contesting elections as independent candidate after being denied tickets by their respective parties.

In Bajaur tribal district, 39 candidates are in the running for three provincial assembly seats.

Lists of the candidates showed that most independent candidates are senior activists of the ruling PTI, including PTI local chapter president Haji Rahimdad and general secretary Sayed Ahmad Jan. Most of the mainstream political and religious parties are participating in the election.

Mohmand district is likely to see close election, especially due to differences among the PTI workers and leadership over the nomination of candidates. The disgruntled leaders include Sadiq Khan, Mohammad Israr Safi, Maulana Amirullah Junaidi and Taj Khan.

The PTI first issued election ticket to Sadiq Khan but that was cancelled afterward as Sadiq Khan turned out to be a government employee. The ruling party later named Mohammad Israr Safi as its candidate for PK-104 seat.

Many PTI activists complained about the manner in which the party leadership awarded election and alleged that the tickets were given away to the genuine workers to their discontentment.

They warned that they won’t vote for PTI district general secretary Sajjad Mohmand if he was fielded in PK-104, and would even quit the party.

The ruling PTI awarded ticket for the PK-103 Mohmand-I election to Hafiz Rahim Shah.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz nominated election ticket to Haji Tahir Khan Mohmand for the PK-104 seat but it didn’t field any candidate in the PK-103 constituency.

Maulana Mohammad Arif Haqqani will contest in PK-104 as the JUI-F nominee, while Maulana Gulab Noor is the religious party’s candidate for the PK-103 seat.

The PPPP has awarded election tickets to Arshad Khan for PK-103 constituency and Israil Khan for PK-104 constituency.

The ANP has fielded Nisar Ahmad to contest election in PK-103 and Hazrat Khan in PK-104. The Jamaat awarded tickets to Mohammad Saeed Khan for PK-104 seat and Haji Fazli Raziq for PK-103.

The independent candidates included brother of Senator Abbas Rehman and former senator Abdur Rehman.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2019