Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Monday announced that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) will take action against party members who contested provincial assembly elections in the tribal areas as independent candidates.
Addressing a press conference two days after first-ever provincial assembly polls were held in erstwhile Fata region, Khan said: "I want to make this very clear — some of our candidates contested the elections independently [and] they have harmed [the party]. Action will be taken against them."
Nevertheless, the PTI had fared much better than any other political party, he said.
Independent candidates dominated the historic elections and grabbed six of the 16 seats, according to initial results released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). PTI was close behind with five seats. Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl secured three seats while the Awami National Party and Jamaat-i-Islami secured one each.
The chief minister told reporters that he had congratulated the independent candidates who had won, and invited them to join the ruling party and play a constructive role in the development of their constituencies. He added that two elected members from the tribal areas will also be included in the provincial cabinet as per the law.
Khan insisted that the election was free and fair and the provincial government had not interfered in the polling process.
"The result would have been different if we had interfered," he said. He thanked the security forces and the ECP for the arrangements and lauded the spirit of the people who participated.
"This is a slap in the face of those who thought this merger could not be completed," he said.
In response to a question, Khan said that reports of opposition parties were not being allowed to campaign for elections were "propaganda".