PESHAWAR: Students from the merged tribal districts here on Thursday held a protest demonstration against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to reduce the number of National Assembly seats in the tribal districts from 12 to six.

They warned that the tribal people would soon launch a protest movement for restoration of the seats if the decision was not reviewed.

Addressing a gathering outside the Peshawar Press Club, Fata Students Federation’s central president Jasim Khan Afridi, general secretary Zahid Shah, Esa Khan Orakzai, Faisal Mohmand and others described the ECP’s decision as an injustice with the people of the merged districts.

They objected to the previous census and demanded fresh data for taking such decisions at least to satisfy the people of the relevant areas. “It is unfortunate to abolish some seats of tribal districts in the National Assembly without proper census,” they lamented.

The students said they had decided to launch a united protest movement irrespective of their political affiliations because it was a common issue. They alleged that the federal government was bent upon depriving them of their basic right of representation in the National Assembly.

The protesters said the tribal people had already objected to the previous census and a case in this regard was also pending in the Peshawar High Court.

The students said they would announce a sit-in outside the election commission offices if their demand was not accepted.

“We will start an awareness campaign in different merged districts so as to mobilise the people against the ECP decision,” they said and urged the political parties to take a unified stand on restoration of merged districts’ seats in the National Assembly.

They said the ECP’s decision would be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2022

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