Independents leading in historic tribal elections
July 22 2019 01:26 AM
This picture taken on Saturday shows a man casting his vote at a polling station in Jamrud.


Independent candidates are leading in the first provincial elections for 16 general seats in seven tribal districts and six towns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), according to unofficial Form-47 results published by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) online.
Voting was held from 8am-5pm without a break on Saturday amid tight security, with army troops, Levies and Khasadar forces deployed outside all 1,897 polling stations.
Security personnel were also deployed inside polling stations that had been declared highly sensitive.
In all, 285 candidates, including two women, contested the 16 general seats of the KP Assembly to represent three constituencies each of Bajaur (PK-100 to 102) and Khyber (PK-105 to 107) districts; two each of Mohmand (PK-103 and 104), Kurram (PK-108 and 109), North Waziristan (PK-111 and 112) and South Waziristan (PK-113 and 114); and one each of Orakzai (PK-110) district and ex-Frontier regions (PK-115).
Besides ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) nominees, candidates from the Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), the Awami National Party (ANP), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) contested the polls.
There were independent candidates as well.
Breakdown of the election winners by political affiliation are as follows: Independent – five seats, PTI – four seats, and JI, ANP and JUI – one seat each.
The results are still pending for PK-112, 113, 114, and 115.
According to unofficial results from the ECP, the following were the winners by afternoon yesterday:
* PK-100 Bajaur-1: the PTI’s Anwarzeb Khan
* PK-101 Bajaur-II: the PTI’s Ajmal Khan
* PK-102 Bajaur-III: the JI’s Siraj Uddin
* PK-103 Mohmand-I: the ANP’s Nisar Ahmed
* PK-104 Mohmand-II: Independent candidate Abbas Rehman
* PK-105 Khyber-I: Independent candidate Shafiq Afridi
* PK-106 Khyber-II: Independent candidate Bilawal Afridi
* PK-107 Khyber-III: Independent candidate Mohamed Shafiq
* PK-108 Kurram-I: the JUI-F’s Mohamed Riaz
* PK-109 Kurram-II: the PTI’s Iqbal Mian
* PK-110 Orakzai: Independent candidate Ghazan Jamal
* PK-111 North Waziristan-I: the PTI’s Iqbal Khan
Meanwhile, it was reported that in the Sheen Qamar area of Bara, Khyber district, local elders of the Zaodin Zakhakhel tribe decided to keep women away from the polling stations, reportedly due to the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras there.
Saadullah Khan, an area resident, was quoted by Dawn newspaper as saying that the number of registered female voters in Sheen Qamar was around 2,000, but none was allowed to cast her vote.
The only woman contestant for Khyber-I (PK-106) seat was Naheed Afridi, fielded by the ANP.
The overall turnout at some 345 polling stations, both male and female, was lower than expected as most of the registered women voters stayed away from casting their votes in Bara, Jamrud, and Landi Kotal.
Heela Shinwari, who exercised her right to vote for the first time, said that the lack of knowledge about casting of votes was one of the main reasons for the low turnout of female voters.
Female voting at one of the polling stations, which was set up at a government higher secondary school, was suspended briefly when rival candidates objected to presence of some male voters in the polling area.
Shareef Khan, a resident of Tirah, said that the polling remained peaceful but the turnout was not up to their expectations.
In Mohmand district, both male and female voters came out to elect their representative for three seats of KP Assembly.
For the first time, women were seen casting their votes in the Safi tehsil of the tribal district.
Tight security arrangements were made by the district administration with the support of the local police and Levies and Khasadar forces.
Around 1,700 personnel were deployed besides monitoring of election activities through CCTV cameras at all the 194 polling stations to ensure a free and fair election.
In Kurram district, the turnout of voters was also low, leading to announcements from local mosques urging voters to exercise their right to franchise.
Both men and women cast their votes.
The only woman contestant for Kurram-II (PK-109) seat, named Malasa, was fielded by the JI.
In North Waziristan, participation of voters was low apparently due to curfew and enforcement of Section 144 of the criminal procedure code during the pre-election days.
No incident of violence was reported from South Waziristan as polling remained peaceful in the tribal district.
In Orakzai district, a vehicle taking voters to a polling station fell into a ravine, leaving two people dead and eight others injured.
Election material was dispatched to all the polling stations in the district on time, and there were no reports of complaints.
In Bajaur district, voting for the three provincial assembly seats was held peacefully.
The ECP established 338 polling stations for the three constituencies, in which 67 had been declared sensitive and 27 most sensitive.
Subsequently, strict security arrangements were witnessed at all polling stations across the district.
In the Ex-Frontier region, polling at 10 stations in Betanni tribal subdivision (PK-115) ended peacefully amid tight security on Saturday evening.
A rush of voters was seen at the polling stations in the morning and just before closing time.
Women voters also came out of their houses and went to polling stations to cast their votes.

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