The merged districts of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) are poised for another historic milestone as the next general elections approach on February 8. For the first time in their history, polling for both National Assembly and provincial legislature seats will occur simultaneously.
In 2019, another significant milestone was achieved when 16 seats of the tribal districts in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly were contested for the first time after their merger with the province. The inaugural elections for the provincial assembly seats from the merged districts occurred on July 18, 2019, a year after the general polls of July 25, 2018.
It’s worth noting that Bajaur, which had two NA seats in the 2018 general elections, now has one seat following last year’s constituency delimitation.
In 2019, independent candidates dominated the provincial polls by securing six seats, followed by the PTI with five. The candidates of the JUI-F bagged three seats while the ANP and Jamat-e-Islami (JI) both won one each.
Three independent candidates joined the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and formed a new parliamentary party in the province.
Of the four reserved seats for women from the merged districts, the PTI secured two while the JUI-F and BAP both acquired one each.
The lone reserved seat for minorities was also bagged by the PTI.
According to the results of the 2019 polls, the winners included PTI’s Anwar Zeb Khan from PK-100 Bajaur-I, PTI’s Ajmal Khan from PK-101 Bajaur-II, JI’s Sirajuddin Khan from PK-102 Bajaur-III, ANP’s Nisar Ahmed from PK-103 Mohmand-I, independent candidate Abbas Rehman from PK-104 Mohmand-II, and independent candidate Shafiq Afridi from PK-105 Khyber-I.
Others who emerged victorious included independent candidate Bilawal Afridi from PK-106 Khyber-II, independent candidate Mohammad Shafiq from PK-107 Khyber-III, JUI-F’s Muhammad Riaz from PK-108 Kurram-I, and PTI’s Syed Iqbal Mian from PK-109 Kurram-I.
The list continues with independent candidate Syed Ghazi Ghazan Jamal securing a win from PK-110 Orakzai, PTI’s Muhammad Iqbal Khan from PK-111 North Waziristan-I, independent candidate Mir Kalam Wazir from PK-112 North Waziristan-II, JUI-F’s Hafiz Isamuddin from PK-113 South Waziristan-I, PTI’s Naseerullah Khan from PK-114 South Waziristan-II, and JUI-F’s Muhammad Shoaib from PK-115 Ex-Frontier Regions.
As the February 8 elections draw closer, the merged districts brace for yet another chapter in their political journey, marking a significant milestone in the region’s democratic history.