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August 1, 2018

KP makes history by voting PTI to power for second consecutive time


August 1, 2018

PESHAWAR: The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on July 25 made an electoral history by returning the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to power with a thumping majority.

Contrary to the notion that the people of the province never voted for the incumbents, the voters for the first time set aside the much-talked-about incumbency factor. They elected a party for the straight second time even though it had ruled them for full term of five years.

It happened for two obvious reasons — good governance and Imran Khan’s charisma.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, previously named as North West Frontier Province (NWFP), was detached from Punjab in 1901 and established on November 9, 1901 as chief commissioner province.

As a result of the first general election held in 1937, the first elected provincial legislature came into being which met on April 14, 1937, for taking oath at the Memorial Victoria Hall in Peshawar.

The session was presided over by Dr Khan Sahib, who was appointed as acting speaker. Khan Sahib then ran the province as Indian National Congress nominated chief minister.

The province remained under the Governor’s Rule from 1939 to 1943. It has a checkered parliamentary history and was mainly ruled by Pakistan Muslim League till 1953. Then there was a long rule of martial law and controlled democracy that ran through 1970.

However, after the East Pakistan debacle, democracy returned to the country as an outcome of the first democratically acknowledged election held in 1970. The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gave a split mandate shared by all major parties in the polls.

However, the province was run by a coalition of National Awami Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.

In 1977, the general election was held, but due to agitation by the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), martial law was imposed and the Pakistan People Party (PPP) government overthrown.

The 1985 election was held on non-party basis while in 1988, the snap election was held which marked the PPP coming into power and Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao forming the PPP-led coalition government in the province. It was dismissed in two years.

In the 1990 election the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa voted for the right-wing Islami Jamhoori Ittihad (IJI) that formed a coalition government headed by Mir Afzal Khan. Like the federal government, the provincial government was also dismissed in 1993 and elections were held on October 9 that year.

The people of the province again opted for a split mandate and Pir Sabir Shah of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) formed the government which was dislodged. Aftab Sherpao of the PPP then formed the government that was also shown the door in 1996 after two years, six months and 18 days of rule in the province.

The next general election was held in February 1997. The PML-N got a majority and formed coalition government with ANP with Sardar Mahtab Ahmed Khan as chief minister. The provincial government was dismissed when Gen Pervez Musharraf wrapped up federal government in a military coup on October 12, 1999.

Ordered by the Supreme Court, Gen Musharraf held general election in 2002 and an alliance of the religious parties, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), got a majority in the province. Akram Khan Durrani of the JUI-F was elected as chief minister. It was the first government led by any party or alliance that completed its term in office.

However, the incumbency factor worked and in the general election held on February 18, 2008, people ignored the religious alliance and majority of the candidates of the ANP and PPP returned to the provincial assembly.

The ANP remained the majority party with 49 seats — 39 elected and 10 on reserved seats followed by PPP with 20 seats — 16 directly elected and four on reserved seats. The MMA won only 11 seats in the polls. The ANP-led coalition also completed its five-year term in 2013.

The former ruling parties, ANP and PPP were not voted to power as the incumbency factor struck again in the 2013 election. The voters chose PTI that had only one member in the previous assembly.

The PTI gained majority in the assembly and ruled the province by offering the Jamaat-i-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and the Swabi-based Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan to become part of the coalition government. The ANP won a negligible number of four seats and PPP got just five in the provincial assembly.

However, with the convincing victory of the PTI in July 25 election that secured 67 seats in the provincial assembly, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa set aside the notion of the incumbency factor. They voted for the party for consecutive second time.

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