Sunday December 10, 2023

Tribal districts’ polls: Independents ruling the roost

By Bureau report
July 21, 2019

PESHAWAR: Unofficial preliminary results of the landmark election for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in the merged tribal districts became available soon after the counting of votes began Saturday evening.

However, the remoteness of the area and the lack of means of communication in some of the 16 general constituencies were cited as reasons for the delay in getting the results. The Election Commission of Pakistan had already made it clear that lack of connectivity in certain merged tribal districts would delay the election results and the official results would become available by around Sunday noon.

The polling, held in remarkably peaceful conditions across the remote and rugged terrain of erstwhile Fata, ended as scheduled at 5 pm. Soon afterwards, the counting started in presence of the polling agents of candidates. Large crowds gathered outside the polling stations as they waited for the results.

The complete result of none of the constituencies was available till the filing of this report. However, early reports indicated that independents were ahead in seven constituencies, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on four seats, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and Jamaat-i-Islami in two constituencies each and the Awami National Party (ANP) in one constituency.

Independent candidates in certain areas in the seven tribal districts, hitherto referred to as tribal agencies, and six sub-divisions, earlier known as Frontier Regions, did well and took an early lead against contestants belonging to the political parties. In Khyber district, independents were in the lead in all three constituencies as the PTI suffered due to internal differences and presence of more than one party candidate in the contest.

One such independent candidate with a substantial lead was Ghazi Ghazan Jamal, the son of veteran tribal parliamentarian Dr Ghazi Gulab Jamal, also known as GG Jamal, in the lone Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seat, PK-110, from Orakzai district. The incomplete and unofficial result from 103 polling stations showed him with 11,651 votes. The runner-up was PTI’s Shoaib Hasan, who polled 7,294 votes.

Another independent contestant, Johar Abbas was placed third with 3,174 votes. The fourth position was being held by yet another independent candidate, Malik Habib Noor who got 2,626 votes.

Other unverified and unofficial results are as follows:

PK-100 Bajaur-1

PTI’s Anwar Zeb Khan was leading with 10,916 votes in 77 polling stations out of 104.

PK-101 Bajaur-2

Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sahibzada Haroon Rasheed was ahead with 7,005 votes against PTI’s Ajmal Khan who obtained 5,734 votes. These results are from 60 out of 103 polling stations.

PK-102 Bajaur-3

Sirajuddin of Jamaat-i-Islami led with 11,101 votes after counting of votes in 56 out of 131 polling stations. Independent candidate Khalid Khan was second with 6,931 votes. PK-103 Mohmand-1

ANP’s Nisar Khan Mohmand was ahead with 10,314 votes while PTI’s Rahim Shah was a close second with 10,092 votes. The votes in 82 out of 86 polling stations had been counted.

PK-104 Mohmand-2

Independent candidate Abbasur Rahman was leading with 4,958 votes after counting of polled ballots in 24 out of 108 polling stations. PTI’s Sajjad Khan was runner-up with 3,432 votes.

{K-105 Khyber-1

After counting of votes in 93 polling stations out of 110, independent candidate Shafiq Afridi was ahead with 18,100 votes followed by independent contestant, Shermat Khan, who is a PTI dissident, with 6,603 votes.

PK-106 Khyber-2

Independent candidate Bilawal Afridi, son of former MNA Shahjee Gul Afridi, was ahead with 8,745 votes while PTI’s Aamir Mohammad Khan Afridi was second with 4,514 votes. The votes in 47 out of 89 polling stations had been counted.

PK-107 Khyber-3

Independent candidate Shafiq Afridi was in the lead with 10,139 votes followed by former MNA and federal minister Hamidullah Jna Afridi with 8,250 votes. The votes in 100 out of 146 polling stations had been counted.

PK-108 Kurram-1

JUI-F’s Mohammad Riaz Khan led with 2,291 votes after counting in 29 of the 135 polling stations. The runner-up was independent contestant Jamil Khan with 1,595 votes.

PK-109 Kurram-2

PTI’s Syed Iqbal Mian was ahead with 12,589 votes while independent candidate Inayat Hussain was placed second with 7,816 votes. The votes in 52 out of 130 polling stations had been counted.

PK-110 Orakzai

After counting in 103 of the 175 polling stations, independent contestant Syed Ghazi Ghazan with 11,651 votes was leading. He was followed by PTI’s Shoaib Hasan who got 7,294 votes.

PK-111 North Waziristan-1

PTI’s Mohammad Iqbal was in the lead with 2,870 votes when ballots in 12 of the total 76 polling stations were counted. JUI-F’s Samiuddin was placed second with 1,386 votes.

PK-112 North Waziristan-2

The votes in 55 of the 102 polling stations had been counted as last reports came in. Independent candidate Mir Kalam Khan, backed by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) was leading with 5,559 votes. JUI-F’s Siddiqullah was the runner-up with 4,033 votes.

PK-113 South Waziristan-1

Independent contestant Waheed Khan was leading with 3,114 votes while JUI-F’s Hafiz Islamuddin with 2,014 votes was second. The votes in 23 out of the 130 polling stations had been counted.

PK-114 South Waziristan-2

PTI’s Naseerullah Khan was ahead with 6,278 votes against independent candidate Mohammad Arif Wazir, backed by the PTM, was placed second with 4,952 votes.

PK-115 ex-Frontier Regions

JUI-F’s Mohammad Shoaib was leading with 5,400 votes followed by the PTI’s Abidur Rahman with 4,738 votes after counting of votes in 38 of the 163 polling stations.

The polling had started at 8 am but the polling was slow. It became brisk around noon and in the afternoon. More than 34,000 security personnel, including those from Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Levies and Khassadars and the newly inducted police were deployed to main order during the polls. The security forces were deployed inside and outside 554 highly sensitive polling stations.

According to the provincial election commissioner, results would be made available through the WhatsApp due to the network issue in the merged districts.

A total of 1,897 polling stations were set up for the election. Among the 282 candidates taking part in the polls, 80 belonged to all major political parties. They were outnumbered by the more than 200 independent candidates.

In some places, the voters carried Pakistan’s flags and raised slogans in favour of the government. Enthusiasm was high among the people as many waved their party flags and chanted slogans in favour of their favoured candidates. Small incidents of brawls and verbal sparring were reported from certain places. The two female contestants on general seats were nowhere in the contest. ANP’s Naheed Afridi was a more serious contender in Khyber district considering her election campaign while JI’s Malassa Bibi was among the also-rans. She failed to run any election campaign.

Meanwhile, the jubilant PTI supporters gathered at the camps of their winning candidates where they distributed sweets and performed their tribal dance. They also raised slangs, including “peace won, terrorism defeated.”