ECP calls important meeting on polls in tribal districts tomorrow

PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will hold an important meeting about elections in the merged tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tomorrow (Wednesday).

The meeting, scheduled to be held at 12:00 noon will decide the fate of the upcoming provincial elections on 16 seats of tribal districts. According to a press release of the Election Commission, the meeting has been called in response to the request made by the KP government to delay the polls over security and administrative matters. Officials from the Federal Ministry of Interior, KP Home and Tribal Affairs Department, provincial elections commissioner and other relevant officials have been called to attend the important meeting.

The relevant officials will brief the Election Commission about the latest security situation and administrative matters in the tribal districts ahead of the provincial polls scheduled on July 2.

On June 3, the KP government recommended the ECP to postpone the provincial elections in tribal districts by 20 days.

The recommendation was made in a communique sent to the ECP by the Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The communique says election scheduled on July 2 on 16 seats of KP Assembly in the merged districts may be postponed keeping in view the law and order situation, threat of cross border attacks by terrorists based in Afghanistan, threat of attack on political leadership of the country, problems created due to shifting of police powers to Levies and Khassadars and lack of training of Levies and Khassadar personnel about election duties.

The communique recommends that the provincial polls in tribal districts may be postponed by 20 days and the new date of elections must be fixed at July 25. It notes that elections are breathing life for democratic nations and people of the tribal districts are availing this opportunity for first time in the constitutional history of Pakistan. However, it says, the current situation due to some recent developments and threats from different quarters may sabotage the elections. The communique also mentioned the situation in North Waziristan after the incident of clash between the PTM activists and security personnel in which several casualties occurred.

Speculations about postponement of elections were making rounds after the incident in North Waziristan. Several soldiers have lost their lives and many others injured in the recent spate of attacks in the tribal district. In such a situation, the peaceful holding of elections, particularly in North Waziristan, looked extremely difficult. However, it is up to the Election Commission to accept the recommendation or not.