The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa govt has required the Election Commission of Pakistan ( ECP ) to postpone for 20 days the first-ever provincial assembly elections that were to be held in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas ( FATA ) on July 2. The ECP had granted a notification on May 6 announcing the plan for the provincial assembly elections. A June three letter from the KP Home and Tribal Affairs Department to the ECP, however, sought a delay in polls.
The letter stated that the present “unwarranted situation and threats of serious nature from across the border, and some improvements within newly combined districts may sabotage the whole process of holding upcoming elections”. Adviser to the KP Chief Minister Ajmal Wazir described current incidents of terrorism in the tribal areas, particularly North Waziristan, as a matter of concern, and declared that the purpose of seeking a delay in polls was to ensure a peaceful environment and a level playing field for all applicants.
According to the letter, the provincial govt sought a delay in polls due to “threats of terrorist activities from across the border/neighbouring Afghanistan with newly joined districts ( NMDs ), threat to political leadership of NMDs, post-merger problems of ex-FATA into KP, fresh improvements in North Waziristan and change of command of Levies and Khasadar personnel from deputy commissioners to district police officers”. The letter argued that the Levies and Khassadars had not yet been coached to perform security duties in the absence of territorial and tribal duties.
“As per the request, postponing the July 2 polls for 20 days lies within the constitutional restrict of July 25. I am therefore directed to demand you to postpone the provincial elections in NMDs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for 20 days to manage above-mentioned reasons and creating foolproof security and management arrangements for the smooth, efficient and safe conduct of elections,” the letter, signed by a section officer in the division, concluded.