KP Assembly
KP Assembly - file photo

Peshawar – First time in Pakistan’s history, 19 newly-elected legislators from the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) sworn as MPAs in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday.

The new MPAs were warmly welcomed by their followers and political workers sitting in the KP Assembly’s visitors’ gallery amid cheers and slogans.

It was a historic moment when over five million tribal people finally get their constitutional representation in the KP assembly.

Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani administered oath to the new MPAs, who were elected in the polls held on July 20 in the erstwhile Fata. Two women and one religious minorities MPAs also took oath.

However, nomination of two women lawmakers on reserved seats is still under process. Election Commission of Pakistan has allocated one seat each to PTI and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

The Speaker congratulated the newly elected MPAs and said, “We are now starting a new journey and people of the merged districts have pinned great hopes on their representatives.”

It is a memorable day for all, the tribal districts and its people as well as for the democratic process and all the political forces played a significant role in mainstreaming the tribal areas.

Welcoming the newly-elected lawmakers, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan termed the day as momentous for the people of the province, especially merged districts.

“Let the visitors celebrate this occasion,” Mahmood Khan addressed the session and said the credit went to the government and the opposition for passing 25th Amendment, which brought the former Fata got merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Elections in the tribal districts is one of the major steps for the completion of the merger process,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani of JUI-F also spoke at the occasion and said that militancy caused widespread destruction in the tribal areas, killed thousands of people besides causing displacement of millions of people.

Referring to the fully-damaged infrastructure in tribal districts, he urged the government to allocate funds 10 times more than the settled districts. “Election in tribal districts is beginning of a long journey and the government should treat constituencies of the newly-elected MPAs irrespective of their political affiliations,” he said.