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Poor Political Leadership and Declining Public Interests in Election Process NMD

Poor Political Leadership and Declining Public Interests in Election Process 

in Newly Merged Tribal Districts Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

 

Participating and voting in Elections is a democratic process that gives a win or a loss to those who serve themselves to represent people’s problems and demands before a sophisticated set up that is called parliament. Election slogans play a vital role in attracting people interests to vote in favor a particular party, persons or a person. The state of Pakistan also abides by such democratic rules through Election Commission upon the instructions of national assembly in accordance to its territorial boundaries and international code of democratic conduct. Like other parts of Pakistan newly merged tribal districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have joined in the race of parliamentary marathon back in 2018. As a result, elections were held in  full pledged form and allowed  political parties badging in the General Election of 2018 and afterward Provincial Assembly Elections 2019(that were delayed due to a few political and administrative technicalities). To investigate and diagnose this issue newly merged tribal district Bajaur has been taken as a problme sample. Newly merged tribal district Bajaur Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that was previously known as Bajaur Agency, a territorial entity of the then Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan shares 52 km long border with Kunar province of Afghanistan. According to 2017 Census report the population of Bajaur is consisted on 1,093,684 persons (557160 males, 536520 females and 4 transgenders). Khar is the capital of tribal district Bajaur.

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The permission and extension of political parties in Elections 2013 has played a vital role in the electoral process and people interests in choosing their favorite candidate to meet their ends and exhibited their opinions by casting their  votes. However, historically the political landscape and electoral process in Bajaur has had been remained in the hands of traditionally sound Khans and Nawabs. Meanwhile, since the merger of ex-FATA with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2018 has changed the political demography of Bajaur as in the other tribal districts of ex-FATA.  In 2018 general elections out of total registered voters 492,732(288,958 males, 203,774 females include transgenders) only 103315 votes were casted for the contesting candidates for the seat of National Assembly constituency NA- 40 similarly 88869 votes were used in making member of national assembly for the constituency NA-41, whereas 300,548 votes were spoiled or not casted. Nonetheless, both the seats of national assembly were won by the candidates contesting on the tickets of Pakistan Tehreek -e- Insaaf (PTI). Likewise, in 2019 elections for electing representatives from three different constituencies (PK-100, PK-101 and PK-102) in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly, where out of 492,732 registered voters only  163787 votes were casted (PK-100=51068, PK-101=46358 and PK-102=66361) , whereas two seats were won by candidates contesting on PTI tickets and another by candidate affiliated with Jamat-e- Islami Pakistan (JIP), that shows an increase of 60,472 more than the votes were casted in general elections 2018. The main motivating elements were the enticed public hopes and opinions that they will be given fundamental rights as those were already existed in the settled districts of KPK what the people in the ex-FATA could not entertained from the last 117 years being living under the clouds of frontier crimes regulation (FCR).

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However, the things gone opposite against the expectations of tribal community in Bajaur, as a result people have shown poor participation in the local government Elections 2021 in tribal district Bajaur. Where, out of total registered voters (i.e., 492,732) only 138,413 votes were utilised from both of the administrative sub-divisions Khar and Nawagai, that caused a decline of 354,319 votes. Such a massive decline provokes many questions. Either the public envisaged the performance of political leadership being not able to deliver what people expected of them before election, or the exceeding inflation and weakening public thresholds to manage daily commodities, lack of trust in policy makers, political instability and life insecurity are the major barriers that limit public inspiration to take part in the election process. There are certain areas which need to be addressed both on the part of contesting candidates and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

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First in this digital age of information blast every single statement is recorded, regenerated and re-bounced, so what is stated should be stated carefully and what is promised should be delivered practically. Second, the political slogans should be devised in such a way that are attainable. Third, the election commission should facilitate the voters with proper and accessible polling stations disregard of implanting polling stations on the will of political candidates due to their influence in the concerned polling area. Fourth the  rigging through either means should be addressed in proper way and strict actions should be taken against those involved in the elections rigging. Finally, the election commission including law enforcing agencies should  have an eagle eye on those candidates who have previous and ongoing history of corruptions, embezzlement of government assets ,funds and deviation  of law.  That will build public trust to honor their interests while casting their votes in the election.

 

 

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