PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday postponed polls in tribal districts for 18 days as requested by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

The first ever election on 16 provincial assembly seats of tribal districts that were earlier scheduled for July 2 would now be held on July 20. The spokesperson of the ECP, Altaf Khan, told media that the polls in merged districts have been postponed on the request of the KP government till July 20.

On June 9, due to prevailing law and order situation in North Waziristan, the KP home and tribal affairs department has requested the ECP to postpone July 2 elections. The provincial government has warned that there are threats of attacks from across the Afghan border to sabotage the election process.

The letter said that election is a breathing life for democratic nations and the people of newly merged districts in KP are availing this opportunity for the first time in the constitutional history of the country. “The current unwarranted situation and threats of serious nature from across the border and some developments within newly merged districts may sabotage the whole process of holding of forthcoming elections,” the Department expressed the fear.  Adding, it is suggested that the elections may be postponed for twenty (20) days which is within the constitutional limit.

The tribal elders and Political leadership in Bara and Bajaur have rejected any delay in the tribal districts elections. Earlier, the political leadership in Bajaur has warned that if the election were delayed, they will stage massive protests. While the elders in Bara said that the security forces have taken all possible efforts for peace in tribal districts. They added that now that peace has been restored, they should not be deprived of their democratic right.

Provincial Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Mushtaq Ahmad Khan had also warned against any delay in election asked the provincial government to not escape from arranging the first every election in tribal districts.