Elections in Tribal districts


A new beginning has been made in tribal districts with the start of democratic process. The way tribal people especially the youth and women participated in good numbers in first ever provincial assembly elections on Saturday was really encouraging which transmitted the message that they are peaceful people who believe in democratic process.
The entire political leadership while rising above their political differences contributed greatly to integrate and bring tribal people into the mainstream. In fact all major political parties participated in the election process, which shows how much importance they give to tribal districts. Indeed this will go a long way in further strengthening political process in these neglected areas. Credit for completion of this electoral process also goes to tribal people and then armed forces that gave many sacrifices to make this day happen. Independents and ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf are reportedly leading the polls yet whosever wins, it is actually peace that prevailed and won in these elections. These tribal districts were once seen as launching pads for terrorism but the conduct of provincial elections have manifested that peace stands restored there and that their people want to become part of the democratic mainstream.
Now tribal people would have their elected representatives in the provincial assembly to speak for their people, highlight their problems and get them addressed. Those elected have now greater responsibility on their shoulders to truly represent the aspirations and will of tribal people at the floor of KPK Assembly. We also expect that process of local government elections will also be completed at the earliest in these areas as per promise made by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Such a course indeed will help to address problems of the people at grass roots level.
The process of development must also be expedited in tribal districts with focus on provision of basic amenities and construction of state of the art health and education facilities. Pakistan Army has already done some work in the reconstruction of these areas but now is the time both for Federal and KPK governments to take full responsibility of development by taking on board their elected representatives. Such projects also need to be started that help tribal people stand on their own feet on sustainable basis. These areas are rich in mineral resources and as peace stands restored, domestic and foreign investment can be attracted to exploit these resources, which will ultimately benefit local population.
Tribal people are patriotic Pakistanis who always gave innumerable sacrifices for the sake of country and now we need to stand united to heal their wounds in real sense. We should make tribal districts an example in terms of development as well as putting in place best systems of policing and courts free of any corrupt practices. Certainly, both Federal and KPK governments cannot do it alone as massive funds are required to change the entire landscape of the militancy hit areas. Other federating units should also come forward and contribute their part in the whole process. This will also help forge greater harmony and unity in the country. The international community also owes a great deal to these tribal districts and it should also generously support the development process in whatever way it could. We will ask Federal government to organise an international donors’ conference in Peshawar to apprise the world community about development needs of these areas. Practical help from friendly countries will help government to initiate further steps to bring peace and development in these areas.