PESHAWAR: There are two districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where the number of votes for the National Assembly and provincial assembly seats is the same.
Chitral, the northern-most district of Pakistan and Tank, the southern-most district in the province, have one seat each in the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. This makes the two districts unique as candidates for both the national and provincial legislatures have to campaign in the whole district and seek the votes of the same number of voters to win a seat.
Until the 2013 general election, Chitral had one National Assembly and two provincial assembly seats. But the 2017 population census and delimitation of constituencies resulted in the loss of one provincial assembly seat to Chitral. It now has one National Assembly seat, NA-1, and a single Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly constituency, PK-1.
Chitral, mountainous and scenic, may be termed unlucky for losing one provincial assembly seat even though it is the largest district area-wise in KP covering an area of 14,850 square kilometres. Chitral is so large that it shares border with three provinces of Afghanistan ? Kunar, Nuristan and Badakhshan ? and is separated from Tajikistan by the narrow strip of Wakhan Corridor. It also borders Gilgit-Baltistan and Swat and Upper Dir districts in KP.
Chitral?s politicians and social activists briefly protested the loss of one of their provincial assembly seats, but the remoteness of their district and weakness of their call didn?t get any positive response in the corridors of power in Islamabad.
However, Chitral can claim that its two seats are now at the first spot in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) roll-call. Its National Assembly seat is NA-1, a title that was for years the domain of Peshawar. In fact, ANP leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who won six of the eight elections that he contested from the previous NA-1 Peshawar seat, was so upset about it that he approached the court to have the ECP decision overturned. His petition was dismissed and Chitral got the NA-1 seat instead of Peshawar. Likewise, the first provincial assembly seat in the province, KP-1, has also gone to Chitral.
According to the 2017 census, Chitral has a population of 447,362 while the number of voters is 269,579. The same number of voters in Chitral would elect their only MNA and the lone MPA.
Tank, a small district bordering South Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan and Lakki Marwat, has a total of 180,872 voters. These voters would elect one MNA as well as MPA. The candidates for the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly would have to reach and woo an equal number of voters in all of Tank to win a seat.
In the past elections, Tank was lumped together with the adjoining Dera Ismail Khan district to form one National Assembly constituency.
For the July 2018 polls, Tank has been given one National Assembly seat of its own. The parts of Dera Ismail Khan that were earlier attached to Tank in one National Assembly constituency have now been detached as the district has been given two seats in the national legislature.