In the first-ever elections on the provincial seats of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and independent candidates stole the show. These results were not unexpected at all. The results are almost the same as predicted in an editorial that was published by this paper on the day of polls. Out of sixteen provincial seats, independent candidates secured six seats whereas PTI stood victor on five. It is highly likely that the independent candidates will soon join the rank and file of PTI after some bargaining after which PTI will emerge as the largest political party in the tribal belt.

The voting process in the seven districts and frontier regions (FRs) completes the constitutional merger of the erstwhile FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The turnout, according to the official reports, was as low as 27 per cent. But the low turnout should not worry anyone because the polling process in the area took place one year after the general elections. We know that democracy is a culture rather than a process. Therefore, there is no need to be pessimist over the low turnout in the polling exercise. Slowly and gradually, the democratic culture will grow, and people will turn to poll booths in higher numbers in the next general election.

Also, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deserves praise for conducting the polling exercise in a peaceful and secure environment. The gigantic task would not have been completed had the ECP personnel not worked day and night. The efforts of the ECP staff, presiding officers and others need to be praised. It was because of these relentless efforts of these people that the voting process remained free from any major controversy. Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), an organisation that oversees the electoral process, also showed its satisfaction over the process and called the elections free and fair.

With the completion of the polling process, the inhabitants of the erstwhile FATA will become qualified to legislate for themselves through the representative they have sent to the provincial assemblies. The polls held in the region will usher in a new era of socio-economic and political opportunities for the residents of the erstwhile FATA. The election process in the area has given the people of FATA the political rights that they were denied for a long time. Now is the time that the lawmakers from the region fight the battle of social and economic rights of their people in the provincial assembly by introducing progressive bills.