Tank district has lost its separate National Assembly seat in the new constituencies based on the recent census.
In the 2018 elections, Tank district, with a population of 3,90,626, had been given one seat each in the National and Provincial Assembly. Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s son, Maulana Asad Mahmood, won the NA-37 seat, and, on the PK-94, Mahmood Ahmad Khan became successful.
In 2023, the population of this district is estimated to be 470,000. The provincial seat here has been retained in the new delimitation of constituencies, but Tehsil Jandola has been included in PK 108 (old PK 94).
This area was not a part of this constituency in the previous election. During the first provincial assembly elections after the merger of former FRs, Jandola was included in the provincial constituency (PK 115).
In the same way, the National Assembly Constituency 'NA 37 Tank' has now become 'NA 43 Dera Kam Tank'. In this constituency, along with Tank District (including Jandola), two tehsils of Dera Ismail Khan District, Kalachi and Paniala, and Yark Qanungoi of Tehsil Dera Ismail Khan are included.
Thus, by combining the populations of both districts, NA 43 will now have a population of 7 lakh 64 thousand and 95 individuals.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has written that one of the reasons for the changes in this constituency is that in terms of population, the national seat of District Tank was 52 per cent, which is a little more than half.
Similarly, the seats of Dera Ismail Khan district were 02.2, slightly more than two.
According to the ECP report, the combined population of the two districts, Tank and Dera Ismail Khan, constituted 54.2 seats. But three national seats have been given to these two districts together.
Similarly, in terms of population, 1.32 seats of the Provincial Assembly came in the tank district. Under the population formula, if the share had been more than one and a half, then two seats would have been given. One seat is given since it is less than one and a half.
The local political circles agree that Tank district and its people have suffered a major loss due to the new constituencies. As far as political parties are concerned, it won’t make a lot of difference to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) since, in the past, Maulana Fazlur Rehman won elections from the combined constituency of Dera Tank.
With the new delimitation, the expected candidates for the National Assembly from Tank district who had campaigned in the constituencies for the last five years have suffered. Now, they are upset and angry at the sudden change in the constituency.
Former member of the National Assembly, Dawar Khan Kundi, considers the 2023 census as the reason for the elimination of the constituency. He points out that the Mehsud and Burki tribes living in Tank district have been enrolled in Waziristan, which is unfair to Tank.
He says that Chitral got a National Assembly seat with a population of 515,000. If the census in Tank district was "correct", it could have got a seat here too.
"This constituency has spread far and wide. It's difficult to run an election campaign in a deteriorating law-and-order situation. We have to risk our lives to campaign.”
Political leader Usman Khan Betni is also upset. He says Tank has been treated unjustly. “Why can't the population of 470,000 be given their constituency? As in the previous election, district Dera Ismail Khan should be given two seats in the National Assembly and Tank should be given a separate seat.”
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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Malik Ramzan Shori is the expected candidate from this constituency. He points out that in local politics, it is important to be involved in the joys and sorrows of the people. But it will not be possible to go to remote areas in the present constituency.
"With the new constituencies, Tank has lost its identity. The name of the constituency has also become Dera Kam Tank.”
Journalist Sheikh Rehmat Ullah says that the present constituency’s demography is vast and any candidate will have to face difficulties in running an electoral campaign here.
He says Tank is already a regressive district, and development funds here are always insufficient. More regressive areas have been added to this, which will result in the diversion of elected representative’s development funds from carrying out public projects to appease the people instead.
Sheikh Rehmatullah says that the administrative affairs of the areas included in the National Constituency are with Dera Ismail Khan District. “If the elected representatives would be from Tank, then they would also have serious problems in solving the problems. Therefore, the ECP should restore the national seat of District Tank.”
Published on 9 Nov 2023