With the restoration of the status of the newly-created districts of Murree and Talagang – the major tehsils of District Chakwal – the number of districts in the Rawalpindi Division has increased from four to six, making it the largest administrative division of the province.
The Punjab government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have formally recognised the status of the new districts of Murree and Talagang as constitutional.
The Punjab government has appointed deputy commissioners of the new districts while the ECP has also issued a notification by including the seats of the national and provincial assemblies and the voter’s details separately in the name of the new districts in the election voters’ list.
With this, the national and provincial assembly seats of the Rawalpindi and Chakwal districts as well as the number of votes have decreased while the order of seats of these districts has also changed.
Senior Bureaucrat Agha Zaheer Abbas Shirazi has been appointed as the deputy commissioner (DC) of Murree district. A formal notification for his appointment has also been issued by the Punjab government. The newly appointed DC will take charge on Monday.
With this move, the total votes of Murree district have increased to 290,931. This includes 152,470 male and 138,461 female votes. The newly-created district will have one new seat in the National Assembly and two in the provincial assembly.
Meanwhile, the total number of votes in the new district of Talagang is 421,204, including 215,101 male and 206,103 female votes.
With the formation of Murree as a separate district, the votes of the Rawalpindi district have reduced to 3,259,498. This breaks down to 1,681,847 male and 1,577,651 female votes. The number of National Assembly seats of Rawalpindi district has been reduced from seven to six and the provincial assembly seats to 13.
With Talagang becoming a new district, the votes of Chakwal have reduced to 767,482, including 388,582 male and 378,900 female votes.
On the other hand, the total number of votes of the Islamabad district has increased to 1,041,554, with three National Assembly seats remaining intact.
The total votes of the two other districts of Rawalpindi Division have increased to 1,098,912 out of which 588,935 are male and 509,977 female voters.
The total votes of Jhelum district are 1,042,256, including 537,019 male and 505,237 female votes. It should be noted that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had made Murree a new district but Hamza Shahbaz, upon becoming Punjab chief minister, abolished its district status.
When Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi was re-elected as the Punjab CM, he restored the status of the Murree district and appointed Ahmed Hasan Ranjha as its first deputy commissioner. After the Punjab Assembly was dissolved, the caretaker government removed the deputy commissioner and suspended Murree from being a district.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th2023.