Stage is set for smooth and peaceful holding of first-ever historic elections in merged tribal districts (erstwhile FATA) where around 2.801 million registered voters will exercise their right of franchise to elect lawmakers on 16 general seats of the Khyber Pakthunkhwa Assembly on Saturday (today), thanks to matchless sacrifices rendered by Pakistan Army and other security and law enforcement agencies to restore peace in and bring development to the region. Almost all parties have fielded their candidates for the constituencies and the region has witnessed huge hustle and bustle amid political activities, rallies and election campaign in the recent weeks. The region will also have four indirectly elected women and one minority member in the KP assembly. The Election Commission of Pakistan has completed all arrangements for smooth and peaceful conduct of the elections in merged areas, including Khyber, Bajaur, Mohmand, Kurram, Orakzai, North Waziristan and South Waziristan and the Frontier Regions. According to ECP, the total number of male voters is 1,671,308 besides 1130529 voters. A total of 285 candidates are in the run for elections including two women from different political parties and independents. The female candidates are contesting elections from Khyber and Kurram districts constituencies against the general seats. Pakistan Army will be deployed inside the sensitive polling stations and outside of all other polling stations. The nation has expressed the resolve to spend billions of rupees for the next 10 years in the erstwhile FATA with an aim to bring the area and its people at par with the rest of Pakistan, thus granting them all rights enjoyed by other citizens of the country. While Pakistan suffered huge losses in men and material, thousands of terrorists were killed or captured, millions of dollars of foreign currency was seized and the IED manufacturing enterprises and factories were dismantled in the fight against terrorism by the Pakistan Army. With fencing of Pak-Afghan border, the cross-border movement of terrorists, drugs and smugglers has reduced to almost 5% of what was happening before. Overall planned fencing along Pak-Afghan border is 2,611 kilometres and is to be completed by the end of the year 2020. Till now, 643 kilometres of border fencing, including 462 km in KP and 181 km in Balochistan, has completed. A total of 843 border posts are planned, out of which 233 have been completed while construction on 140 posts is underway. Due to improvement in security situation due to huge sacrifices rendered by Pakistan Army and other security agencies, the number of check posts in rear areas has been reduced by over 31% during 2016-2018, resulting in increased trade activities. More than 800 km of roads have been constructed in the tribal districts as part of communication network thus reducing the travelling time to one-thirds. The biggest outcome of this long war has been mainstreaming of FATA into the national politics. An epoch-making decision by the top political-military leadership paved way for merger of FATA into KP, and despite same resistance from the spoilers, it has proceeded as per plan. It is important for the government to remain focused on provision of services and for the nation to stand alongside the deprived people of former FATA. Similarly it is expected from the Pashtun brothers not to let this great opportunity get wasted in shallow end hollow slogans of hate, division and narrow ethnicity. Let us all grab the opportunity together to move on the road to peace, development and hope with unity and collective wisdom.