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Elections in Balochistan

May 06, 2013

This is with reference to the editorial, “Valid concerns” (April 29), in which it was mentioned that “teachers are refusing to perform polling duties in 11 of the province’s 30 districts because of security threats…”

THE situation in Balochistan has, since the beginning, been a matter of grave concern as the powerful establishment did not pay proper attention to the development of the mineral - rich province. This, in turn, has led Baloch nationalists, the majority of whom are young fighters, to seek refuge in the mineral-rich mountains of the province.

None of the democratically selected governments have completed its tenure smoothly in Balochistan due to the fact that Islamabad could not bear a nationalistic approach in term of resources’ distribution.

Moreover, following the death of Nawab Akhbar Bugti, some of the parliamentary forces boycotted the 2008 elections. However, they have decided to become a part of the upcoming elections being held on May 11 and a warm welcome was observed from political parties and the other state institutions.

Furthermore, after the attack on Sanaullah Zehri’s convoy and several attacks on the National Party including its president Dr. Malik, the running campaigns for elections seem to be completely halted as one can rarely find public gathering for the election campaign.

The other thing is that in some districts people have limited awareness about the process of election campaigns in the country because of the fact that electronic media has been on a boycott on the call of Baloch National Front since February 11, particularly in the Mekran division that includes district Kech, Gwadar and Panjgoor.

In addition, Baloch National Front has announced a shutter down and wheel jam strike in overall Balochistan from May 5 to 11 just to distort the elections and the militant organisations BLA, BLF and BRA have, till now, carried out several attacks on candidates in different regions of the province and warned people not to be part of elections as polls might be attacked.

After receiving threats, teachers and professors have refused to put their lives in danger in some 11 districts of the province.

Seventy thousand security forces have been deployed in the province to get control of polls. However, the situation seems to be worse as expected, because militant forces and the Baloch National Front have planned to create disturbance in order not to let the public reach the polling stations to cast their votes.


Law and order

AN uncertain law and order situation in Karachi and coming elections have left many citizens of the metropolis puzzled. People worriedly ask what will happen on the election day or before, during the election campaigns.

The recent law and order situation in the metropolis is not reassuring for the voters; the common citizen wants a peaceful atmosphere. Otherwise he will not participate in elections and would not use his main power (vote) to select his representatives. This is a troubling prospect.

It is a big challenge for the state to facilitate people in the elections and provide them a peaceful environment in order to select their political leadership. But steps need to be taken as this opportunity comes once every five years.


Suggestions for ECP

THIS is apropos of ‘Suggestions for Election Commission’ (April 28) by Mohsin Raza Dashti.

Voters should at least be high school graduates. This way our politicians would give some attention to education.

Second, a candidate should be allowed to contest elections for a maximum of three times either for provincial or national assembly till age 60, and he must have a master’s degree. This way we will have educated people in parliament.