QUETTA: Independent candidates won a majority of seats in local government elections on Saturday in Balochistan’s cantonment boards of Quetta, Loralai and Zhob.
Only one candidate belonging to a political party managed to win in Quetta.
Thousands of army, Frontier Corps and police personnel were deployed in and around polling stations. Voters were not allowed to carry mobile phones inside the polling station and the voting process was held peacefully.
According to unofficial results of the Quetta Cantonment Board, Mohammad Aamir (Independent) bagged 312 votes in Ward No 1, Mohammad Mobin (Ind) polled highest 820 votes in Ward No 2, Mohammad Aslam (PML-N) got 731 votes in Ward No 3, Mohammad Kazim (Ind) obtained 381 votes in Ward No 4 and Abdul Qadir (Ind) received 340 votes in Ward No 5.
In the Loralai Cantonment Board, Faiz Mohammad of Loralai Alliance Panel polled 196 votes in Ward No 1 and Shoaib Khan (Ind) obtained 137 votes in Ward No 2.
In Quetta, 33 candidates were in the run and eight in Loralai.
Independent candidates Jumma Khan and Fateh Mohammad were elected unopposed on two general seats of the Zhob Cantonment Bored.
Low turnout was witnessed in both Quetta and Loralai. Voting started at 9am, but polling camps set up by candidates presented a deserted look in the early hours. However, the turnout got better after 1pm.
According to an observer, there was not more than 25 per cent turnout in Quetta. “People preferred to stay at home to enjoy the weekend,” Azam Khan Yousufzai said.
A journalist, who visited several polling stations, ruled out rigging and said: “When turnout is very low one cannot expect bogus voting,” Sadia Jahangir said.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2015