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QUETTA: The dissidents who had revolted against the PML-N government in Balochistan two months ago emerged on Saturday as a majority group in the Senate election by winning six out of 11 seats.

The alliance between the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Party (NP) could win four seats, while the JUI-F which had played an important role in ousting the government led by Nawab Sanaullah Zehri of the PML-N managed to grab one seat.

No candidate backed by the PML-N could succeed, while it had put three candidates for general, technocrats and woman seats.

Six independent senators-elect said they would take a decision about their future with consensus. “We have not decided so far to join any party,” said Mir Sadiq Sanjrani, who is considered to be a supporter of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

“We will work and struggle for the rights of Balochistan and its people in the upper house,” Anwarul Haq Kakar told reporters after being elected.

Provincial Election Commissioner Mohammad Naeem Jaffar, who was also returning officer, declared Ahmed Khan Khilji, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Mir Sadiq Sanjrani and Khuda Babar (independents), Khuda Mohammad Akram Dashti (National Party), Sardar Shafiq Tareen (PkMAP) and Molvi Faiz Mohammad (JUI-F) elected on general seats.

Mir Tahir Bizenjo (National Party) and Nasibullah Bazai (Independent) were elected on technocrats’ seats.

Abida Omer Dotani (PkMAP) and Sana Jamali (independent) were elected on women’s seats, as per the unofficial results.

The Balochistan National Party-Mengal, which was part of the dissidents, could not get any seat. In the 2015 elections, the party had managed to get elected Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini as its senator with only two votes.

JUI-F candidate Molvi Faizullah narrowly escaped defeat as he got five votes in the first preference, while the party has eight members in the Balochistan Assembly.

In the second count, he got required points after pro-government and some other members gave him second preference.

Mohammad Yousaf Kakar of PkMAP was declared winner in the first count, but he lost in the recount and Sardar Shafiq Tareen, also of his party, won the seat.

Mir Tahir Bizenjo, a joint candidate of NP and PkMAP, got the highest 28 votes on technocrats’ seat.

Nasibullah Bazai, who had joined hands with the dissidents, was also elected on the technocrats’ seat.

Former chief minister Sanaullah Zehri had expelled Mr Bazai two days ago from the post of provincial general secretary of PML-N.

The PML-N candidate, who was contesting as an independent, Mir Afzal Mandokhel could not get required votes.

The polling started in the Balochistan Assembly at 9am amid tight security, but the first vote, by Aslam Bizenjo of NP, was cast after 11am. The last vote was cast by Mr Zehri along with four other PML-N legislators.

Hundreds of security personnel from police, Frontier Corps, ATF and Balochistan Constabulary were deployed in and around the Balochistan Assembly. No one was allowed to enter the area without security passes.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2018