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Since mainstream media has blatantly ignored the election activities in Balochistan, nationalists and religious parties in the province have shifted their focus towards social media to woo voters.

Almost all political parties taking part in the upcoming general elections have launched social media campaigns, as no mainstream media house has conducted a detailed programme on any constituency in Balochistan so far.

"Balochistan's heavyweights do not matter for our media," Amjad Rasheed, a human rights activist and former education minister, told DawnNewsTV.

Only two BBC reporters and Dunya TV's analyst Shahzeb Jillani visited Quetta to report election activities. The rest of the media has apparently ignored this strategically important province, which covers half of the country in terms of area.

"The media too has [meted out] step-motherly treatment like other institutions towards this province", Rauf Lala, a Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader lamented.

Traditional Balochi, Brahvi and Pashto songs are posted on Facebook pages in an attempt to draw voters' attention.

Most of these songs are being put up by Balochistan National Party-Mengal, PKMAP, National Party (NP), Awami National Party (ANP), and Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), among other political groups.

However, the BNP-Mengal appears to be effectively harnessing the power of social media. The party workers have been using hashtags like #BalochistanNeedsSMengal on Twitter. Also, BNP-Mengal and NP have both been using hashtags like #Vote4Education.

"Media can help us communicating our message to voters," BNP-Mengal's information secretary Agha Hassan Baloch said.

Heavyweights from Balochistan including Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Jam Kamal, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Jan Jamali, retired Gen Qadir Baloch, Nawab Aslam Raisani and several others are testing their mettle for the upcoming general elections. However, these senior leaders are yet to grab the attention of national media.

Also read: Are we ignoring the political dynamics in Balochistan?

A few days back, the BNP chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and BAP chief Jam Kamal exchanged heated words on Twitter. Jam Kamal in his tweet said:

In response, Sardar Akhtar Mengal tweeted this:

The newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) has also made Facebook pages and has been running national songs and anthems in Urdu to pave the way for its success in the elections.

"We are trying to reach out to voters through social media," says Saeed Hashmi, the founding member of BAP. "When the national media gives our public gatherings and corner meetings a cold shoulder then naturally we have no other choice but to use social media."

The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of religious parties, is also at the forefront in terms of usage of social media. "National media only covers terrorism in Balochistan," said Advocate Malik Sikandar, the secretary general of JUI-F, who is contesting from PB-25 constituency.

"The race for ratings among the channels deprive Balochistan of due coverage," Ayub Tareen, who heads Hum TV channel in Quetta said.

With every passing day, electioneering is gaining momentum in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. However, long distances and tough terrains make it difficult for political leaders to meet all voters. In Mekran, Awaran and other troubled areas, some candidate's convoys have been attacked by Baloch insurgents. Fortunately, with no loss of human life was reported.

Under such trying conditions, all those gunning for a spot in the assemblies can only look to social media for maximum reach.