QUETTA: The by-election to a Balochistan Assembly seat will be held on Monday (today).
The seat had fallen vacant after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified Ahmed Kohzad, the secretary general of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), for being an Afghan national.
Mr Kohzad was elected from PB-26 (Quetta-III) in the 2018 general elections by defeating a candidate of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F). Then opponents challenged his Pakistani citizenship.
According to the Provincial Election Commission, 18 candidates are contesting the by-election, but the main contest is expected between Qadir Nail of the HDP, Maulana Wali Turabi of the JUI-F and Syed Mohammad Raza of the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen.
Maulana Turabi is enjoying support of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, while the Awami National Party, Balochistan Awami Party, JUI-Sami and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf were backing Qadir Nail.
According to the Provincial Election Commission, election material has been handed over to presiding officers of 49 polling stations where 57,675 registered male and female voters would cast their votes.
Forty polling stations have been declared sensitive and nine very sensitive.
Official sources said that Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be imposed in the constituency on Monday and no one, except police and Frontier Corps personnel, will be allowed to carry weapons.
Over 5,000 personnel of police and FC will be deployed in the 49 polling stations and army troops will help them in case of any untoward situation.
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2018