QUETTA: Women cast votes at a polling station in Pashtoon Bagh.—APP
QUETTA: Women cast votes at a polling station in Pashtoon Bagh.—APP

QUETTA: Hazara Democratic Party’s (HDP) candidate Qadir Nayel won the by-election on Monday for the Balochistan Assembly’s constituency of BP-26 (Quetta-III).

According to unofficial results, Mr Nayel — who was enjoying the support of the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — obtained 5,272 votes against 4,257 ballots polled by his rival Maulana Wali Muhammad Turabi.

Maulana Turabi of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) was the joint candidate of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Maulana Turabi contested for the same constituency in the general election last year, but lost to the HDPs’ secretary general, Ahmed Kohzad.

However, the seat later fell vacant after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified Mr Kohzad by declar-ing him an Afghan national.

His rivals had challenged his Pakistani citizenship.

As many as 18 people from main political parties and independent candidates were in the run.

A former MPA, Agha Syed Ali Raza of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, also took part in the by-election.

Amid tight security polling started at 8am and continued till 5pm without any interval. The voters’ turnout was rather slow in the morning due to the cold weather.

However, after 11am a large number voters turned out to vote and long queues were witnessed at the polling stations, especially those meant for women.

No major untoward incident was reported from any area of the constituency even though all the 49 polling stations had been declared “sensitive”.

However, two workers of the HDP and MWM were injured in a clash in the Hazara Town area.

Security forces rushed to the site and brought the situation under control and shifted the injured to the Bolan Medical College Hospital.

Over 5,000 security personnel had been deployed at the polling stations to ensure security there.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2019