QUETTA: The ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) won the by-election held on Monday on a Senate seat.

Polling began at 9am and continued till 4pm without break amid tight security in and around the Balochistan Assembly.

The seat had fallen vacant after Senator Azam Khan Musakhail of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) passed away last month due to heart failure.

Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, who is secretary general of the BAP, was elected Senator by receiving 38 votes in the 65-member house, while Ghulam Nabi Marri, who was a joint candidate of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), bagged 23 votes.

Mr Kakar was a joint candidate of the BAP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, ANP, BNP-Awami, Hazara Demo­cratic Party and Jamhoori Watan Party.

According to Provincial Election Commissioner Ghulam Israr, 63 out of 65 votes were polled in the by-election.

Parliamentary leader of the PTI in the Balochistan Assembly Yar Moham­mad Rind and former chief minister Sanaullah Khan Zehri, who were out of Quetta, did not cast their votes, while one vote was rejected.

With the election of Manzoor Kakar, the BAP’s strength in the upper house of parliament reached eight, including Senate Chairman Mir Sadiq Sanjrani.

PkMAP candidate Hanif Khan Musakhail could get only one vote as his party has one member in the Balochistan Assembly.

Syed Ehsan Shah of the BNP-Awami, who is a member of the ruling coalition, did not vote for Manzoor Kakar and supported joint candidate of BNP-M and JUI-F Ghulam Nabi Marri. Independent Aslam Raisani also voted for the BNP-M candidate.

Talking to reporter after the election, BAP president and Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan said the by-election result had proved that the rumours of differences within the ruling alliance were baseless.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2019