Independents maintain lead in Balochistan LG polls

Published May 31, 2022
DERA ALLAH YAR: Workers of the Election Commission are shifting ballot boxes to different polling stations in the district, as local government polls are being held in 32 districts of Balochistan on Sunday.—Online
DERA ALLAH YAR: Workers of the Election Commission are shifting ballot boxes to different polling stations in the district, as local government polls are being held in 32 districts of Balochistan on Sunday.—Online

QUETTA: Independent candidates maintained their lead in the local government election in Balochistan by winning at least 1,882 of the 4,456 seats, while Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) claimed victory on 469 and 303 seats, respectively, as official results are awaited.

As consolidation of results from as many as 32 of the 34 districts is still under way with the official announcement expected on June 3 as per ECP schedule, the huge turnout of voters, despite sporadic incidents of violence on the day of polling, unlike past is being seen as “very encouraging” and “good for democracy” by top government officials.

The reports reaching from the interior parts of the province suggest that not only young male voters but also female voters were witnessed taking interest in the polling. Large numbers of voters were found in long lines waiting their turn to cast their votes.

According to unofficial results of 3,555 seats collected till Monday evening, independent candidates won 1,882 seats, JUI-F bagged 469, BAP 303, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) 202, National Party (NP) 145, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) 135, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) 130, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) 71, BNP-Awami (BNP-A) 68, Gwadar Rights Movement (GRM) 52, Awami Party (AP) 43, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz 20, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) 19 and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) 16.

Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Aquili confirmed that the overall voting turnout in local government election in Balochistan remained between 50pc and 60pc. He said it was very encouraging and good for democracy.

A senior official claimed the good turnout was the result of awareness programmes conducted with the cooperation of Aurat Foundation and members of civil society before the election. Political analysts were of the opinion that people reached polling stations in large numbers, because they believed their elected representative could resolve their problems at their doorsteps.

“People want their issues should be resolved at local levels, since MNAs and MPAs do not come in contact,” Aslam Rind, a former nazim, told Dawn.

The BNP-Awami, which is a coalition partner of the BAP-led government could get 68 seats. Also, the performance of the PTI and PML-N was not up to the expectation as they won 71 and 20 seats, respectively. JWP, which once ruled the province when Nawab Akbar Bugti was leading the party and elected Chief Minister of Balochistan, won 19 seats.

The Gwadar Rights Movement capitalized on its recent protests for the rights of fishermen and other stakeholders and succeeded to attract the voters, including women in the coa­stal areas of Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara, Surbander and Pishkan.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2022

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