QUETTA: Acting speaker of Balochistan Assembly Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail has rejected the merger of Musakhail with the Barkhan constituency of the provincial assembly under the new delimitation exercise by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and announced launch of a movement against the decision.

The new delimitation would deprive Musakhail of its provincial assembly seat, which would be a great political injustice with at least 170,000 people of the area, he said while addressing a press conference in his chamber here on Friday.

“People of Musakhail will never accept this wrongdoing by the election commission and will resist this move with full force,” said the acting speaker, who was accompanied by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl provincial deputy chief Maulana Ghulam Sarwar Musakhail, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Zahir Khan, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader Eid Mohammad and Qurban Gharsheen.

Sardar Babar Musakhail, who was elected on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ticket from the Musakhail-cum-Sherani constituency (PB-1) of Balochistan Assembly in 2018, said that Barkhan and Musakhail areas had different cultures and languages and had no similarities except that both districts lacked basic civic amenities.

He recalled that in the 2018 election when Musakhail was merged with Sherani, people and political parties of the area had protested and expressed their reservations.

He appealed to the ECP to review its decision regarding Musakhail’s merger with Barkhan and restore the constituency as per 2002 delimitation. He also urged the chief justice of Balochistan and authorities concerned to take notice of the ‘injustice’ committed by the ECP and help restore the old constituency of Musakhail and Barkhan.

He argued that Awaran and Sherani districts had far less population but they were given representation in the assembly.

Call for date extension

In a related development, the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians urged the ECP to extend the last date by a few days for filing appeals against the latest delimitations of provincial and National Assembly constituencies.

In a statement issued in Islamabad, the PPPP secretary general said a number of appellants visited the offices of provincial election commissioners to file appeals on the last day on June 30, but were told to file appeals in Islamabad and in person. Their appeals along with supporting documents are ready but because of logistic issues they could not travel to Islamabad on the last day at the short notice. He said an extension by a few days in the last date will enable all the appellants to file their appeals against delimitations before the ECP in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022

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