Upsets, protests as Balochistan wakes up to revised results

Published February 10, 2024
Frontier Corps Balochistan (North) personnel stand guard during a protest outside the office of a Returning Officer in Quetta on February 9, 2024, against the alleged rigging in Pakistan’s national election results. — AFP
Frontier Corps Balochistan (North) personnel stand guard during a protest outside the office of a Returning Officer in Quetta on February 9, 2024, against the alleged rigging in Pakistan’s national election results. — AFP

QUETTA: Balochistan has witnessed a series of surprises and upsets in the recent national and provincial assembly elections, as reported by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over the past 24 hours.

The initial unofficial results, celebrated by some candidates as victories, were overturned the following day, with the previously “winning” candidates falling to second and third positions as per new results.

The revised outcomes have prompted a wave of protests across the province, with nearly all major political parties — including the PPP, PML-N, JUI-F, BAP, BNP-Mengal, PkMAP, and PkNAP — staging sit-ins at district returning offices.

The Hazara Democratic Party faced significant losses, with key figures like Chairman Abdul Khaliq Hazara and former MPA Qadir Ali Nayal being ousted from the winners’ circle.

New outcomes from ECP prompt wave of sit-ins across province

Amid the chaos, JUI-F’s provincial emir Maulana Abdul Wasey, who lost the election of Balochistan Assembly from Qila Saifullah, has called for province-wide protests despite the election of JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman as MNA from Pishin. Mr Rehman has lost the election against PTI-backed Amin Gandapur from his traditional seat of Dera Ismail Khan.

On the ECP’s website, the election results for 43 of Balochistan Assembly’s 51 general assembly seats had been released by Friday-Saturday midnight, showing PPP securing 11 seats, followed by PML-N’s (nine), JUI-F (eight), independents (five), and BAP (four), among others.

Leading politicians elected to the Balochistan Assembly include Sardar Akhtar Mengal (BNP), Jam Kamal Khan Alyani (PML-N), Nawab Sanaullah Zehri (PPP), Nawab Aslam Raisani (JUI-F), Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani (BAP), BAP Provincial Pre­sident Sardar Muhammad Saleh Bhootani, National Party President Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, and BNP-Awami President Mir Asadullah Baloch.

Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, the two-time former speaker, chief minister, and Senate’s deputy chairman, lost elections on his traditional seat of Usta Muhammad, Jafarabad district, for the first time. The candidate who won against him is his closest relative, Sardarzada Faysal Jamali of PPP. Political observers consider it a big upset.

Another upset was witnessed when a Jamaat-i-Islami candidate, Abdul Majeed Badini, won the provincial assembly seat from Rojhan Jamali village, the political headquarters of Jamalis. Mr Badini defeated former provincial minister Rahat Faiq Jamali, a PML-N candidate and the sister of Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali.

Maulana Hidayatur Rehman Baloch, who was thrust to the national political scene through his months-long sit-ins in Gwadar under the banner of the “Haq Do Tehreek”, contested against Hammal Kalmati, a prominent figure in the BNP-Mengal party and a member of Gwadar’s esteemed Kalmati family.

Mr Rehman, who is the general secretary of the JI’s Balochistan chapter, succeeded in defeating Mr Kalmati in the electoral race. Mr Hammal’s father, Ghafoor Kalmati, had previously served as an MPA and provincial minister.

Sarfraz Bugti of BAP in Dera Bugti, who joined the PPP shortly before the election, won the provincial assembly seat against Nawabzada Gohram Bugti, the grandson of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Political circles believe Mr Bugti is among the candidates who could be considered for the post of the next chief minister.

Other prominent figures elected include Mir Sadiq Umrani, an old guard of PPP since senior Bhutto’s time, Mir Samad Khan Gorgage (PPP), Muhammad Toor Utmankhel (PML-N), Prince Omer (BAP), Mir Ali Madad Jattak (PPP), Mir Zafar Zehri (JUI-F), Abdul Khaliq Achakzai (independent), Saleem Ahmed Khosa (PML-N), Asghar Ali Tareen (JUI-F), Obaidullah (PPP), Syed Zafar Ali Agha (JUI-F), Saeed Ahmed Langove (JUI-F), Zarak Khan Mandokhail (PML-N) Nawabzada Tariq Magsi (BAP), Muhammad Khan Lehri (PML-N), Mir Younas Zehri (JUI-F), Ghulam Dastagir Badini (JUI-F) and Bakhat Muhammad (independent).

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2024

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