QUETTA: Balochistan remai­ned virtually paralysed as shutterdown strikes, sit-ins and roadblocks against alleged rigging in the general elections continued across the province on Tuesday.

A complete shutterdown strike was observed in many areas of Balochistan, including the provincial capital, Quetta.

All shops, markets, businesses and shopping malls remained completely closed throughout the day on the appeal of the four-party alliance of National Party, Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), BNP-Mengal and PkMAP.

All main roads of Quetta presented a deserted look due to the strike while the traffic remained thin. However, medical stores and hotels were allowed to remain open.

The sit-in in Quetta outside the deputy commissioner’s office, who was also the district returning officer, continued as parties’ supporters, including a large number of women, set up camps in front of the building.

Shutterdown strikes, sit-ins in Quetta, other areas; major highways blocked for fifth day

According to reports, a complete shutterdown strike was also observed in Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Nushki, Kalat, Mastung, Khuzdar, Loralai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Qila Abdullah, Zhob, Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Sibi, Nasirabad, Dera Murad Jamali, Ziarat, Barkhan and other towns of Balochistan.

The Pashtoonkhwa National Awami Party chairman, Khushal Khan Kakar, has also announced an indefinite blockade of all national highways from Wednesday in protest against the alleged change in the result of the NA-251 seat.

Mr Kakar had won the seat, as per ECP’s unofficial result. But, in a later recount, JUI-F Syed Samiullah was declared the winner.

The province also remained cut off from Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the fifth consecutive day as national highways remained blocked due to sit-ins held by workers and supporters of political parties.

The trade with Afghanistan and Iran through the Chaman and Tafan borders could not be restored as the Quetta-Taftan and Quetta-Chaman highways were blocked.

In Makran, the coastal highway and China Pakistan Economic Corridor highway were also closed as supporters of the National Party and BNP-Mengal established their camps at the entry and exit points.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2024

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