More Balochistan parties decry rigging in ‘worst elections’

Published February 14, 2024
Supporters of Hazara Democratic Party protest against the alleged skewing in Pakistan’s national election results, in Quetta on February 11, 2024. — AFP/File
Supporters of Hazara Democratic Party protest against the alleged skewing in Pakistan’s national election results, in Quetta on February 11, 2024. — AFP/File

QUETTA: Two of Balochistan’s political parties have decided to launch a protest movement against the alleged election rigging, describing the Feb 8 polls as the worst in the country’s history.

Pashtoonkhwa National Awami Party (PkNAP) Chairman Khushhal Khan Kakar and Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) President Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti told separate press conferences on Tuesday that their parties would launch a peaceful protest against the “rigged” elections.

Mr Kakar pledged to expose those involved in rigging and announced that from Wednesday (today), highways leading from Quetta to Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Chaman and other cities would be closed for an indefinite period if the results of rigging were not corrected within two days.

Mr Kakar claimed that he was elected to the National Assembly with a significant margin against his rival, but the results were later allegedly changed through postal ballots.

PkNAP, JWP plan to block highways leading to Quetta

“A pre-election and post-election rigging conspiracy was hatched against our party to block its way to the parliament and the provincial assembly,” he said. He said rigging had been started with the delimitation of constituencies and “officials known to be against us were posted as returning and district returning officers who played a role in rigging the polls”.

Mr Kakar also accused the deputy commissioner of Qila Saifullah of receiving bribe for playing his role in changing election results. He said Quetta’s deputy commissioner had threatened a PkNAP leader, Nasrullah Zerey, saying, “Let’s see how you win elections.”

He appealed to all Baloch, Pashtoon and Hazara nationalist party leaders, in­­cluding Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Chairman Mehmood Khan Ach­­akzai, to join hands with PkNAP in the movement launched against the alleged rigging.

He mentioned irregularities in NA-251, NA-262, NA-265 and NA-263. He also condemned the firing on Mohsin Dawar and demanded the arrest of attackers.

Shahzain slams ‘joke’ with people

JWP President Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti told a presser that Feb 8 was the blackest day in the country’s election history, especially for Balochistan.

“If you wanted to bring people of your own choice, we should have been told beforehand so that we could have saved the people from being harassed,” Mr Bugti said. He alleged that his party’s mandate was stolen through a conspiracy. “Around 80 polling stations of Dera Bugti were robbed,” he said.

He said a candidate from Dera Bugti had 11 votes in a polling station till night on election day, but in the morning, his votes reached 1,112 in the same polling station. “The state of Pakistan has played a joke with the people of Balochistan in the name of the election,” he said.

“Peaceful protest is our constitutional right. Protests will be recorded on the national highways of the province on Feb 15 (Thursday),” he decclared, demanding that Nadra verify votes cast at polling stations of Dera Bugti.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2024

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