QUETTA: Despite passage of over a week, the workers and supporters of various political parties have refused to abandon their protest against alleg­­ed rigging in the elections, and called for a wheel jam strike across Balochistan on Sunday.

The sit-ins being staged in Quetta, Dera Murad Ja­­mali and other towns ent­ered the 8th day on Friday. Hundreds of workers and supporters of various parties, including a large number of women, are participating in the sit-in.

Highways, which remai­ned blocked for over a week, have been reopened allowing the traffic to Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, Quetta-Cha­man and Quetta-Taftan highways remain closed at different points causing difficulties to travellers.

Leaders of the four-party alliance comprising Balo­­ch, Pashtoon and Hazara parties have announced that a public meeting wou­ld be held in front of the office of the district returning offi­cer, Qu­­etta, on Saturday (today). Mehmo­­od Khan Achakzai, Dr Mal­ik Baloch, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Abdul Khaliq Hazara and other leaders of different political parties will address the rally.

Four-party alliance calls for strike today

Central leaders of the alliance, including Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, secretary general of PkMAP, Haji Fida Hussain Dashti of the Hazara Democratic Party, Khalid Chengezi, Haji Abdul Samad Rind, Asmat Yari and Murtaza Sultan were present at the sit-in camp on the occasion.

The alliance leaders rejec­­ted the results of the elections.

“People from all walks of life and political workers have rejected the results of the elections not only in Balochistan but also in other parts of the country,” Mr Ziaratwal said, adding that protest would continue until the “original elected members are announced”.

The Election Commis­sion of Pakistan bears the responsibility to announce transparent results accor­ding to Form-45, he added. He noted that large-scale protests against the election results have been continuing nationwide.

He regretted that some influential individuals had corrupted the entire election process by taking hea­vy bribes, adding that act­ion must be initiated aga­inst such elements because their act had reduced the exercise to a mockery of people and democracy.

The leaders also condemned the action of the agencies against the workers and supporters. They regretted that assemblies are being filled with representatives of drug mafias and smugglers, which would distort the face of democracy.

It may be mentioned that workers and supporters of PPP, which is not part of the alliance, were also protesting in Dera Allahyar highway areas against the change of the result of PPP candidate Baba Ghulam Rasool.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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