Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Final phase of Balochistan LB polls today

By Shezad Baloch

January 28, 2015

Local bodies election to take place today. 

QUETTA: Some 10,600 elected councillors are going to cast their ballots in the final phase of local bodies’ (LB) elections scheduled to be held in 32 districts of Balochistan on Wednesday (today).

The councillors will elect mayor and deputy mayor of the provincial capital Quetta, including 724 chairmen and as many deputy chairmen for the local bodies across the province.

Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) senior leader and former provincial minister Dr Kaleemullah is likely to be elected as mayor of Quetta as the party claims to have over 50 out of 86 councillors in favour at Metropolitan Corporation Quetta. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Balochistan chapter, which had been eyeing the mayor seat, was persuaded by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to support the PkMAP in the election, senior leaders of PML-N Naseebullah Bazai and PkMAP Usman Kakar told a joint news conference.

The PML-N nominated Younus Lehri for the position of deputy mayor which would be backed by the PkMAP and the National Party (NP).

Earlier, the All Parties Democratic Alliance (APDA) had claimed that it has the support of 41 councillors. However, after PML-N’s support to the PkMAP, the APDA is likely to lose six to seven councillors who belonged to the PML-N.

Election Commissioner Balochistan (ECB) Syed Sultan Bayazeed said paramilitary troops and other law enforcement agencies would be deployed during the polling.

“Kachhi, Qila Abdullah and Pishin are highly sensitive districts in this election. Two FC platoons were sent to Kachhi district on the request of local administration,” he told The Express Tribune.

According to the ECB, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had emerged the most populist party during the elections for the general seats of Local Bodies on December 7, 2013 while the PkMAP, NP, PML-N, PML-Q and BNP also bagged majority of the votes in different areas. However, the results were rejected by the political party.

The ECB faced hardship to identify the majority party because of the lack of legislation.  Bayazeed said as many as 1,129 seats are lying vacant as no one had submitted nomination papers. “Most of the seats in Makran division and Awaran are lying vacant due to the law and order problem,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2015.


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