Local Government Elections Nine Districts Declared ‘Very Sensitive’ in Balochistan

Nine districts of Balochistan have been declared ‘very sensitive’ for local government elections scheduled to be held on Dec 7.

Provincial Election Commissioner Syed Sultan Bayazeed told media on Friday that the decision had been taken after receiving intelligence reports about security threats in these districts of Kalat and Makran divisions.

Ballot papers to these districts would be dispatched by helicopters, he said, adding that so far ballots had been dispatched to four districts.

Mr Bayazeed said that printed ballot papers provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan for Qila Saifullah, Barkhan, Chagai and Noshki districts had been sent to these areas.

He said process of dispatching ballot papers to the offices of district election commissioners would be completed by Dec 1.

He said tight security arrangements would be made for the polling day and army and paramilitary forces would be deployed in and outside polling stations in sensitive areas. No one would be allowed to violate the code of ethics and strict action would be taken if anyone found trying to disturb the polling process, he added.

Sources said over 22,000 candidates had filed nomination papers for local bodies’ elections out of which papers of 1,391 candidates were rejected.

Despite security threats, election campaigns and activities of political parties are in full swing in the province. Besides holding corner meetings, candidates are going door to door to muster support.

Political observers believe that candidates enjoying support of PML-N, PML-Q, both factions of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Awami National Party, both factions of Balochistan National Party and National Party are likely to win most seats.

However, tribal influence of independent candidates cannot be ignored in a province where tribal norms and traditions have strong roots.