Independent candidates took the lion’s share in the local government elections in Balochistan, dealing a major blow to the mainstream as well as the local parties and groups active at the grassroots level in the province, according to the unofficial and unconfirmed results compiled on Monday.
Elections were held in 32 districts on Sunday. Despite threats and fears of violence, the polling remained by and large peaceful. So far, the results of more than 3,000 constituencies were compiled, including over 1,500 unopposed, depicting victories of 1,487 independents.
Polling was held in all districts of the province, except Quetta and Lasbela because of delimitation issues. During the voting process, one person was died in an exchange of fire between rival groups in Chaghi district, while more than three-dozen people were injured in clashes elsewhere.
Over 17,000 candidates were contesting for 4,456 seats of councillors in the election. A total of 1,584 councillors had already been elected unopposed. Election officials had said on Sunday that the compilation of complete results might take some days.
According to the results compiled so far, the Jamiat ul Ulema e Islam (JUI) followed the independents, securing 469 seats. The religious group won most of the seats in Ziarat, Loralai, Pishin, Killa Abdullah, Chaman, Khuzdar, Mastung, Kalat.
The ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) won 303 seats so far. The National Party (NP) got 145 seats and the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party got 139 seats. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which had no seat in the last local elections, made a strong comeback in the province, winning 130 seats.
The other parties on the victory table are Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) with 102 seats, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with 71 seats and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with 20 seats.
The results also showed a surprise rise of the newly-formed Gwadar Rights Movement (GRM), which swept the elections in the port city of Gwadar. Out of 39 councillor seats, the GRM – led by Maulana Hidayatur Rehman – bagged 27 seats.
The GRM defeated a four-party alliance, comprising the BNP-M the NP, the JUI, and the Pakistan National Party (PNP). “This is the success of people of Gwadar,” GRM chief Maulana Hidayatur Rehman, told The Express Tribune.
Officials from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that the results of around 1,500 constituencies had yet to be announced. “We will finalise the results by June 3rd”, an ECP official told The Express Tribune.
No serious allegations of fraud were reported from any part of Balochistan during the polls, which were held after a gap of nine years. Almost all political parties claimed victories in the polls conducted in a comparatively peaceful atmosphere.