QUETTA: Votes will be polled today in the NA 260, the most prestigious political constituency comprising some rural parts of Quetta, Naushki and Chagai District.
In fact the electoral battle is directly between the BNP and the JUI enjoying support of their political allies.
Both the PPP and PMAP are not front runners in this prestigious political battle as the ground situation had been changed radically over a period of time.
This realization was found among the leadership of the National Party and took a correct decision to support the JUI, a rightwing religious party with its bases in Balochistan and KPK, to ditch its arch rival BNP. However, the political observers termed the decision of the NP as “negative politics” which is applied to defeat the BNP nominee using the JUI card.
During the past few months the BNP gained ground in most parts of the Province, including the power base of NP in Kech or overall in Mekran Division by holding huge public meetings having no match in the history.
The National Party lost much of its political ground in Chagai by accepting the leadership of the coalition Government during the first tenure. It was not in a position to defeat the BNP in this constituency because it had become less popular during the years in power. That is why it took a wise decision to support JUI, yet another rival of the BNP in some parts of Central Balochistan.
In the last elections, the PMAP remained the prime beneficiary winning the NA and three Provincial Constituencies of the Provincial Capital with the support and backing of a section of powerful elements in the Pakistani establishment.
NA 260 is a very big constituency and it is 635 kilometers long from Quetta to Daftan at the Iranian border.
Political observers were stunned when it was announced the PMAP and its least known man won the Chagai NA seat in the 2013 general elections.
Now the BNP is the most popular political party having its strong pockets in every nook and corner of the political constituency. The BNP remained the most powerful party in this constituency facing no challenge from any of its rivals. On the contrary, JUI is holding some pockets of votes in and around Naushki while its influence is negligible in remote parts of the constituency.
“We will win the election with a big margin of votes defeating all if there is no usual rigging the elections,” Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini claimed.
Meanwhile the Provincial Election Commission had announced that preparations are complete for the scheduled elections and the polling scheme had been placed to work.
For security arrangements, personnel of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps and Quick Response Force will be deployment at the polling stations.
He said there are total 407 polling stations in this area and out of them 320 polling stations are highly sensitive, 50 sensitive and 37 are normal.
Out of 407 polling stations 167 polling stations are for male and 131 for female and 108 are for combine.
He said in the relevant area 993 polling booths have been set up and out of them 571 for male and 422 for female which would have the service of 407 presiding officers and 814 assistant presiding officers.
17 candidates including 9 Independent candidates contesting the by-elections, he added.
He said every possible attempt will be made for conducting free and fair elections.
He concluded that there are total 460202 voters and out of them 274367 male and 185835 female voters.
The Provincial Election Commissioner Balochistan Muhammad Naeem Jaffar has gone an extra mile by deputing female staff of the Election Commission on the dispatch work of the ballot papers of NA-260. For the first time in the history of Balochistan’s Election Commission, the female staff has been provided with the chance to work outside the office by taking part in election activities.
Moreover, he said that recently the Election Commission of Pakistan has taken several steps to encourage the female to participate in Election process and to take them to the polls. And this is one of the initiatives. He has said by taking such steps females can be encouraged to participate in election process and measure of such extent may also be taken in future as well.
Lastly, he appreciated the efforts of the female staff and advised them taking such steps in future for the sake of self development.
Balochistan Express, Quetta