PPP wins most votes in Senate elections in Balochistan
By Malik Siraj Akbar
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) secured most of the seats in Wednesday’s Senate elections in Balochistan in which 37 candidates from various political parties contested for eleven vacant seats.
Presided by Sono Khan, the provincial election commissioner, as the returning officer, the Senate elections started at 9:00 in the morning and continued uninterrupted till 4:00pm inside the Balochistan Assembly compound.
According to the unofficial results, the Pakistan People’s Party obtained three seats for the Senate while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-Fazal) secured two seats in the upper house of the Senate. The independents won four seats and the National Party and Balochistan National Party (Awami) grabbed one seat each.
The successful senators, interestingly, include the younger brothers of both Balochistan chief minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani and Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi.
Nawabzada Haji Lashkari Raisani, the provincial president of the PPPP and the younger brother of CM Raisani, was elected to the Senate and the two other successful senators from the PPP included Mir Sabir Ali Baloch and Suraya Amiruddin. The provincial chief of the JUI-F Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on his life in a suicide bomb blast in Pishin, was declared as successful along with another JUI leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.
The four independent candidates who won the Senate elections include Mohammad Akbar Magsi, the younger brother of Balochistan Governor Nawab Magsi, Mir Humayun Khan Mandokhel, a brother of senior PML-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) MPA Mir Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, Mir Wali Mohammad Badani, a former senator who retired in the previous term and Ms. Kulsoom Perveen.
Former central secretary general of the National Party Mir Hasil Khan Bizanjo and Mir Mohammad Ali Rind, a senior leader of the BNP-Awami, won their seats as well.
Last month, as many as eleven senators from Balochistan retired after completing their six-year stint. These included four senators from the PML-Q: Agha Pari Gul, Kulsoom Perveen, Mir Naseer Khan Mengal and Wali Mohammad Badani. Three Senators from the JUI, including Kamran Murtaza, Liquat Ali Bungalzai and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. Two senators from the Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMP), Nawab Mohammad Ayaz Khan Jogazai and Raza Mohammad Raza while one senator from the PPP and BNP retired last month.
However, the induction of eleven newly elected senators from Balochistan would now make the JUI-F as the most represented party from Balochistan whose number of senators would now become 5. The PPP will have 3 seats in the Senate from Balochistan while the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) could not make get a single new seat due to internal differences. Therefore, it would have the same old four senators in the upper house. The number of its existing senators is four. The number of National Party (NP) senators would be two after the election of Mir Hasil Khan Bizanjo—the other NP senator is Dr. Abdul Malik, the party’s central president. There would be four independent senators from Balochistan this time in the senate.
Police and law enforcement agencies had tightened the security arrangements in Quetta in the wake of the Senate elections. The Zarghoon Road, which leads to the Balochistan Assembly building, was closed for normal traffic for security reasons. However, a dramatic situation emerged when the provincial minister for home and tribal affairs, Mir Zafarullah Zehri, arrived at the BA main gate and was stopped by the security officers.
When the police insisted that the minister could not enter the BA with his private armed guards, disillusioned gunmen of the minister brandished their Kalashnikovs to the police and said they would shoot them if they did not let them entry. Too panicked and shocked over the gesture, several policemen ran away from their duty locations in order to avoid being killed by the armed guards of the minister.
A senior officer of the Special Branch told me that they had received official instructions that no private guards carrying arms should be allowed to enter the Balochistan Assembly compound. “We regret that even the ministers do not abide by the rule. They encourage their armed guards to take the policemen to task. How would you then expect the police to perform effectively when the big guns of the government are above the law,” he asked, adding that he had caught a provincial minister carrying a gun inside the BA compound. “When I informed that minister that he was not allowed to carry a pistol with him inside the Assembly where polling was taking place then told me to keep my mouth shut.”