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Local bodies spotlight on Balochistan

 

Preparations for the local bodies elections are in full swing with candidates thronging the courts to file their nominations papers. The second phase of the local bodies election schedule has started. As part of our local bodies election monitoring, individu-land wants to focus on a very important discrepancy in the provincial capital of the province of Balochistan i.e. Quetta. .

The province of Balochistan is an underdeveloped and sparsely populated province. Quetta is the capital and perhaps the only real city of the province. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, a Union Council should have a maximum of 25,000 voters inhabiting the area. However, according to reports filed by individu-land field contacts, there is a discrepancy in the number of voters in the different union councils in and around Quetta. While there are a number of examples there are a few prominent ones. For instance, Union Council Killi Alam Khan has 5000 voters while Union Council Liaqat Bazar has 2000 voters. On the other hand Union Council 58 Quetta which comprises of the area commonly known as Satellite Town has 40,000 voters. Similarly Quetta 60 which comprises of the areas of Brewery, Hazara Town and Western By pass also has 40,000 voters. Indivdi-land strongly believes that these disproptionate divisions of voters in different union councils must be taken note of.

While on the subject of local bodies elections in Balochistan, indivdi-land field contacts in the province have also reported that in Naseerabad just before the announcement of the local bodies elections schedule on June 30th five Union Councils were created overnight raising fears of gerry meandering amongst the public. Of course, this decision cannot be challenged in any court of law since it was done the night before the announcement of the local bodies schedule. Similarly, in Mastung, Union Council Alizai I was created just before June 30th. In Jaffarabad, nine Union Councils were created. While they are technically within the law, it does not aspire confidence amongst the public of candidates being given an equal chance to compete and contest as such steps are interpreted as being done to benefit a particular candidate.

While nothing much can be done about the demarcation of boundaries before June 30th, it must be noted that as the area goes to polls in August, in Kalat district, people of Dashtigoran do not have National Identity Cards which is an important pre requisite of voting. They have written to the Provincial ECP on July 13th 2005 with a copy to the ECP in Islamabad but till the filing of this report on July 24, 2005, they have still not received any reply.

This is part of the local bodies elections provincial focus series of individu-land. For those requiring more in-depth information about the issues mentioned in this mail, please feel free to contact us.

 

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individualland.com (Last Updated Wednesday, 26 October 2016)

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