QUETTA - Neck-and-neck competition is anticipated between political heavyweights on 14 national and 51 provincial assembly seats in Balochistan and, as usual, no party will gain majority in the province to be able to form a government.

The first national constituency is NA-259, Quetta city, which comprises central parts of Quetta while Pashtoons, Hazaras and settlers live in a good number in this constituency.

The sympathies of Pashtoon traders who have a hold over business are with Pashtoon nationalist party, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-F and JUI-Ideological.

Total voters in district Quetta are 559,939 of whom 329,502 are males and 230437 females. 92,860 fake votes have been deleted from this constituency this time. Total 44 candidates are contesting elections while in 2008 Syed Nasir Ali Shah on PPP ticket had succeeded. Owing to rift with PPP, Syed Nasir Ali Shah resigned from the party. He is not taking part in the polls for having a fake degree.

PKMAP Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai, JUI-F’s Hafiz Hamdullah, JUI-Ideological’s Maulana Mehmood-ul-Hassan Qasmi, PPP candidate and former city nazim Mir Maqbool Lehri and Hazara Democratic Party’s Abdul Khaliq Hazara are considered strong candidates on NA-259 and a neck-and-neck competition is expected.

PML-N has already announced to support Mehmood Khan Achakzai, so his position has further strengthened in this constituency.

On PB-1, Quetta-1, the former Senator and a towering PML-Q leader Saeed Ahmad Hashmi is facing his arch rival the nominee of PML-N Tahir Mahmood Khan who won the seat in the previous elections on the PPP ticket.

PPP candidate Jan Ali Changezi won from PB-2 Quetta-2, in 2008 as an independent candidate and joined PPP. He is likely to face a neck-and-neck contest with Abdul Khaliq Hazara, president, Hazara Democratic Party. On PB-3, Quetta-4, Nawab Ayaz Jogezai of PKMAP is contesting against his rival former minister Haji Ismail Gujjar of PML-N. Gujjar won the seat in 2008 on PPP ticket. Haji Sadiq Noorzai is a JUI-F candidate and Liaquat Lahri is contesting as an independent candidate after being denied PML-N ticket.

A number of important personalities, including PPP’s Younus Mullazai, former PPP provincial president Haji Lashkari Raisani, now contesting on PML-N ticket, BNP-Mengal’s Akhtar Hussain Langov and Jamaat-e-Islami's Zahid Akhtar Baloch, are contesting from PB-5, Quetta-4.

NA-260 Quetta-cum-Chagai

This is the main National Assembly seat in Balochistan, which comprises suburbs of Quetta, Nushki and Chagai districts. This constituency has the largest area which is equal to that of Khyber Pakhunkhwa province.

Total 40 candidates are contesting from this constituency. Sardar Muhammad Umar Gorgage of PPP succeeded from this constituency in the 2008 polls. PPP’s Sardar Umar Gorgage, BNP-Mengal’s Agha Hassan, JUI-F’ Manzoor Mengal, PKMAP’s Abdur Rahim Mandokhel and JUI-Ideological’s Fazal Bareech are the main candidates.

NA-261 Pishin-Ziarat

The National Assembly seat NA-261 comprises two districts, Pishin and Ziarat, and in both these districts, Kakar and Tareen are the main Pashtoon tribes. As many as 15,070 bogus votes have been deleted from this constituency.

JUI-F and PKMAP have a good vote bank in this national constituency. Candidates of JUI-F have been winning this seat. In the 2008 elections, JUI-F candidate Maulana Agha Muhammad won this seat. A tough competition is expected between candidates of JUI-F and PKMAP.

NA-262, Qila Abdullah

The NA-262 seat comprises Qila Abdullah district which is adjacent to Afghanistan and it is the home constituency of PKMAP chairman Mehmood khan Achakzai. In Qila Abdullah, the number of voters is 184,832 of whom 117,277 are males and 67,555 are women. About 202,991 fake votes have been deleted from the lists here.

Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s main rival is Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-F. Since JUI is divided into Fazl and Ideological groups, Mahmood Khan is comfortable on this seat this time. In the previous elections, PKMAP boycotted the elections and JUI-F’s Maulana Raziuddin was elected by obtaining 45,590 votes in a close fight with Awami National Party’s Usman Achakzai who received 44,455 votes.

This time Jamiat-Nazaryati fielded Salahuddin Ayubi while Qari Sher Ali is from Fazl group and Abdul Jabbar Kakar from ANP. The close fight is expected between Mahmood Khan and Ayubi.

In the same constituency, on PB-11, Qilla Abdullah-1, Abdul Khaliq Achakzai won in 2008 as an independent candidate and, later, joined PNL-N. This time contest is between Dr Hamid Khan of PKMAP, Maulana Haneef of JUI-Ideoglocal and Maulana Rahim of JUI-F.

On PB-12, Qilla Abdullah-2, three main rivals, Engineer Izmarak of ANP, Qahar Wadan of PKMAP and Maulana Juma of JUI-F, are in the run. Ismarak was elected in the previous elections.

In the 2008 polls, PB-13, Qilla Abdullah-3, was secured by JUI-F nominee Muhammad Nawaz with the active help of PKMAP against Ghaibzai. A tough contest is expected between Majeed Achakzai of PKMAP and former MPA Haji Muhammad Nawaz.

NA-263, Loralai-Mushakil-Barkhan

Loralai and Musakhel have mainly Pashtoon population. The main tribes are Kakar, Tareen, Nasir, Looni and Musakhel while in district Barkhan the majority of population is Khetran. In Loralai and Musakhel, JUI-F and PKMAP are the largest political parties while PML-N leader Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir and PPP’s Baz Muhammad Khetran are strong personalities. In the 2008 elections, PML-Q candidate Sardar Asrar Tareen won from this constituency. But owing to massive bogus votes, he was disqualified and PML-N leader Sardar Yaqoob Nasir was declared successful. Total 22 candidates are contesting from this constituency.

PML-N candidate Sardar Yaqoob Nasir, JUI-F’s Maulana Amir Zaman, PKMAP’s Akthar Shah Kadezai and a leader of JUI-Ideological are candidates who can give a tough time to each other. After joining JUI-F, the position of Sardar Abdur Rehman Khetran has strengthened while PML-N and PKMAP’s possible seat-to-seat adjustment would benefit PML-N.

NA-264, Zhob, Sherani, Qilla Saifullah

NA- 264 comprises three districts, Zhob, Sherani and Qila Saifullah. Qilla Saifullah and Zhob have borders with Afghanistan. These are Pashtoon-dominated districts and Kakar, Sherani, Mandokhel and Sulemankhel are the main tribes. The members of Mandokhel mostly vote for their own tribal member, Sheik Jaffar Khan Mandokhel.

Before the elections of 2008, JUI-F’s provincial chief, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, used to win this seat, but in the 2008 elections, he could not beat JUI-Ideological candidate Maulana Asmatullah. 10 candidates are contesting from this constituency, and a neck-and-neck competition is expected between Maulana Sherani and Maulana Asmatullah. However, the position of PKMAP candidate is also strong in this constituency and split in the two groups of JUI can be beneficial for the third party.

NA-265, Sibi, Kohlu, Harnai, Jaffarabad

The National Assembly seat, NA-265, consists of four districts, Sibi, Kohlu, Harnai and Jaffarabad, while Sibi is one of the hottest areas of Asia. Dera Bugti’s adjacent district, rich in natural gas, is playing the role of backbone of the country’s economy since 1950. Similarly, district Kohlu is also rich in national resources like oil and gas while Harnai has its own importance due to agriculture and coal resources. Marri, Bugti and Domki are the main tribes of these districts. From 1988 to 2002, the family of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti won this National Assembly seat, but after the military operation in Dera Bugti in 2005 and the armed struggle by Nawab Bugti, those who are said to be supporters of the real circles of power gained strength. They are Ghulam Qadir Masoori Bugti, his nephew Tariq Masoori Bugti, Wadera Ahmedan Bugti and Jalal Culpar. These people remained in various parties at different times. However, when Pervez Musharraf took power, they became his supporters and joined PML-Q.

Political observers say Bugti tribe is divided into two factions one of which is supporter of Nawab Bugti’s family while the other is supporting the real circles of power. The family of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti is divided into three parts; one is led by Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti whom Nawab Akbhar Khan Bugti wanted to see as his successor. Brahamdagh Bugti is living in a self-imposed exile life in Switzerland and struggling for an independent Balochistan. He has dissociated himself from parliamentary politics. Brahamdagh Bugti has also formed Baloch Republican Party while the son of Nawab Bugti Nawabzada Talal Bugti and his grandson Nawabzada Mir Aali Bugti are taking part in elections from Jamhoori Watan Party’s platform.

Following the military operation in Dera Bugti in 2005, the opponents of Nawab Bugti’s family dominated the area and in the 2008 elections PML-Q candidate Mir Ahmedan Bugti won the seat, securing 56,715 votes, while independent candidate Dostain Domki remained the runner up with 17,411 votes.

As many as 23 candidates are contesting on this seat in the upcoming elections. Nawabzada Talal Akbar Bugti is also a candidate from this constituency, but he says his supporters are not being allowed to go to Dera Bugti. He has also filed an application in Balochistan High Court, seeking suspension of polls in Sibi division. Though this constituency comprises four districts, candidates from Dera Bugti have been winning this seat.

Political observers anticipate the real competition in this constituency will be between PML-Q Mir Ahmedan Bugti and PPP’s Ahmed Jan Bugti. Dostain from Domki tribe and PML-N’s Nawabzada Jangez Marri may also give a tough time to their opponents.

NA-266 Naseerabad-Jaffarabad

This constituency consists of Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts which share borders with Sindh and Sindhi is also spoken in these districts. Both the districts are dominated by Baloch population and the famous tribes are Jamli, Khosa, Umrani, Rind, Lashari and Buledi. Mir Jaffar Khan Jamali hailing from Jamali tribe had played a vital role in the Pakistan movement, so the Jamali family had a leading role in national and provincial politics. Mir Zafarullah Jamali remained prime minister of Pakistan and twice chief minister of Balochistan. Mir Taj Muhammad Jamali also remained chief minister of Balochistan.

These two districts of Balochistan are the only districts which have canal system for irrigation. Jamali and Khosa tribes dominate both the districts. They have been changing loyalties for their interest and the recent example is of Jamali family.

The Jamali family support PML-Q and Pervez Musharraf when he was in power, but soon after the end of Musharraf’s regime, some of the family members joined PPP while former prime minister Zafarullah Jamali and his sons joined PML-functional. Former deputy chairman Senate Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali and Mir Fahiq Jamali switched over from PML-Q to PML-N.

PPP candidate Mir Taj Muhammad Jamali won this seat in the 2008 elections. After his death his son former federal minister Mir Changez Jamali secured the seat. However, this time the Jamali family is divided.  Political observers say if the Jamali family does not resolve differences, its rival tribe Khosa will benefit from the situation. Total 38 candidates are in the arena, however, the real competition would be among former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali, PPP candidate Mir Changez Jamali, Mir Azhar Hussain Khosa and Mir Saleem Khosa.

NA-267, Kachhi, Jhal Magsi

Electoral fight in this constituency is always fought among Magsis, Rinds and Raisanis-plus Kurds. Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind was elected many times with the support of Magsis and Domkis who have their solid tribal votes. In the previous elections, Rind was defeated by a new entrant, Mir Hamayun Kurd. Kurd bagged 61,249 votes while Rind could bag 48,275 votes. In the 2002 elections, Rind entered into an agreement with Magsis that in the 2008 polls a Magsi nominee would be supported, but he violated the agreement. So all political and tribal rivals –Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, ex-chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and other small tribes supported Kurd against him. Since Rind was disqualified, his covering candidate Abdur Rahim is facing a tough fight from an independent candidate, Nawabzada Khalid Magsi, the brother of Governor Magsi. A comparatively weak nominee of PML-N’s Maj Amir, the brother of Hamayun Kurd who was also disqualified in a fake degree case is also in the run on this seat. Khalid Magsi is in comfortable position and will win without any difficulty.

NA-268, Kalat, Mastung

NA-268 consists of Kalat and Mastung districts. Both the districts have their historical status in the history of Balochistan. Before the creation of Pakistan, Kalat state was the capital of Balochistan while Kalat and Mastung had an important status in nationalistic politics.

Mastung is the native district of former Balochisan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and Kalat and Mastung are Baloch-dominated districts. The main tribes in these districts are Mengal, Zehri, Shahwani, Bangulzai, Langov and Qambrani. Though tribes have an important status in vote bank, however, the political parties have also a vote bank in this constituency. BNP-Mengal, National Party (NP) and JUI-F are the main political parties in these districts. Due to boycott of the 2008 elections by nationalists, PPP candidate Ayatullah Durrani won this seat. As many as 23 candidates are contesting from this constituency.

PPP candidate Ayatullah Durrani is facing problems due to the incidents of forced disappearances of Baloch youth and recovery of their decomposed dead bodies during the outgoing government. This time NP and BNP-Mengal have fielded their candidates on this constituency.

In this situation, political observers say it is quite difficult for PPP to win this seat. However, they say, the real competition in this constituency is expected among JUI-F candidate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, BNP-Mengal Naveed Dehwar and NP Sardar Kamal Khan Bangulzai.

NA-269, Khuzdar

It has been a stronghold of BNP-Mengal as its candidates have been winning the seat in the past. Rauf Mengal was elected in the 2002 elections while Usman advocate won in 2008, receiving 17,609 votes with the support of BNP and National Party against his close rival Maulana Qamarddin of JUI-F who obtained 15,938 votes. This time NP and JUI-F have entered into an alliance. Maulana Qamaruddin and Sardar Aslam Bazenjo of NP are joint candidates for NA and PB 34 seats, respectively. BNP has fielded former MNA Rauf Mengal. Since BNP-Mengal candidates and workers are being targeted by Musalah Defa Tahreek led by Shafiq Mengal, Rauf Mengal and his supporters are unable to get engaged in electioneering, so Maulana Qamar has bright chances to win. Shafiq Mengal and his brother Attaur Rahman are also contesting on provincial seats from Soorab and Wadh against Sardar Aktar Mengal and former minister Zafar Zahri. Both Atta and Shafiq, after killing of Sardar Sana Zahri, his son, brother and nephew in a bomb attack, may erode the BNP vote bank in Khuzdar.

NA-270, Lasbela and Awran

This National Assembly seat consists of two districts Lasbela and Awaran. Lasbela was an autonomous state of Kalat before the creation of Pakistan and Jam of Lasbela was the first to merge the state with Pakistan. These are Baloch- dominated districts and the main tribes are Lasi, Bhootani, Muhammad Hassani and Bezinjo. Personalities play more affective role as compared to political parties in Lasbela. As Lasbela shares borders with Sindh, PPP also has a vote bank. Though mostly the members of Jam family have been succeeding from this constituency, Awaran district is considered to be one of the strongest hubs of Baloch nationalists. Baloch guerrilla leader and head of banned Baloch Liberation Front Dr Allah Nazar also belongs to Awaran district.

In the 2008 general elections, late Jam Muhammad Yousuf won NA-270 seat. This time 10 candidates are in the run from here. After the death of Jam Muhammad Yousuf, his son Jam Kamal Khan, is contesting as an independent candidate and his arch rival is PPP candidate Akbar Lashi. A tough competition would take place between these candidates.

NA-271, Panjgour, Kharan, Washuk

This National Assembly seat comprises three districts, Panjgour, Kharan and Washuk. Washuk was part of Kharan district and Kharan was also an autonomous state in Kalat. In these districts Panjgour is a part of Makran division. The main political parties in this constituency are BNP-Mengal, BNP-Awami, NP and JUI-F.

In Panjgour and other parts of Makran division tribal system is not so strong and the people mostly vote on political basis, but in Kharan and Washuk the tendency of casting vote on tribal basis is high.

In the 2008 elections, former Balochistan governor Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch won this seat as an independent candidate, but he, later, joined PML-N. Total 13 candidates are taking part in elections from this constituency and a neck-and-neck competition is expected among PML-N candidate Abdul Qadir Baloch, NP’s Abdul Khaliq, BNP-Mengal’s Jahanzaib Baloch, PPP’s Ahsan Reki and independent candidate Mir Abdul Karim Nosherwani.

NA-272, Kech, Gwadar

This National Assembly seat comprises two districts, Gwadar and Kech, and both share borders with neighboring country Iran. Gwadar is also well known due to its strategic importance after construction of Gwadar Port in 1997. It has become the trade gateway for South Asian and other states. Both the districts are part of Makran division and are Baloch-dominated. However, it is the only division in Balochistan where tribal system is not strong as compared to the other districts of Balochistan. The main Baloch tribes are Rind, Hoath, Gichki and Kalamti.

Nationalists are strong in this constituency and the main parties are BNP-Awami, BNP-Mengal, JUI-F while Jamaat-e-Islami is also active in Gwadar.

In the 2008 elections, BNP-Mengal and NP boycotted the polls, but they are in the run this time. In the 2008 elections, Mir Yaqoob Bezinjo succeeded while the runner up was PML-Q Zubaida Jalal. Toltal 10 candidates are in the run while Yaqoob Bezinjo is a candidate for a provincial seat from Gwadar. The competition this time would be among NP candidate Dr Yaseen Baloch, BNP-Awami Abdul Rauf Rind, BNP-Mengal Essa Noori and PML-Q Zubida Jalal.