QUETTA - Party-based local government (LG) elections were in 29 of 32 districts of Balochistan on Saturday, with independent candidates leading the polls while ruling parties –NP, PkMAP and PML-N – are the highest scorers among the political parties.

According to unofficial results of 1,080 district council seats, of the total 1,680 seats on which election were held, independent candidates have secured 486 seats while National Party (NP) has won 138, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) 119 and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) 101 seats.

Jamait Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and JUI-Ideological NP have also clenched some seats in interior Balochistan, but Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) that fared good in general elections have failed to get appreciable number of seats.

Election Commission sources told The Nation that official announcement of successful candidates would be made on December 20 and schedule of polls in those areas where polls could not be held would be announced within one month.

As per unofficial results, out of 67 seats of Quetta metropolitan district, PkMAP is leading with 19 seats, however, JUI-F has levelled allegation of rigging on PkMAP.

In Mustuang district, adjacent to Quetta, the NP is ahead of the others. In Kalat Municipal Committee election Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) and its ally JUI-F have obtained 8 seats out of the total 19 seats. Four seats each were won by NP and JUI-Ideological while polls have not been held on one seat. Similarly, in Mangochar area of Kalat district, NP defeated an alliance of four other parties and remained victor with thumping majority.

In Nushki, independent candidates won 7 seats of the Municipal Committee while Dost Penal obtained 5, NP 2 and JUI-F and BNP-Mengal pocketed one seat each. In Khuzdar, out of 19 seats, NP won 12 seats while PML-N 6, JUI-F 5 and BNP-Mengal got four seats. BNP-Awami obtained 2 seats in Khuzdar while two independent candidates also won their seats.

In Naseerabad district, PML-N’s candidates remained victorious. Unofficial results suggest that Awam Dost panel is taking lead on 19 seats of Dera Murad Jamali Municipal Committee. In Jaffarabad, PML-N and its allied candidates won most of the seats. In Sibi, PML-N leader Nawabzada Changeza Marri, Domki group and Sibi Alliance and some independent candidates secured seats while NP, BNP-Mengal and PkMAP leaders won seats from Sibi.

In Gwadar, NP, PML-N and BNP-Mengal candidates stood victors while in Panjgour NP is leading. PkMAP has begged maximum seats in Ziarat district and in Pishin that is adjacent to Quetta. In Zhob city, PkMAP has won 18 seats out of 33 while Awami National Party and JUI-Ideological won one seat each, PML-Q 3, and in ruler areas some PML-Q candidates have succeeded. In Zhob ruler area, JUI-F is on third position. According to reports from Chaman town bordering Afghanistan, of the 42 seats of Municipal Corporation, ruling PkMAP has won 16 seats while PML-N got 11, JUI-F 7 and JUI-Ideological 6 seats.

The local government elections took place on the seventh of December in Balochistan’s history for the seventh time amid stringent security checks, but on party basis this time.

As many as 18,000 candidates took the electoral test, while 2,527 candidates had already been elected unopposed. Other than a few incidents of violence reported from parts of the province, the polling day remained relatively calm.

Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch regarded the conduct of local government elections a victory of his government. He felicitated his coalition partners, asserting the elections were totally impartial and not a single complaint was received by the election commission alleging partiality or any sort of government involvement.

The chief minister also applauded security officials manning the polling centres, saying the credit for peaceful elections went to army and other law-enforcement agencies.

About reservations of certain parties, Baloch said, “My job was to hold peaceful elections; now it is for the election commission to announce the results.”

According to the chief minister, the voter turnout in certain union councils remained 50 per cent.

Asked about abduction of 11 councilors from Makran division, Baloch argued that nothing could reach the level of perfection. But, he added, the tide of insurgency was quite low compared to the May 11 general elections. He said aside from certain polling stations, the voting process was commendable overall.

Polling began early in the morning at most of the polling stations, with the exception of Nushki, Mastung and certain other areas. Voters thronged polling centres to vote their local representatives.

Pillion riding, use of vehicles with tinted windows and exhibition of arms and ammunition had been banned during the day. The ban would remain intact till December 10.

Balochistan is comprised of more than 7,000 district councils, union councils, urban and rural constituencies, where at least 513 seats are still vacant. No candidate filed nomination for these seats.

Estimations suggested around 3.2 million registered voters used their franchise right. As many as 5,700 polling stations had been established that were manned by nearly 19,500 police officials, 16,300 FC personnel, 2,000 Balochistan Constabulary soldiers and 11,200 Levis Force personnel. Many sensitive areas were monitored through aerial surveillance.

As regards security situation, reports reaching here say that around 16 persons were injured in Tambu and Notal area of Nasirabad division when supporters of two rival parties got into a clash outside the polling booths.

Similarly, two others were injured at Dera Murad Jamali’s Ranja polling station.

Officials however said police soon took control of the polling stations and brought the situation under control. Cases were also lodged against the feuding parties.

In another incident, two women were injured when a gas cylinder exploded at a polling station in Akhterabad area of Quetta. The injured were taken to a hospital immediately.

In a similar incident in border town of Chaman, three others were injured. Security forces rushed and brought the situation under control. Cases were registered against the two rival parties.

Separately, three persons were injured at Winder polling stations when a clash set in and rival groups attacked each other with stones. A furious mob blocked Quetta-Karachi highway following the incident.

No arrest was made till the filing of this report.

Reports pouring in from Sanjavi said three persons were injured when supporters of two opposite groups scuffled. Police had to resort to aerial firing to disperse the people involved in the brawl.