ISLAMABAD  -  Fearing rigging in the general polls 2018, former chief minister Balochistan and BNP-Mengal chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal has predicted a hung parliament.

“The next parliament could be a hung parliament if elections were not held free, fair and transparent in the country,” said renowned Baloch nationalist leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal in an exclusive chat with The Nation.

Mengal is contesting from three different constituencies of Balochistan, including two National Assembly seats NA-269 and NA-272 and one provincial seat PB-40.

The former chief minister was of the view that the upcoming parliament could even be worse than the 2002 parliament. “The upcoming parliament might be based on crutches, which could face hardship to smoothly deliver,” said the senior Baloch leader while hinting comparatively a weak government.

The elections 2018 results, the former CM said, may lead to a divided mandate as apparently no party would be in a position to grab majority.

About Balochistan situation in the elections 2018, the former chief minister said that Balochistan has never been the focus of the national parties. The National Assembly seats given to Balochistan are not up to the area of the province. “Only 16 seats of Balochistan have no attraction for major political parties of the country,” he added.

As the election campaign time has ended at (Monday midnight), the country’s major political players like Imran Khan, Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did not focus on Balochistan in their election trail.

These major parties heavyweights, he said, have not bothered to visit even the provincial capital of Balochistan (Quetta). “The big parties leader visited the area only for offering fateha, as they have no interest in Balochistan,” he commented.

The political leaders in the past, he said, made many pledges in the parliament to remove the sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan but no practical steps were taken so far.

The apathy of these major political parties for Balochistan is mainly due to less number of seats (16 and 3 for reserved members) in the parliament, he added. “Because of the less number of seats, this area is not the priority of the national parties despite plethora of issues being faced by this area,” he said, mentioning the proponents of ‘Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochitan were not much serious to bring a positive change. “The 16 seats of Balochistan seem wastage of time for national parties so they are not attaching value to the province,” he said.

About voters’ turnout in Balochistan, he said most of the voters have to go too far to cast their votes in the polling stations. “Fear, long distance and lack of proper transport facilities to reach polling stations are the contributory factors of low turnout in different areas of this province,” he said.

The Baloch leader is confident to win seats from the constituencies he is contesting. In NA-269, former CM Sardar Akhtar Mengal is contesting against another former chief minister Sana Ullah Zehri in Khuzdar district.

Mengal is also contesting from the last and longest constituency of the country (NA-272), where he is challenging the BAP’s Jam Kamal Khan (who was a federal minister till recently) and an independent candidate Aslam Bhootani.