Amidst the hustle and bustle of the second ever consecutive democratic elections, we were reminded again of the dark obstacles still facing our country, along with the enormous security threats this election has cost some regions, as a horrific suicide blast in a polling station in Quetta’s Eastern Bypass region took the lives of 31 people. While the residing officers in polling stations everywhere else were counting votes, security forces in Quetta were counting dead bodies.
A statement issued by Quetta police has said that the suicide bomber blew himself up after he was stopped from entering the Tameer-i-Nau Education Complex school, which was serving as a polling station, taking the lives of 31 people who had been present at the location to exercise their right to vote. Such is the resilience of the voters of Quetta that, hours after the attack, polling resumed at the station. We pay tribute to their courage, as well as to the victims, who remind us of the sometimes enormous costs that can come with our right to vote.
Perhaps, this mere fact, that people of the region showed up to vote despite the security threat, is a tragic reflection of the high cost and sacrifices the Baloch people have made for democratic elections, and the very poor reward they have received for it. Balochistan has paid the heaviest price for this election- with a series of attacks that killed more than 180 people, including a blast in Mastung district which killed 153 people- only to remain the most neglected province by all political parties, with issues concerning Balochistan not emphasized on any party’s manifesto. With every tragedy, including this one, it is hoped that the sacrifice and courage of the Baloch people will propel politicians to finally prioritise Balochistan- sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case.