QUETTA: The results from Balochistan are reflective of the same nationwide electorate response of rejecting the PML-N and its allies in this province. However, even after a passage of 24 hours the unofficial results of only 9 NA seats out of 16 could be announced.
Like rest of the country, here again there were complaints of slow trickling of results. The PML-N is the major sufferer of the nationwide-sentiment as it was unable to retain any of its NA or PA seat that it won in the 2013 elections while its allies including Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) of Mehmood Khan Achakzai and National Party (NP) of Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo been similarly punished. The PML-N had obtained 21 provincial assembly seats in 2013 but, this time around it has been effective dislodged from Balochistan.
The PkMAP could not retain any of its three NA seats taken in 2013 while its representation in the provincial assembly dropped from 14 seats to just 1 seat. Same was the fate of the NP that secured 10 seats in 2013, but could not even win a single NA or PA seat this time. The NP, which effectively ruled the entire Makran division, was swept away from its own citadel.
The MMA was managed to increase its strength not only in the provincial assembly but also in the national assembly by securing 2 NA and 8 PA seats.
The BNP-Mengal obtained 3 NA seats and seven PA seats, against only 2 PA seats that it managed in 2013 elections. The PTI clinched victory for the first time on NA and PA seats from Balochistan and managed to secure 2 NA and 4 PA seats.
The largest benefactor of the nationwide wave is the newly founded Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) headed by Jam Mir Kamal Khan which has emerged as the largest party in the Balochistan Assembly by winning 2 NA and 15 PA seats. The BAP, is a recent entrant on the Balochistan political horizon with the induction of politico-nationalist groups after the March Senate polls. Most of the MNAs and MPAs elected on the PML-N tickets in 2013 election, played a vital role in the formation of the new party. Upset with the chief minister’s style of politicking, the PML-N’s dissenting lawmakers and other likeminded members of the Balochistan Assembly created a stir by dislodging the chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri’s government and eventually forming the BAP.
One of the unique features of the party is that it made the first concerted effort to bring close together some influential tribal elders and leaders of different political parties. Unlike the past when the political forces were split into smaller segments and groups, the new party has struggled to successfully emerge as single largest party in the PA and its leadership is now laying stake to the upcoming provincial government with the help of likeminded political forces.
The political landscape of Balochistan is trickier than the rest of the country. Traditionally it is seldom that any party achieves majority in the Balochistan Assembly and consequently as if by default, a coalition government is formed by cobbling together of smaller groups. The “electables” always jump to the winning bandwagon. However, this time it looks that the people of Balochistan have moved towards the national mainstream politics. In fact several politicians feel one of the factors of their backwardness was their lack of adequate representation in the nation-wide politics. It looks this mindset prevailed among the electorate and they are transforming towards national mainstream politics, which would be the good news.
Jam Kamal has played a dynamic role in steering the BAP towards victory and by making it the largest party in the assembly. Kamal is now vying for support of five independent candidates, BNP, HDP and the MMA to give him enough numbers to form the government.