Amid the recent political uncertainty and unrest within Pakistan these past few months, a bright light of hope for progress and preservation of democracy flared strongly with in Balochistan when local government elections were held resulting in an unprecedented large voter turnout, overwhelming victory for independent candidates and largely peaceful elections due to efforts of security forces. This is no doubt an historic victory for the people of Balochistan who have proven their willingness to bring meaningful change within the province for progress, all the while working with the system showing confidence towards unity of Pakistan and commitment towards upholding the constitution of Pakistan. Meanwhile threatening messages to boycott the elections aimed at the locals by foreign sponsored separatists’ terror groups were ignored and countered by the vigilance of security forces which shattered the Indian narrative and fabricated myths of any widespread calls for separation by Balochi people. Here we can take out three main points out of this extraordinary event, each of which needs an independent analysis upon cause and effects within the near future.
The very first notable thing to discuss is the large voter turnout which is estimated to be around 60%, a historic rise in history of Pakistan/Balochistan elections. Furthermore, in 32 out of 34 districts a large number of local independent candidates also ran for elections appearing under various platforms. This is a clear sign of confidence the Balochi people have in working within the framework / system of the Pakistani state and constitution. This shows that the people believe within the democratic electoral system of Pakistan and recognize the legitimacy of Balochistan status as province of Pakistan. Another thing to note is women voters in particular saw a sharp rise in turnout for voting, showing the first sign of the winds of change that will soon transform Balochistan into a progressive region. Overall, this sends a message to the world that the Baloch people believe in a united Pakistan and are not blind towards the long-planned designs by foreign elements that intended to use small separatist terror groups for their own geopolitical gain. The people within Balochistan stand united to bring progress and development by working with the state and voting for their own futures as was intended within Article 140 of 1973 Constitution.
The second notable thing is the result of local body elections and their symbolic significance. In a surprising turn of events the overwhelming vast majority of seats were won by independent candidates, followed by JUI-F and BAP, meanwhile mainstream parties such as PML-N, PTI and PPP struggled down the ladder as well. Additionally, no serious allegations of fraud were reported from any part of Balochistan during the polls. This is a display of a great change coming to positions of administrative system within Balochistan as power has shifted from previously dominant parties to local leaders within various parts of the province. People have much greater trust within their locally elected leaders and those independent candidates now have the means to bring proper change accordingly to each region’s needs. The regional representatives in the province have far more freedom than ever in governance role due to lion share in votes and state support in enforcing the rules of democracy. Further expanding on that, the facts of military apolitical role have been authenticated due to the total victory of “Haq do Tehreek” in Gwadar, indicating free and fair elections as this particular party’s leaders have been involved in protests within the past against federal and provincial government policies. All this signals towards a major change in strategic thinking across the top military leadership where the process of governance has been left to civilian systems as democracy intends. All in all these developments are highly progressive as they integrate regional leaders with local support within the state apparatus, all of which is likely to result in faster development of Balochistan, improved law / order situation as terror groups continue to lose relevance and stronger integration of Balochistan with rest of Pakistan.
And lastly the third notable thing of course is the role of security forces within maintaining law and order during the entire election process. Election poll were under a very serious threat of attacks by BLA / BLF etc foreign sponsored separatist terror groups however voting across the province was largely peaceful. At most during the entire voting process, one person died in an exchange of fire motivated by political rivalry in Chaghi district, while more than three-dozen people were injured in small fights elsewhere. This While these individual events are unfortunate, in the grand scheme of things violence was almost nonexistent and this can be attributed to long and hard struggle of armed forces to push back remnants of terror groups while providing security to major population centers over the past years. Many young brave men have bravely given their lives in the fight to eradicate terrorism from this land of the pure and now their families / comrades can stand proud knowing all of it was not in vain. Additionally, security situation has improved to the extent that Pakistan army has now started to hand over internal security responsibility to Frontier Corps Balochistan which has underwent a large-scale expansion, restructuring and rearmament.
All of these factors combined create the circumstances needed within Balochistan to jump start rapid progress, rise in human development indicators and end a decades long foreign sponsored wave of terrorism. Once stability is achieved, we can expect large amounts of local and foreign direct investment within Balochistan for further development of infrastructure which would be beneficial for both local Baloch and Pakistan’s economy as a whole. No more lack of gas, no more lack of electricity, no more violence and no more BLA nonsense, only open roads and open peace, Balochistan is rising and this time no outside interference can challenge its legitimacy as an integral part of Pakistan.
Authors Notes: This article was written strictly in context of geopolitical situation within Balochistan focusing upon “action” and “effect” while keeping way from political bias of any sort. Thank you for reading Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad