File Photo: Chief of BNP Mengal, Sardar Akhtar Mengal addressing a press conference about Reko Diq project: Photo grabbed from QV video

Syed Ali Shah:

QUETTA: In a recent development, the election tribunal in Balochistan has granted permission to Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Chief of the Balochistan National Party (BNP), to contest elections on NA 264 Quetta. The decision came after the returning officer initially rejected Mengal’s nomination papers due to concerns about his Aqama (work permit) from Dubai.

The tribunal, presided over by senior judges of the Balochistan High Court, Mr. Justice Hashim Khan Kakar, and Mr. Justice Amir Nawaz Rana, issued this order following an application filed by Sajid Tareen Advocate, the Counsel for the BNP Chief. Expressing optimism, Tareen stated, “Hopefully, the BNP Chief would be allowed to contest elections on the remaining two national assembly and one provincial assembly seats.”

Khushal Kakar Also Allowed To Contest Elections

The tribunal also extended approval to other political leaders, including Khushal Khan Kakar, Chief of Pashtoonkhwa National Awami Party (PNAP), Manzoor Kakar, Central Secretary General of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and Faiq Ali Jamali, an ex-Balochistan Minister.

Amid a backdrop of rejected nomination papers by returning officers across Balochistan, a total of 405 candidates have challenged the decisions before the election tribunal. Out of these, the tribunal has greenlit 75 candidates to participate in the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024.

Balochistan Witnessing Robust Electoral Activity

Balochistan is witnessing robust electoral activity, with over 1400 candidates vying for 51 general assembly seats in the Balochistan Assembly. Additionally, more than 500 candidates are competing for 16 national assembly seats in the province.

The tribunal’s scheduled hearings on candidate cases will continue until January 10 this month in Balochistan. Notably, many of the rejected nomination papers were based on allegations of non-payment of utility bills. The decisions of the election tribunal play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of the upcoming elections, as hopeful candidates seek validation and approval to participate in the democratic process.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.