File photo of Quetta Jail

Syed Ali Shah:

QUETTA: In an unexpected turn of events, a mere 166 out of the 3,000 prisoners across 12 prisons and 17 judicial lock-ups in Balochistan have applied for postal ballots, signaling a notable lack of enthusiasm for the upcoming elections.

Among the applicants, 162 prisoners from Loralai, Pashin, and Sabi have submitted their requests to their respective Returning Officers, indicating a concentrated interest in certain areas. The breakdown includes 103 prisoners from Central Jail Mach, 3 from Central Jail Mastung, 18 from District Jail Dera Murad Jamali, and 15 inmates from Loralai. Additionally, 12 inmates from District Jail Zhob, 6 from District Jail Sibi, and 5 from District Jail Pishin have also expressed their intention to vote via postal ballot.

Low Number Raises Questions

The low number of applications raises questions about the level of political engagement within the incarcerated population of Balochistan, a senior prison official said. He said various factors, including limited awareness or indifference, may be contributing to this lackluster response.

Baloochistan’s prison authorities and electoral officials are working to ensure that eligible prisoners are informed about their right to vote and the process of applying for postal ballots, he mentioned. As the election date approaches, efforts are being intensified to encourage more active participation from the prison community in shaping the democratic process.

The prison administration and election authorities are collaborating to address any concerns or obstacles that may be discouraging prisoners from participating in the electoral 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.