CM Balochistan, Mir Sarfaraz Bugti casting his vote during the presidential elections: Photo provided by DGPR

Syed Ali Shah: 

QUETTA: In a widely anticipated outcome, President-designate Asif Ali Zardari secured a commanding 47 votes from the Balochistan Assembly on Saturday, solidifying his position as the favored candidate. Mehmood Achakzai, leader of the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and nominee of the Sunni Ittehad Council, failed to garner a single vote.

Lawmakers representing the ruling coalition, including the PPP, Pakistan Muslim League (N), Awami National Party (ANP), and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), threw their weight behind the former president and influential PPP figure.

NP Backs President Zardari Amidst Backdrop Of Poll Allegations

Even amidst the backdrop of allegations of electoral irregularities, the National Party (NP), a crucial component of the four-party alliance formed in opposition to purported poll rigging, surprisingly threw its support behind Zardari’s candidacy. Notably, Jamiat ul Ulema e Islam (JUI) opted for abstention, in line with the decision of party chief Maulana Fazal ur Rehman.

Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, the Chief Minister of Balochistan, heralded Zardari’s sweeping victory, declaring, “President Zardari secured unanimous support from Balochistan.” With PPP and PML N jointly holding 37 seats in the 65-member Balochistan Assembly, Zardari’s triumph was virtually assured.

Achakzai Failed To Secure A Single Vote

The absence of any polling agent for Mehmood Achakzai underscored his failure to gain traction among lawmakers. “I sought to observe the proceedings, but the assembly secretariat denied me access,” lamented Abdul Qahar Wadan, PKMAP’s provincial president, casting aspersions on the assembly staff and Pakistan’s Election Commission for alleged constitutional violations.

Amidst stringent security measures enforced by the Quetta district administration to forestall any potential unrest, the voting process proceeded without incident, maintaining the region’s law and order.

Revised Conclusion:
The presidential election in Balochistan not only underscored Zardari’s political clout but also illuminated the challenges facing opposition figures like Achakzai in the region. As Zardari’s victory reverberates across the political landscape, it sets the stage for his impending ascension to the presidency with Balochistan firmly in his corner.

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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.