The independent candidates are leading in the local government (LG) elections held on Sunday in 32 districts of Balochistan after a period of nine years.

According to unofficial and initial results, independent candidates have won 1,487 seats, followed by Jamiat Ulema-e -Islam (JUI-F) securing 260 seats and the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) bagged 213 seats.

Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) won 94 seats, National Party (NP) secured 100 seats, People’s Party (PPP) 35, Balochistan National Party (Mengal) bagged 65 seats while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) got 23 and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) bagged 15 seats.

The polling, which started at 8 am, continued till 5 pm without any interruption with the process largely remained smooth and peaceful.

However, one person was killed during an exchange of fire between two rival groups in the Noshki district. More than three dozen people also sustained injuries in sporadic clashes between rival groups in various parts of the province.

In the Naseerabad district, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Mir Sadiq Umrani accused the administration of supporting the BAP candidates. “Our 30 workers were subjected to torture by the BAP minister,” Umrani claimed.

More than 17,000 candidates were contesting the local bodies’ elections across the province. “Throughout the province, one person was killed,” Additional Chief Secretary Home Hashim Ghilzai said.

The stringent security measures were in place in all 32 districts of Balochistan to maintain law and order situation.

The provincial government had declared more than 2,000 polling stations sensitive. Besides levies and police, the authorities had also deployed the frontier corps to avoid any untoward incident.

The candidates were contesting for 4,456 councillors seats and as many as 1,584 councillors were elected unopposed.

Earlier, while addressing a press conference in Quetta, Balochistan government spokesperson Farah Azeem Shah said that local body elections are being held in Balochistan for the first time since 2013.

She also stated that the delimitation matter of Quetta and Lasbela was being resolved.

It may be mentioned here that except for the Quetta and Lasbella, and some areas of Zhob and Pishin, LG elections are being held across the province.

The ECP had delayed the elections in the above-mentioned areas because of flaws in the delimitations and delays in the formation of wards for councillors.

Farah also revealed that funds of Rs4.3 million have been released for the election process and that print, electronic and social media are being used to spread awareness about local body elections.

“We hope to get as many people to participate [in voting] as possible”, she added.

The spokesperson also stated that preparations had been made to deal with emergency situations in all districts and that security will also be provided to all the candidates.

ECP had declared over 2,000 polling stations sensitive and the provincial government has enhanced security to avert any untoward incident during polling.

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