Protests have erupted throughout Pak-occupied Balochistan following Pakistan’s general elections, where widespread electoral interference has favored political parties backed by the Pakistan Army.
The recent victory of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in Pak-occupied-Balochistan has raised concerns about electoral interferences, with manipulation by the Army in areas characterized by lower voter turnout or the absence of polling stations.
Several political parties, including the Balochistan National Party (Mengal), National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Hazara Democratic Party, and religious parties, initiated protests against alleged vote rigging. The demonstrations, ranging from highway blockades to sit-ins, aim to draw attention to their grievances.
The protests have gained momentum, with thousands gathering outside election commission offices, effectively shutting down large parts of the region. The demonstrations have spread to major and minor cities, including Gwadar, Turbat, Chaghi, Dalbandin, Ziarat, Muslim Bagh, and Loralai.
Emergency all-party meeting against electoral interference
An emergency meeting held in Quetta saw these parties discussing grievances, their refusal to accept the election results, and a decision to launch a joint protest movement in Pak-occupied Balochistan against the election outcomes. The parties also resolved to prevent newly elected candidates from entering the Balochistan Assembly and initiate a public movement against the Pak ‘establishment’s interference in Pak-occupied Balochistan’s political affairs.
The situation took a more complicated turn when Jan Muhammad Buledi, the National Party’s General Secretary and a candidate for PB-25 Kech 1, claimed to have received death threats from an Army officer after accusing the Army of ballot stuffing in his constituency.
Various reports and videos have emerged on social media that showcased the malpractices that occurred during and after the election. Booth rigging, and tampering with ballot boxes, as bags full of stamped ballot papers were found in the Mand area. Furthermore, in Pak-occupied Balochistan, the people refused to vote and asked the polling officials to get away from their area.
These events revealed the true nature of the Pak Army and their intention for the resource-rich province. Not only do they commit electoral fraud but they also have continuously committed human rights violations, Baloch genocide and numerous barbaric acts. These events have prompted the Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of armed pro-independence groups, to launch 161 attacks in the 11 days leading up to the election.