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By: Umar Imtiaz Rana

Fatima Bibi from Pazza, Gillien Bibi, Guranaaz and Azra Bibi from Tehsil Kahaan, Jannat Khatoon from Kharaan, and Meena Majeed Baloch from one of the most conflicted areas, Kech; these are the names of brave leaders and committed female ideals for deprived girls of Balochistan, these women won the general seats through public polling and set the precedent for other women of the province. These leaders completed their education in a hard situation and proved themselves invincible.

LEAD for SDGs Localisation in Pakistan Programme and Local Councils Association of Balochistan with the support of the United Cities and Local Governments and the European Union harvested the seeds of stead fasting, aspiration and ambitiousness among women councillors of Balochistan. The recent general election at the local tiers of Balochistan is proof that women are equipped to attain general seats through contesting rather than mere representation through reserve quota. This election season was a big win for independent candidates. The Programme helped to formulate alliances for SDGs implementation at the provincial and district levels. Goal 5 was one of the prioritised areas to work on.

The lead of independents in the recent municipal elections in Balochistan is the negligence or failure of political parties? For the first time in Balochistan, 132 women candidates participated in the local government election. The first phase of municipal elections in Balochistan has been completed on May 29, with more than 4,000 candidates from all over Balochistan winning, the majority of whom are independents.

After the first phase of elections (via public poll), the second phase will be announced in which 33% of the women minority, farmers, and labour members will be elected in the third phase. The mayor of the same group will be more likely to be elected deputy mayor, district chairman vice-chairman. These roles can be played by women either.

Women are commendable for participating in the general elections in a tribal society like Balochistan. It has also been successful in large numbers. This is the first step in creating awareness in Balochistan. Elections could be held in only 32 districts on May 29, 2022. Except, for Quetta and Lasbela due to the sub-judice matter related to delimitation.

Political and tribal conflicts make this election an ego issue, making it an election of distrust and bad intention rather than fair municipal elections, although these elections have been conducted fairly with unprecedented women participation. 

It is welcoming that for the first time in Balochistan, all political parties have accepted the election results. The credit goes to the civil administration and security agencies whose efforts day and night have not led to any untoward incident.

Before elections, Under LEAD4SDGs, LCA Balochistan arranged Awareness Sessions for aspiring women willing to join local government elections, building the capacity of such candidates along with networking meetings with experienced women councillors. The activities were done as per the action plan of alliances formed to localise the SDGs in the region. They were trained with updated local government and election acts for the province, and digital literacy to efficiently adapt to the new tech & media to facilitate themselves with the rapid transmission of information.

Click here to watch the full Radio Show on Goal 5.

To sensitize the women about their role and responsibilities along with practical knowledge of the functions of local governments, Radio Shows were arranged with experts on the topic.

The writer is working as a Knowledge Management & Communication Manager at the Association for Development of Local Governance. Twitter: @iamumarimtiaz

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