Islamabad: Armed men kidnapped and shot dead an election candidate in the Jhal Magsi area in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, local police said.

Abdul Fateh Magsi was kidnapped overnight and and his bullet-riddled body was found on Tuesday morning. He was running as an independent candidate for a seat in the Balochistan assembly in the general elections scheduled for May 11.

Following the killing, the provincial election commission said it would announce a new date for polling in the Jhal Magsi provincial constituency.

Militant groups involved in a long-running low-scale insurgency in Balochistan have called for a boycott of the forthcoming polls and carried out several attacks in an effort to sabotage the electoral process. With some important Baloch nationalist parties participating, the government has vowed to curb violence and has ramped up efforts to provide security for the smooth conduct of polls with the help of the army.

The situation in two other provinces — southern Sindh and northwestern Khyber Pakthunkhwa — has also proved to be disturbing.

But the security situation in Punjab, home to 60 per cent of the country’s 180 million people, remains conducive for political campaigning and mainstream parties have been holding large public meetings in the central province.

A Monday conference of top army brass, chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, finalised a troop deployment plan for the forthcoming polls in sensitive districts in Balochistan and other parts of the country.