Army's help will not be taken in elections, says caretaker GB chief minister

Published October 2, 2020
In this Aug 2020 file photo, Caretaker Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mir Afzal speaks to the media after a flag-hoisting ceremony at Yaadgar-i-Shuhada on Independence Day.  — APP
In this Aug 2020 file photo, Caretaker Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mir Afzal speaks to the media after a flag-hoisting ceremony at Yaadgar-i-Shuhada on Independence Day. — APP

Gilgit-Baltistan Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal on Friday said help would not be taken from the Pakistan Army in the upcoming elections for the Legislative Assembly.

Elections on the 24 general seats of the GB Legislative Assembly will be held on Nov 15, according to a notification signed by President Arif Alvi last month.

In a press conference today, Afzal said help would only be taken from police and paramilitary forces during the elections.

"We will prove that police and paramilitary forces have full capability to help with conducting the elections," he said.

"We will set an example for the whole country by conducting GB elections without [help from] the army," he added.

However, army officials could be posted in "sensitive areas" depending on the conditions, he said.

Afzal said the caretaker government was "neutral" and would investigate if evidence of rigging was found.

Ban on visit of PM, govt officials

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) banned the prime minister and other government officials from visiting GB until elections have been held.

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shahbaz Khan, in a press conference, said that according to the rules of conduct of the election commission, no government official could visit the region or run an election campaign.

He said the PML-N had lost control of its workers and was now levelling allegations of "political engineering" against the ECP.

Expressing the resolve to conduct "transparent elections at any cost", Khan said help would be taken from GB Scouts, Rangers, police and Frontier Corps.

Khan too said that the army would only be posted at sensitive polling stations. "Arrangements for the elections are being made according to the coronavirus situation," he added.

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