GB polls: PTI in the lead with 10 seats, PPP bags 3 and PML-N wins 2

Published November 16, 2020
This combination photo shows PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Prime Minister Imran Khan. — DawnNewsTV/File
This combination photo shows PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Prime Minister Imran Khan. — DawnNewsTV/File

As unofficial results of the hotly contested Gilgit-Baltistan elections were released on Monday, the PTI was leading after having bagged ten seats, followed by independent candidates who have so far won seven seats.

The PPP was able to win on three seats followed by the PML-N with two seats, according to Radio Pakistan.

As many as 330 candidates, including four women, are vying for the 24 general seats in the third legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The voting process in the region, which mostly went peacefully, began at 8am on Sunday and continued until 5pm without any interval. Polling in most constituencies went smoothly throughout the day.

In Gilgit city, women and the elderly showed their enthusiasm and turned up in numbers at polling stations to cast their votes. However, in Ghizer, Hunza, Sost and Baltistan heavy snowfall continued, restricting citizens to their houses.

Polling in one constituency was postponed, according to Radio Pakistan.

Who won which seat?

According to available details, PTI's candidate Raja Zakaria Khan defeated former chief minister Syed Mehdi Shah of the PPP on GBLA-7 Skardu-I seat.

Another seat won by the PTI is GBLA-11 Kharmang where its candidate Syed Amjad Ali defeated independent candidate Syed Mohsin Rizvi.

PTI's Shamsul Haq won GBLA-14 Astore-II, with Mazhar Ali of the PPP coming in at second place.

In GBLA-18 Diamer IV, PTI's Gulbar Khan defeated independent candidate Malik Kifayatur Rehman and emerged victorious with 4,059 votes. Rehman bagged 3,544 votes.

Mohammad Kazim of the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) won the GBLA-8 Skardu-II constituency, defeating PPP’s Syed Muhammad Ali Shah after a tough contest.

Among the seven independents who bagged victories are: Nasir Ali Khan (GBLA-10 Skardu-IV), Javed Ali Manwa (GBLA-5 Nagar-II), Mushtaq Hussain (GBLA-22 Ghanche-I) and Haji Shah Baig (GBLA-15 Diamer-I).

PPP's Amjad Hussain edged out Ayub Waziri of Islami Tehreek Pakistan on GBLA-4 Nagar-I whereas another PPP candidate, Muhammad Ismail, beat PTI’s Syed Shamsuddin on GBLA-24 Ghanche-III seat.

PPP's Amjad Hussain won GBLA-I, defeating independent candidate Sultan Raes.

Details of only one PML-N seat were available. The party's candidate Mohammad Anwar won GBLA-16 Diamer-II, defeating independent candidate Ataullah.

Details of other constituencies are awaited.

'Rigged elections'

Minutes before closing of polling on Sunday, PPP vice president Sherry Rehman held a news conference in Gilgit and alleged that a number of election observers of the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) had been removed from the polling stations before the start of the counting process.

Meanwhile, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, on Monday claimed that the election was "stolen", adding that he was heading to the region to join a protest against the unfair polls.

Speaking at a protest in GB shortly after, the PPP Chairman said the GB Election Commission, which was trusted with conducting a transparent election, had failed to protect the people's votes and had instead "targeted the opposition".

He added that the party will continue its election campaign in the region and will only go back after retaking its "stolen seats". He added that despite influencing the polls, the PTI had still not managed to secure the people's mandate.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Nayyar Bukhari announced that party organisations will protest against the "government's interference and GB Election Commission" outside press clubs across the country tomorrow.

In a statement, he said the protest demonstration held in GB was a "referendum against the government-Election Commission nexus".

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also alleged the elections were "rigged", advising people to "not lose courage".

In a series of tweets, Maryam claimed that "neither did the PTI have any existence in GB previously nor would it have one now". She said that the "few seats the PTI won through begging was due to force, rigging, breaking away PML-N candidates and with the help of 'selectors'".

The federal government has faced such a defeat in the region for the first time, she said, adding that it was telling the story of [PTI's] defeat in the coming days.

In another tweet, Maryam said the PTI's inability to get a "simple majority despite worst rigging and changing loyalties through full state power, government institutions, government machinery and black tactics" was a shameful defeat.

The PML-N vice president said the PTI should see the reflection that the people of GB had shown it, alleging that it would need help to form the government "using crutches just like in Punjab and the Centre".

"Brave people of Gilgit Baltistan! Do not lose courage because of this rigging. The game of these puppets is about to end," she said.

Addressing a press conference later in the day, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz denied allegations that the election was rigged.

"This was a very transparent election," he said, adding that if the PTI wanted to rig the elections, it would have won at least 14-15 seats instead of nine.

"Actually, the opposition and especially PML-N's tradition has been [of saying] that elections which they win are fair and elections which they lose are rigged," he said.

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