GB govt seeks army deployment in Gilgit, Chilas amid protests

Updated 19 Nov 2020

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Voters line up outside a polling station in Ghizer. — Photo courtesy Umar Bacha/File
Voters line up outside a polling station in Ghizer. — Photo courtesy Umar Bacha/File

GILGIT: Amid ongoing controversy and protest demonstrations against the alleged rigging in the Gilgit-Baltistan elections, the caretaker government of the region on Wednesday sought Pakistan Army’s assistance to control security situation in the region.

Through a letter written to the Federal Ministry of Interior, the GB government has requisitioned two companies of army to maintain law and order situation in Gilgit and Chilas.

The GB administration has requisitioned 480 troops, out of which 300 to be deployed in Gilgit and 180 in Chilas.

The troops will standby as third tier security layer to aid the administration and will remain deployed till Nov 23.

The workers of PPP continued their protest sit-in near the deputy commissioner’s office in Gilgit against the alleged rigging in elections on GBLA-2 Gilgit-2 seat.

Writes letter to interior ministry; recounting completed in GBLA-2; re-polling at female station ordered

PPP alleged that its candidate Jamil Ahmed was leading in the vote count on Sunday night, but next day his result was changed and he was shown trailing merely by two votes to PTI’s Fatehullah Khan.

The PPP workers have blocked Shahrah Quaid-i-Azam in Gilgit since Monday morning.

Following the PPP’s protest, the GB Election Commission already ordered recounting of the votes in the constituency. The recounting took place in the presence of both the candidates on Tuesday but the results have so far so not been announced due to the fear of a law and order situation.

The supporters of an independent candidate Haji Dilpazeer also blocked Karakorum Highway near Thalichi and Gunarfarm against the alleged rigging in GBLA-15 Diamer constituency.

The protesters alleged that 418 postal ballots in favour of Dilpazeer were rejected. Another independent candidate Haji Shah Baig has been unofficially declared winner from the constituency.

Meanwhile, GB chief election commissioner issued orders for re-polling at a female polling station in GBLA-17 Diamer III on Nov 22. The orders came in the light of the reports that women had been barred from voting through implied agreement or by threats from religious scholars on Nov 15.

The GB Election Commission also ordered re-polling at Gindai polling station in GBLA-21 Ghizer on Nov 22 after the returning officer reported unlawful taking out of ballot boxes from the polling station.

Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday through his social media account on Twitter claimed that despite the fact his party was not provided a level playing field in the Sunday’s GB polls, it got more votes than any other party.

He also posted screenshot of a TV channel showing that PPP had secured 25 per cent of the total votes polled, followed by 24pc and 12pc by PTI and PML-N, respectively.

On the other hand, in a statement, PPP vice-president Sherry Rehman alleged that federal government openly violated election rules in GB. According to the Election Act 2017, she said, the federal government was not allowed to campaign on the ground.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020