GILGIT: Workers and supporters of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) held a demonstration outside the office of the Gilgit-Baltistan chief election commissioner to protest against alleged rigging in the election for GBLA-2 (Gilgit) constituency and the issuance of its official result without forensic audit of postal ballots.

Unidentified miscreants also set ablaze the office of the Government Forest Department and three government vehicles in Kashrote area of Gilgit.

A large number of PPP workers gathered outside of the GB election commissioner’s office and chanted slogans against the government and the election commissioner.

The protesters burnt tyres to block the river view road.

The protesters were of the opinion that that the GB chief election commissioner had stolen public mandate.

Accuses PTI workers of attacking protesters

PPP workers also blocked traffic on the airport road in Kashrote, Shaheed-i-Millat Road, Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam in Gilgit, burnt tyres and chanted slogans.

PPP information secretary Sadia Danish said shelling by police on peaceful protesters on the direction of federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur and the chief election commissioner was deplorable.

She said the federal minister and the GB election commissioner wanted to create unrest in GB.

The GB chief election commissioner had signed an agreement with the heads of three political parties to issue official result of GBLA-2 constituency.

In the agreement it was decided that official result of the constituency would be issued after forensic analysis of postal ballots. She alleged that the chief election commissioner was not honouring the agreement and that the agreement was missing from election commission office.

Ms Danish alleged that the chief election commissioner had hidden all rigging evidence in the GBLA-2 constituency. She said in case a law and order situation erupted in GB, the election commissioner would be responsible.

According to a press release, DIG Gilgit range Waqas Hasan said that unidentified people had set ablaze a building of the GB forest department and three vehicles in Gilgit.

The people involved in the incident would be traced through CCTV cameras, he said.

Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman said: “Our workers were peacefully protesting when PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) workers attacked them. As if rigging the elections wasn’t enough, they have now resorted to violence.”

“Shelling and firing on peaceful protesters is unacceptable. Such acts are just an attempt by the federal government to aggravate the situation. How is it possible that PPP gets more votes, but PTI ends up with more seats?” she questioned.

She said: “PPP maintains the right to peacefully protest against rigging. Has the government forgotten how they held the entire country hostage for 126 days? Burning cars to create chaos and blaming it on us is intolerable”.

“It seems that the chief election commissioner is biased and is not conducting forensic audit of the votes. They had shut down the country based on the results of four constituencies, but cannot conduct forensic audit of one constituency on our demand,” she added.

She said, “Such acts by the federal government are only exposing their true self to the world. The PM will be responsible if the condition deteriorates in GB.”

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, spokesperson for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, said that after stealing the GB election, the federal government was resorting to violence.

Senator Khokhar said that the people were protesting peacefully against stealing of their votes by the federal government but they were being baton-charged.

He questioned how it was possible that the PPP received most votes but the PTI got most seats.

Also, PPP workers staged a protest demonstration in Skardu against the alleged rigging in GBLA-2 constituency.

The protesters burnt tyres at Yadgar Chowk in Skardu.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2020


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