ISLAMABAD – Staff Reporter:
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the victor of Gilgit-Baltistan elections on Monday as the party and its ally managed to secure at least 11 seats, according to unofficial and unconfirmed results.
The PTI bagged 10 seats, independent candidates won seven and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) managed to clinch three seats.
Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), an ally of PTI, has emerged victorious in one out total 23 constituencies up for grabs while Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) only managed to bag two seats.
In GBA-1, Amjad Hussain of PPP emerged victorious with 11,178 votes, beating independent rival Sultan Rais who secured 8,356. PTI candidate Johar Ali managed third position with 403 votes.
PTI candidate Fateh ullah Khan secured victory against PPP rival Jamil Ahmed for GBA-2 seat. The PTI candidate bagged 6,696 votes versus 6,694 votes bagged by the PPP candidate, winning the seat by a mere two votes.
PPP candidate Amjad Hussain clinched victory in GBA-4 election by securing 4,716 votes. Muhammad Ayub of Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP) came second with 4,291 while Zulfiqar Ali of PTI bagged 2,200 votes.
Independent candidate Javed Ali Manwa emerged victorious after bagging 2,570 votes in GBA-5 election. Rizwan Ali of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen secured the second position with 1,850 votes.
PTI’s Abaid ullah Baig managed to clinch victory with 6,600 votes to defeat the independent candidate Noor Muhammad, who secure 4,584 votes.
Raja Zakaria Khan Maqpoon of PTI defeated his PPP opponent Syed Mehdi Shah, former G-B chief minister, in GBA-7 election. Maqpoon secured 5,290 votes while Shah managed to bag 4,114 votes.
Muhammad Kazim of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) – an ally of PTI – won the election in GBA-8 constituency by bagging 7,534 votes. PPP’s Syed M Ali Shah came second with 7,146 votes.
Wazir Muhammad Saleem, an independent candidate, bagged 6,286 votes to defeat Fida Muhammad Nashad of PTI in GBA-9 election. Nashad secured 5,187 votes.
In GBA-10, independent candidate Raja Nasir Ali Khan by securing 4,667 beat Wazir Hassan of PTI, who managed to bag 3,344 votes.
In GBA-11, Syed Amjad Ali of PTI with 5,733 votes defeated independent candidate Syed Musin Rizvi, who managed to bag 2,016.
In GBA-12, PTI candidate Raja Azam Khan beat PPP’s Imran Nadeem , bagging 7,534 votes. Nadeem managed to secure 7,146 votes.
PTI candidate Khalid Khurshid Khan emerged victorious against his rival PPP’s Abdul Hameed Khan in GBA-13 election. Khalid was voted by 4,836 people while Hameed could only get 3,117 votes. PML-N candidate Rana Muhammad Farooq secured the third position with 2,192 votes.
PTI candidate Shamsul Haq Lone won GBA-14 seat against his rival PPP’s Muzaffar Ali. Shams bagged 5,354 votes while Muzaffar could only manage 3,473. PML-N’s Rana Muhammad Farooq came third with 3,009 votes.
Independent candidate Shah Baig bagged the seat with 2,713 votes, beating another independent candidate, Muhammad Dilpazir, who managed to bag 2,309 votes.
One of the two seats won by the PML-N, the party’s Muhammad Anwar managed to get 4,813 votes against independent candidate Attaullah who got 2,576 votes.
PTI candidate Haider Khan, with 5,389 votes, secured GBA-17 seat against his JUI-F rival Rehman Khaliq who managed 5,162. PPP candidate Ghafar Khan came third with 423 votes.
Gul Bar Khan — PTI candidate for GBA-18 — secures victory against independent candidate Malik Kifayar ur Rehman. Gul Bar was voted by 6,793 people while Kifayat ur Rehman managed only 5,986 votes.
In this constituency, independent candidate Nawaz Khan emerged on top with 6,208 votes, beating PPP’s Syed Jalal Ali Shah who managed to attain 4,967 votes.
Nazir Ahmed of PTI clinched this seat with 5,582 votes, beating PML’s Khan Akbar Khan who managed to bag 3,815 votes.
The second seat won by the PML-N, the party’s candidate Ghulam Muhammad managed to bag 4,334 votes versus PPP’s Muhammad Ayub Shah, who bagged 3,430 votes.
In GBA-22, independent candidate Mustaq Hussain with 6,051 votes managed to beat his rival from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Muhammad Ibrahim Sanai, who could only get 4,945 votes.
Independent candidate Abdul Hameed emerged victorious in GBA-23 election with 3,666 votes. His oponent PTI’s Amina Bibi bagged 3,296 votes, securing the second position.
PPP’s Muhammad Ismail won the election in GBA-24 constituency by securing 6,206 votes. PTI candidate Syed Shamsuddin came second with 5,361 votes.
According to data obtained from the G-B Election Commission, a total of 745,361 people registered to vote, 339,992 of whom are women. Nearly 1,234 polling stations were set up in the 24 constituencies, of which 415 declared extremely sensitive.
G-B Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shahbaz Khan had expressed satisfaction over the election arrangements, process and security related matters during his visit to the different polling stations of GBA-1 and GBA-2 constituencies.
Speaking to the media, he had said the process of polling continued smoothly throughout the day and no complaints or reservations were received from any candidate or voters across the region.
However, expressing concerns over the transparency of Sunday’s polls, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Sherry Rehman had said, “There are more than 600 members of the Free and Fair Election Network monitoring the election but some have been removed from the polling stations”.
“Members of FAFEN must be given full access and all observers should be allowed inside during the counting of votes as their absence will only create more questions and cause controversy. It is also important that the Election Commission takes strict action,” she had said while speaking to the media.
She had added, “People who are coming to cast their votes are finding out that their votes have already been cast through postal ballot. It is concerning and PPP has informed the Election Commission but have not received any answer yet”.
“It is unacceptable how women are being restricted from using their right to vote, and such acts will only damage the credibility of these elections. Chief Election Commissioner of Gilgit-Baltistan must ensure that women are allowed to cast their votes in a free and fair manner, without slowing the polling process”.
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood had predicted that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will claim the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) election to be unfair after losing it.
“Let me make a prediction. PPP and PMLN will claim GB election to be unfair in constituencies they lose and very very fair where they win. Get ready for this charade folks,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
He had also appreciated the long queues of voters witnessed today. However, he stopped short of claiming victory, saying that he would wait for all results to come in.
“Good to see long lines for voting in G-B. This is democracy in action. PTI doing very well as predicted in surveys. Will not claim victory until all results are in,” he wrote in another tweet.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, in a tweet, congratulated people and local administration for holding “extremely peaceful and transparent” elections.
Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad had also appreciated the people of northern areas for exhibiting political maturity in Sunday’s polls.
In an interview with a private television channel, he had said that despite international political threats and sensitivity of the region, a large number of people particularly women came out to participate in the electoral process. “Gilgit-Baltistan is a hub of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”
Rashid hoped that PTI, with the help of Majlis Wahadat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) and independent candidates, would form the government in the region.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan had said that his party would win the G-B election with a thumping majority to form its government in the region.
The GB general election was held in a transparent manner as a large number of people came out of homes to cast vote to PTI candidates, he said while speaking to state-run PTV.
Faisal said both PPP and PML-N had observed and accepted their defeat in the elections. The politics of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has ended now, he added.
In view of rising Covid-19 infections in Pakistan generally, and Gilgit-Baltistan specifically, G-B’s local administration had provided the polling staff with around 8,000 corona-safety kits. Masks and hand sanitizers have also been made available at the polling stations.
Moreover, in order to follow social distancing, the administration had also asked voters to stand at a six-feet distance from each other.
Addressing the media ahead of polling his vote, G-B’s incumbent chief minister Mir Afzal said that a fair and transparent polling process was underway in the region. Acknowledging the threat of terrorist attack(s), the chief minister, however, stated that his government had made exemplary efforts to ensure a smooth polling process.
Afzal also appreciated the voter turnout and said that action will be taken over complaints of shortage of polling staff.
While the process largely continued peacefully, there were some complaints of the polling process being impacted owing to a shortage of polling staff at a few polling stations. One such polling station was identified as the Khomar, Damote Boys’ Middle School, where only one assistant presiding officer was available until noon.
Taking to Twitter, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz had stated that the people of G-B were using their democratic right to vote today for a brighter future.
Appreciating the voter enthusiasm, the minister, taking a jibe at the opposition parties, projected that the people of G-B would “root-out the group of corrupt politicians ruling them for the past decade”.
Elections ‘not transparent’: PPP, PML-N
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who has continued to remain in G-B since he set off on his party’s political campaign weeks ago, had called on the election commission to ‘not fail’ the people of G-B.
In a tweet, the PPP chairman called for ensuring that “every vote is cast and counted”.
Soon after the PPP chairman’s tweet, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and spokesperson for Bilawal said, in a statement, that the election commission’s silence on federal government’s violations of rules in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) elections was regrettable.
“Federal ministers and aides kept bidding to buy votes and the ECP remained averse to the acts,” the senator claimed.
He further added that the ministers and aides not only disregarded the election commission’s directives but also did not seem to care about the supreme appellate court’s orders.
“Voters were being discouraged by the use of delaying-tactics at many polling stations,” he said. “The polling process has been slowed down in constituencies where tough competitions are expected,” Senator Khokhar added.
The PPP senator further claimed that the ECP was not taking any action on complaints and identification of irregularities by party candidates.
“The Election Commission should make itself transparent by making the polling and counting process transparent,” the spokesperson added.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also aired similar views of voting irregularities in a statement. She said the ECP was not taking action on complaints of irregularities, urging it to ensure the process of polling and counting is made transparent.
Referring to the PML-N’s success in the last G-B elections, the party leader urged people to vote for PML-N again and “take the region’s development process of the previous five years forward”.
Appreciating voters to have turned out in large numbers despite the cold weather, Maryam also expressed pleasure on the turnout of female voters.