GILGIT – STAFF REPORTER :
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) gained majority in the newly elected Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly after the joining of four independent lawmakers on Thursday while PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari appealed to them to not trade their victory with a government “that is to end in January”.
The legislative assembly election were held in the region on November 15. Voting was held on 23 constituencies, as election was postponed in one constituency because of the death of a candidate.
According to the unofficial results, PTI won 10 seats, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) 3 and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) two seats, while independent candidates returned successful in 7 constituencies.
On Thursday, four newly-elected independent members, Wazir Muhammad Saleem, Nasir Ali Khan, Mushtaq Hussain, Haji Abdul Hameed and Javaid Manwa joined the PTI after a meeting with Federal Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and PTI leaders Saifullah Niazi and Arshad Dad.
Saleem was elected from GBA-9, Nasir Khan from GBA-10, Mushtaq Hussain from GBA-22 and Haji Abdul Hameed from GBA-23. Following their joining, the PTI’s tally in the 24-strong house rises to 14 which puts the party in a comfortable to able to get its chief minister elected.
Govt to fall in January, vows Bilawal
Talking to journalists in Gilgit, Bilawal said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government in Islamabad will be sent packing by January.
The PPP chairman referred to the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) campaign, saying that public gatherings of the opposition alliance would transform into a long march that will culminate in resignations from parliament and downfall of the government.
“We will do everything necessary to send Imran Khan home,” he told reporters. “We have to send Imran packing because he has failed on every front – be it Kashmir or Covid-19. The PTI government does not have the capacity to deal with these issues,” he added.
When asked about the government’s ban on political rallies in the light of resurgence of coronavirus cases, Bilawal said that the Sindh government was the first to announce measures to deal with the disease outbreak but it was the prime minister who made those measures controversial.
Bilawal said that the opposition would use the PDM platform to tell the whole of Pakistan about the federal government’s “rigging” in G-B elections. “We will tell the people that the slogan of ‘stolen elections unacceptable’ is getting momentum in G-B,” he added.
The 11-party opposition alliance is set to hold its fourth public gathering in Peshawar on November 22. The PPP chairman was previously scheduled to reach Islamabad on Thursday. However, the party said that he had cancelled his departure for the capital because of his pressing engagements in the region.
The PPP has alleged that November 15 elections – in which the PTI emerged as the largest party in the G-B Legislative Assembly – were “rigged”. When asked about the formation of the G-B government at the presser, he claimed that the PTI was promising chief minister’s post to every independent.
Bilawal claimed that women were not allowed to vote in the Tangir area. “The entire world got to know of it through the foreign media present in G-B,” he said. “The law says that these women should be allowed to vote … 7,000 women should be given their right to vote”, he added.
Bilawal asserted that the people of G-B had been supporting the PPP for the last three generations, and trusted the opposition candidates over those of the PTI. Speaking about the vote recount in G-B 21, he said that “good news” would come for the PPP on other seats too.
The PPP chairman accused the G-B chief election commissioner (CEC) of biasness and favouring the federal government. “On whose instructions did he hold a press conference in Islamabad against the opposition?” Bilawal asked.
He went on to claim that a journalist tweeted a photograph of the G-B CEC sitting with the G-B governor and PTI Minister Amin Gandapur. Bilawal asked the election commissioner to clarify that photograph.
“Reports of HRCP and Fafen clearly show that rigging and violation of election laws happened in the G-B polls. Fafen report has said that at least three incidents of rigging and irregularities were reported from every polling station,” he added.
The PPP head again appreciated the people of G-B for “making it difficult for the federal government to form a government in G-B”. He appealed to the independent winners not to trade their victory with a government “that is to end in January”. “Don’t be a minister for two to three months,” he said.