Thousands of people voted for GBLA candidates in all seven districts of Gilgit – Baltistan today, expressing the desire to be free from dis-empowering governance structures in the region.
Turn out remained below expectations due to cold weather and due to the presence of a migrant population of GB who could not exercise their democratic right, living in different parts of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Abbotabad, in large numbers. Due to absence of polling stations in these cities thousands of voters included in the voters’ list could not go to polls.
According to unofficial results MQM candidate Raja Azam Shigri of Skardu has clear edge in vote counts over Imran Nadeem of PPP.
PPP’s Mehdi Shah is reportedly victor in Skardu while Wazir Shakeel of PPP has also be unofficially declared winner in Skardu. Engineer Ismail of PPP has, reportedly, won the polls in Ghangche, while Amna Ansari has also, reportedly, got an edge over the rival candidate.
Gilgit city, LA 2, saw a major turn, as Didar Ali, an Independent candidate won the elections, defeating both favorites, Jamil Ahmed of PPP and Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman, president of PML (N) Gilgit – Baltistan.
In LA -6, Hunza, Wazir Baig is unofficially reported to be the leading vote taker, seconded by MQM’s Kamil Jan – a praiseworthy performance by the latter in a very short span of time.
Unofficial results reveal that PPP got resounding victory in Gojal valley. This election may also mean the end of Mir family’s easy float in electoral politics of Hunz during the past three decades. Shehryar Khan of PML (N) and Independent candidate, Shehbaz Khan, were not able to impress voters with their election manifesto, it seems.
Confirmed results will be announced on 14th or 15th November, by the GB Election Commission.
The overall situation of law and order remained peaceful, except for a firing incident in which MQM’s Captain Hadi, in LA – 3, had a fortunate escape from, what is being reported as, a bid to take his life.
MQM has alleged pre, during and post election rigging in the GB elections. PPP has also alleged that armed activists of MQM were nabbed by the people in Shigar valley – a valley that saw an earlier feud between MQM and PPP, over a petty matter of wall chalking.
Independent sources have brushed these allegations as repetition of old, “i- would-not-accept-defeat”, tactics used by Pakistani parties across the country, in all elections.
According to expectations, alliance of the regional parties, GBDA, was not able to attract significant votes in any constituencies. However, the nationalists are expecting a strong fight from BNF leader, Nawaz Khan Naji, in Ghizar, whenever the election takes place. Let’s remind our readers that election in this constituency was postponed due to death of MQM candiate, Sher Bahadur.
Observers are also expecting the independent candidates to play a very important role in government formation, within the next few days.