Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday won eight of 23 constituencies and was leading in one seat in the illegal legislative assembly polls in Gilgit-Baltistan, prompting Opposition parties to dub the election as "stolen."
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif claimed that Imran Khan's PTI won a few seats in the elections through 'rigging', 'bullying', and with the help of turncoats. Maryam, on her Twitter, wrote that Imran's PTI failing to achieve an absolute majority in the northern region (illegally occupied) is a "shameful defeat" for the incumbent government, the News International reported. "This defeat is a telling sign of what the future has in store."
Maryam said the ruling party was unable to secure a majority despite using state machinery. She added that the people of Gilgit Baltistan have no confidence in the PTI. Besides Maryam, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that his party will opt for all its legal options against the "open and naked rigging" in the so-called elections.
Dawn quoted Bilawal as saying at a press conference that results were manipulated "overnight" for elections on seats that the PPP was winning and the party was declared to have lost them during the day. He further said that PPP candidate Jameel Ahmed had been winning the election by 1,000 votes "but this morning [Monday] an attempt was being made to hand over that seat to PTI by two votes".
Dawn further reported the PPP leader as saying Forms-45 were not matching in the contest that Ahmed was a part of, and the PPP candidate would lose only if the Election Commission's forms were considered, which he alleged, "did not bear the signatures of polling agents and were without attested documents".
Elections were held on 23 seats of the third legislative assembly on Sunday amidst tight security due to the threat of reprisals. Polling on one seat was postponed after the death of one of the contestants.
Unofficial results compiled by the various media outlets showed that PTI won at least 8 seats and was ahead in one, but it was still well short of a majority to form the government. However, it was in a position to form the government as 6-7 independent candidates also won.
Geo TV reported that PTI won 8 seats, independent candidates 7, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) 3, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) 2, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JIU-F) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) 1 seat each. The official results were still not known as election authorities may take some time to announce the final outcome.
In a ruling earlier this year, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed Islamabad to amend a 2018 administrative order to conduct general elections in the region. The Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 provided for administrative changes, including authorising the Prime Minister of Pakistan to legislate on an array of subjects.
Following the verdict, India issued a demarche to a senior Pakistani diplomat in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest over the apex court ruling. India also clearly conveyed to Pakistan that the entire Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of the country.
(With agency inputs)