Opposition parties in Pakistan cry foul as results of Gilgit-Baltistan elections announced

Supporters of the Pakistan People Party protest election results in Gilgit district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, on November 16, 2020 (AN Photo by Nisar Ali)
Short Url
Updated 24 November 2020

Opposition parties in Pakistan cry foul as results of Gilgit-Baltistan elections announced

  • PM Khan’s PTI party all set to form government in the northern region after securing 22 of 33 seats
  • Opposition PPP and PML-N parties allege rigging, say will leave ‘no stone unturned’ to get justice 

GILGIT: Major opposition parties in Pakistan alleged rigging as official results for last week’s legislative assembly election in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region were announced on Tuesday, with the party of Prime Minister Imran Khan bagging the most seats. 

The GB assembly has 33 seats, 24 of which are contested through directed elections, six are reserved for women and three are reserved for technocrats and professionals. 

Parties had campaigned for week for the November 15 polls, with candidates promising to build infrastructure projects and end decades of neglect in a region that has never officially been part of Pakistan, but forms part of the portion of disputed Kashmir that Pakistan controls.
Both Delhi and Islamabad have claimed all of Kashmir since gaining independence 73 years ago, and have fought two wars over the territory.

“I, Raja Shah Baz Khan, Chief Election Commissioner, Gilgit-Baltistan do hereby publish the names of candidates returned to the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly as a Result of General Election 2020 from the under mentioned constituencies,” a notification from the election commission said. 

The notification said 10 candidates from PM Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), seven independent candidates, three and two respectively from the opposition Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) parties, one from the religious Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) party and one from the Muttahida Majlis-e- Muslimin (MWM), had won seats. 

Six of the seven independent candidates who won have formally announced joining the PTI.

Protests broke out in Gilgit-Baltistan as the election results were announced. In past days, too, political party workers have demonstrated against what they have called a ‘rigged’ election. On Monday, four official vehicles, including a caretaker minister’s vehicle, and the building of the forest department, were torched by PPP protesters. 

“We are protesting from last week,” PPP information secretary in GB, Sadia Danish, told Arab News, adding that results had been “changed” in at least one constituency. “We reject the results of election commission and will leave no stone unturned to get justice.”

The chief of the PML-N’s GB-chapter and former chief minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman also said the election had been “rigged.”  

“Although we have no hope of justice, but we will fight ... to get justice,” he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad has summoned the first session of the new assembly on Wednesday.

According to data from the Gilgit-Baltistan election commission, 745,361 people had registered to vote in the election, of which 339,992 are women. Nearly 1,234 polling stations were set up in 24 constituencies, of which 415 were declared ‘extremely sensitive.’ 

As many as 330 candidates, including four women, vied for 24 general seats in the third legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan.

PM Khan calls for affordable supply of COVID vaccines, debt relief for developing countries

Updated 30 min 35 sec ago

PM Khan calls for affordable supply of COVID vaccines, debt relief for developing countries

  • Pakistani prime minister delivers statement at fourth session of UN Conference on Trade and Development
  • Offers five-point agenda to address structural barriers hampering global development during pandemic

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday proposed a five-point agenda to address structural barriers hampering global development during the coronavirus pandemic, urging the "equitable and affordable" supply of vaccines to developing countries and calling for additional debt relief. 

Khan presented a statement at the fourth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development. 

He said the pandemic offered an opportunity to address “structural barriers hampering global prosperity and development,” proposing a five-point agenda.

“One, a viable framework for equitable and affordable supply of COVID vaccine to developing countries. The coverage of the COVAX facility must be expanded. This would enable the developing countries to spend their precious resources on socio-economic development needs,” the PM said. 

He said developing nations should get additional debt relief, including suspension of debt repayments for the most stressed countries until the end of the pandemic, restructuring of their public-sector debt under an agreed and inclusive multilateral framework; and expanding concessional financing through multilateral development banks.

“Three, a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of 500 billion dollars to help alleviate balance-of-payment pressures,” Khan added. “Four, return of stolen assets held by corrupt politicians and criminals ... Reportedly, a staggering amount of 7 trillion dollars is parked in 'haven' destinations. And it is also reported that one trillion dollars annually leaves the developing countries for these “haven” destinations.”

Finally, the PM said, mobilizing $100 billion annually by developed countries for climate action in developing countries was a target that needed to be met. 

“Economic malaise and recession, like the coronavirus, is highly communicable,” Khan said. “Global policy measures, along the lines I have outlined, are urgently needed to save lives, revive economies, and build back better.”

Pakistan has reported 534,041 COVID-19 cases so far, and 11,318 deaths, far lower than what officials had feared.

“In Pakistan, our efforts have been aimed at ensuring that we save people from dying from the virus, and at the same time preventing them from dying from hunger,” Khan said. “Our strategy fortunately has worked well so far. But continuous efforts are needed to fully overcome the second wave of the virus. And also at the same time to maintain and stimulate economic growth.”