GB govt decides not to seek army’s help for conducting elections
Caretaker CM says elections will be fair, transparent: Region’s chief election commissioner says army men at sensitive polling stations only for maintaining security
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Arrangements have been finalised for holding the elections in the region, Gilgit-Baltistan Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal Khan said in this connection.
Addressing a press conference in Gilgit on Friday, Mir Afzal said the army personnel would not be called in for the polls as the government was going to deploy police and security forces – Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts and Rangers – to ensure security.
Mir Afzal, however, added that the army’s assistance could be only if and when required, promising the elections would be held at every cost on November 15 in a transparent manner.
The reservations expressed by the All Parties Conference held by the opposition parties at the Centre were baseless, he told the press conference.
He was referring to one of the demands made in the APC declaration which had called for free and fair elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying the PTI government was trying to manipulate the process.
Separately, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shehbaz Ahmed said the army would be deployed only at the sensitive polling stations for security reasons, adding that the elections would be free and transparent.
He added that everything is set to hold the elections.
Earlier, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had warned last month that any rigging in the Gilgit-Baltistan might become a big security risk for the country.
Similarly, the PML-N leaders have repeatedly stated that the government had planned to rig the elections and the arrest of Shehbaz Sharif was aimed at sabotaging the party’s campaign.
PML-N Vice-president Maryam Nawaz at a recent press conference had said that the party workers and leaders were being intimidated to get their political loyalties changed.