Significance of Gilgit-Baltistan elections
Sunday (November 15) is very important for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as on this day they would decide through votes which party (parties) should rule them during the next five years.
It is also important for the ruling PTI because the poll results would establish whether the new GB government will be an ally or rival of the federal government.
In case the PTI gets a majority seats, the new government will be an ally of the centre. But if the PPP, PML-N or JUI collectively bag more seats, a new era of confrontation will start.
The PTI’s dreams will also stand shattered if the opposition parties joined hands, reducing the former to a minority.
The PPP government in Sindh is already giving a tough time to the federal government.
A recent survey published by the media suggests that the PTI has edge over other parties.
However, in elections any upset can happen, turning the scale in favour of the opposition.
Since opposition parties are already levelling rigging allegations, the possibility of them refusing to accept the results cannot be ruled out. And in that case the opposition’s movement against the federal government will gain strength. And that will be a bad omen for the federal government.
Already opposition parties are claiming that the Imran government is on its way out. They insist that a change is in the offing and the federal government would not be there by the end of the year.
Maryam Nawaz said on Friday that the federal government would not survive 24 hours if the “institutions” withdraw their support.
For beginners it may be recalled that it was in 2009 that the G-B Assembly was created through an ordinance.
The assembly has a total of 33 seats. Of them election on 24 seats is held through direct vote. Six seats are for women and three for technocrats.
The GB elections were due to be held on Aug 18, but were deferred till Nov 15 because of coronavirus.
The PTI has put up candidates on all seats. Two of its candidates come from Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), which is an ally of the PTI.
The PPP candidates include: Amjad Hussain (GBLA-1 Gilgit-I); Jameel Ahmed (GBLA-2 Gilgit-II); Aftab Haider (GBLA-3 Gilgit-III); Javaid Hussain (GBLA-4 Hunza Nagar-I); Zahoor Kareem (GBLA-6 Hunza Nagar-III); Syed Mehdi Shah (GBLA-7 Skardu-I); and Mohammad Ali Shah (GBLA-8 Skardu-II).
The PML-N has 22 candidates in the field.
The PML-Q has 13 candidates, JUI 12 and Jamaat-i-Islami three.
The number of voters for the GB elections is 745,361 although the population of the territory is around 1.8 million.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz took an active part in the campaign for their candidates.
Federal ministers Murad Saeed and Ali Amin campaigned for the PTI candidates.
The PPP and the PML-N remained in power in GB during the past one decade.
Syed Mehdi Shah was the PPP chief minister while Hafeezur Rehman was the PML-N’s.