Arrangements for Sunday’s elections to 23 of the 24 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly seats have been completed.
The ECP has sent the necessary equipment to the polling station staff through the returning officers of all the constituencies.
Unlike the July 2018 general elections in all four provinces of Pakistan and the capital Islamabad, the army will have no role in the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections. Police and paramilitary personnel will provide security during the elections.
Gilgit-Baltistan government spokesman Faizullah Faraq said 1,161 polling stations have been set up in 23 constituencies for 7.5 million voters. In these polling stations, 418 have been declared as highly sensitive and 311 as sensitive.
According to him, these polling stations will have 368 joint polling stations for women, 364 for men and 428 for men.
According to the spokesperson, special curtain arrangements have been made for women at the joint polling stations.
The spokesman added that 13,481 police and paramilitary personnel have been recruited to maintain law and order in the elections. They include 4,018 personnel from Gilgit-Baltistan. The other personnel include 3,000 from Punjab Police, 2,000 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police, 500 from Sindh Police and 200 from Balochistan.
Faizullah Faraq said the paramilitary forces included 1,700 Rangers, 1,100 Frontier Constabulary and 965 Gilgit-Baltistan personnel.
A total of 327 candidates are contesting the elections. These include 101 candidates from different political parties as well as 199 independent candidates.
Various political parties and strong independent candidates are busy gaining the support of other candidates. Some smaller parties and independent candidates have pledged support for the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the federation.
Leaders of the opposition and former Gilgit-Baltistan ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are accusing the PTI of forcing dozens of top leaders, including eight of their candidates, to change allegiances. However, evidence of these allegations was not provided.
PTI official Basharat Hussain Gelat says people are leaving other parties and joining the PTI, influenced by the federal government’s performance.
Gilgit-Baltistan caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal Khan says holding fair and transparent elections is his top priority. The peace of Gilgit-Baltistan is very dear to him and no one will be treated leniently regarding law and order.[table “533” not found /]