By Shabbir Mir


GILGIT: A Jamaat-e-Islami candidate and an independent election hopeful accused Diamer Deputy Commissioner Usman Ahmed and returning officer Sohail Ahmed of manipulating GBLA 16 results in favour of PML-N candidate Janbaaz Khan.

This was one of the rare accusations of rigging during the Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly elections which were held under army supervision. PML-N had emerged as the leading party with 12 seats. “There is a ‘troika’ of the DC, RO and Khan,” Abdul Aziz, an independent candidate, told journalists in Gilgit. JI candidate Attaullah also attended the same news conference at the Gilgit Press Club. “They are trying to turn Khan’s defeat into a victory by adding bogus votes,” said Aziz.

There were also clashes at a women’s polling station in Thore Sari where party workers clashed with each other, leaving a soldier injured. According to the JI candidate, PML-N workers stormed the station, destroying ballot boxes and votes as they claimed the polling station was a stronghold of Attaullah and Aziz. “There was nothing left to count, but the ‘troika’ added at least 300 fake votes to make Khan win.” The candidates demanded a re-election at the particular polling station, saying they could go to any lengths to get justice. “The women were excited to cast their ballots and should not be deprived of their constitutional right.” The candidates have also submitted an application to the chief election commissioner, asking him to order re-elections.

All equals Returning Officer Sohail Ahmed denied the allegations. “The data was compiled and a copy of the report had already been provided to army personnel by the time a mob of 500 men broke into the polling station and destroyed the ballot bags,” the RO told The Express Tribune. He added that polling staff, including a relative of Aziz, also submitted their written statements about the incident. Ahmed said officials had nothing to do with the PML-N candidate as all were equal for them.

He claimed the written statements had been shared with the CEC. Houses destroyed Candidates claimed 10 houses, including one belonging to a PPP election hopeful, were destroyed by security forces who were misled by the ‘troika’. “The forces took action in the wake of violence, but had been misguided by the three men,” said Aziz. He added that small scale skirmishes did not warrant the demolition of houses. “Why were our houses bulldozed? Aren’t we Pakistanis?” he asked. A security official told The Express Tribune that only three houses which belonged to PPP candidate Dilbar Khan and his brothers were destroyed because they ransacked the polling station.


Courtesy: The Express Tribune

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