Protest in Gilgit-Baltistan over election results
GILGIT: The workers of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and police clashed here on Monday, as the former protested against the unofficial election results of Gilgit-Baltistan A-2, Gilgit-2 constituency. DIG Waqas Ahmed said the PPP workers termed the results rigged and held a protest. Demonstrations were also staged in several areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, including Skardu and Chilas.
Violence erupted soon after the clash when the agitated protesters torched a government building and four vehicles. According to the DIG, an estimated 20-25 people were involved in terrorism. There were reports of clashes with the police on the River View Road and various other places. Additional police contingents were deployed in the wake of tense situation. The PPP leadership strongly condemned the violence against its protesting workers.
“After stealing the Gilgit-Baltistan elections, the federal government is now resorting to violence,” said Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, spokesmen for the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a statement.
He said the people were protesting peacefully against the theft of their votes by the federal government, but they were clubbed, tear-gassed and fired upon. He said the CEC went back on the agreement that no result would be announced in GB-2 constituency before completion of forensic analysis of votes.
”The entire record of election in GB-2 is missing at the behest of the CEC,” he said, adding that the government wanted to create a law and order situation through violence against the peaceful protestors.
“How is it possible that the PPP received the most votes but the PTI got the most seats?” He said people would not tolerate this fascist government anymore. “If the situation goes out of control in GB, then the CEC Raja Shahbaz and the federal government will be held responsible,” he warned. “Our workers have the right to peaceful protest against rigging in Gilgit-Baltistan,” said a statement issued by Sherry Rehman. Shelling and firing on peaceful protesters is reprehensible, she said.
Sherry said the PTI had gone blind in its greed for power. Those who kept hostage the whole country for 126 days cannot tolerate the peaceful protests of the PPP, she said, alleging that the workers conspired to create chaos by burning vehicles. She alleged that the Chief Election Commissioner sided with the PTI. “He is not conducting a forensic audit of the votes as per the agreement.” She said those who closed the whole country on the basis of four constituencies were not conducting forensic audit of one constituency on the PPP’s demand.
“We will not allow the rigged model of 2018 to run in Gilgit-Baltistan. The fraudulent government has now been exposed.” PPP Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio said that violence against the protesters in Gilgit was shameful.
“Bullets and shelling on our workers in Gilgit is the federal government’s blind revenge. The results of the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan elections will be dire.” Chandio asked who was being served by torturing people in a sensitive area.
“Act responsibly and stop trying to play with the fire. The agreement reached by the Chief Election Commissioner on Gilgit-Baltistan Constituency-II should be fulfilled. Disclosure of results without forensic voting is evidence of fraud.”
Meanwhile, PPP leader from Gilgit-Baltistan Saadia Danish criticised the CEC and accused him of hiding the results of constituency-2.
She said it seemed as though the CEC was a PTI worker and warned that his attitude would lead to deterioration in the law and order in the area. Responding to the PPP leaders’ criticism, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said after defeat in the Gilgit-Baltistan election, the opposition should have known their political status. “The frustration of the PDM leaders was palpable yesterday,” he said. He said the NRO seeking PDM leaders were roaming about the streets. “Their rallies are a threat to the employment of people, not to the government,” he added