GILGIT: Caretaker government of Gilgit-Baltistan has decided not to seek the help of army in Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections.
According to details, It was decided not to seek the help of army in Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections. The caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal said that only paramilitary forces and police would be involved in the election.
The caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal said that the police and paramilitary forces will prove that they are fully capable of holding elections. However, the deployment of troops in sensitive areas can be carried out according to the circumstances.
Gilgit-Baltistan Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal on Friday said help would not be taken from the Pakistan Army in the upcoming elections for the Legislative Assembly. Elections on the 24 general seats of the GB Legislative Assembly will be held on Nov 15, according to a notification signed by President Arif Alvi last month.
In a press conference today, Afzal said help would only be taken from police and paramilitary forces during the elections. “We will prove that police and paramilitary forces have full capability to help with conducting the elections,” he said. “We will set an example for the whole country by conducting GB elections without [help from] the army,” he added.
However, army officials could be posted in “sensitive areas” depending on the conditions, he said. Afzal said the caretaker government was “neutral” and would investigate if evidence of rigging was found.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) banned the prime minister and other government officials from visiting GB until elections have been held. Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shahbaz Khan, in a press conference, said that according to the rules of conduct of the election commission, no government official could visit the region or run an election campaign.
He said the PML-N had lost control of its workers and was now levelling allegations of “political engineering” against the ECP.
Expressing the resolve to conduct “transparent elections at any cost”, Khan said help would be taken from GB Scouts, Rangers, police and Frontier Corps. Khan too said that the army would only be posted at sensitive polling stations. “Arrangements for the elections are being made according to the coronavirus situation,” he added.
The elections on the 24 general seats of the GB Legislative Assembly were earlier scheduled to be held on Aug 18 but were later postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The five-year term of the previous assembly had ended on June 24, bringing an end to the five-year rule of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari announced party candidates for the GB elections. The candidates were announced after consultations by the party’s parliamentary board established in this regard.
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).
No army posters
The Election Commission of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has warned political parties against using portraits of army officers, mainly the chief of army staff, and heads of any other institutions such as the judiciary in their newspaper advertisements and panaflex banners and posters.
An order to this effect was issued by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Abdul Rashid Salahria after the picture of a welcome banner put up by a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, which carried portraits of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and another central party leader, went viral on social media, with many users criticising the alleged “politicisation of the armed forces”.
“We have received complaints that some political parties are using pictures of the army chief in their advertisements and panaflex banners. Under [the] law, no individual or political party can use or run a campaign on the basis of the pictures of the army chief or the head of any other institution. Such a step may lead to disqualification [of the political party or its leader concerned] under Section 21 of the Election Act, 2020,” the order said.
It pointed out that all political parties were bound by the code of conduct under Section 106 of the Election Act and could not deviate from it.