GILGIT: Commending measures taken on June 8, Gilgit-Baltistan caretaker Chief Minister Sher Jehan Mir said the decision to conduct elections under the army’s supervision was taken to avoid a repeat of the violence seen in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa during local government polls.
“It’s a part of the game – a few minor incidents [can take place] in the entire region,” said Mir while addressing a press conference at his office on Tuesday. He paid tribute to the army, administration and other agencies for their help in the peaceful execution of G-B’s legislative assembly polls.
The caretaker chief minister will relinquish his office by the end of this month when the new government takes over. Replying to a question about his future, the caretaker CM said he would resume his job as the chief executive officer of Karakoram Bank where he was on a contract.
In the lead
Mir’s statement came a day after elections were held in the 24 constituencies. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has appeared as the leading party and is set to form the next government. According to unofficial results, PML-N has bagged 12 seats and was in the lead till Monday night in another four constituencies.
During the conference, Mir said the mandate of the caretaker government was to hold free and fair elections and they achieved that. Dispelling the impression that rigging took place in some polling stations, Mir said those who are losing always look for excuses.
“I visited some polling stations in certain parts of Ghizer Valley and found the arrangements extremely satisfactory.” Mir also spoke about women’s participation, calling it exemplary. “I have been told women in Darel and Tangir also voted.”
The caretaker CM said another reason to call in army was to pre-empt security concerns regarding the China-Pak Economic Corridor, which would link Pakistan with China through G-B.
On the other hand, a journalist based in Chilas told The Express Tribune on the election day that women in Darel Valley cast their ballots but those in Tangir abstained voluntarily as they have never voted. He added separate women staff was made available by the administration; this staff helped the women of Darel exercise their right to vote. However, despite this facility women from Tangir chose not to vote.
However, no official was immediately available to comment on the issue and the regional office of the chief election commissioner did not know if women were able to votes. -- The Express Tribune