“On Monday, PPP President Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari launched a series of allegations about fraud in the elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying that his party would use all its legal options in the polls against open and naked rigging.
A day after polls closed and provisional results revealed that the PPP had captured just three out of the 24 seats in the GB Legislative Assembly, Bilawal addressed a press conference in Gilgit, alleging that the results were distorted “overnight” for elections on seats won by the PPP and the party was reported to have lost them during the day.
Citing an example, Bilawal said PPP candidate Jameel Ahmed won the election last night by 1,000 votes, “but an effort was made this morning to hand the seat to PTI by two votes.”
“He argued that Forms-45 did not balance Ahmed’s presence in the race, and the PPP candidate would fail only if the forms of the Election Commission were considered, which he said “did not carry the signatures of the polling agents and were without accredited papers.
He said related complaints were received by the party from all over GB. No voting took place at all in two villages in GB-13 [and the weather was given an excuse. Our first demand would be that once everybody has been allowed to cast their vote, the election on that seat is not complete,” he said.”
“In GBLA-18, Bilawal expressed what he called the “serious reservations” of his faction, saying women have been disenfranchised and not allowed to vote. He further claimed that the GB Election Commission did not provide PPP candidate Saadia Danish with the facilities that would allow her to run her own electoral campaign in the constituency and that she was not even permitted to file her nomination papers in that area.
As part of a muk-muka (covert deal), the way [ballots] were stamped there to reach the 10 percent threshold, the seat too would go for re-election if the Election Commission had been operating according to the statute, said the leader of the PPP.
He said that in GBLA-21, ballot boxes were looted from where Ayub Shah fought the election on a PPP ticket and a first report on this was submitted. How can this kind of transparent and naked rigging be overlooked by the so-called Election Commission? How can they disregard the stealing of the citizens of this region’s vote?
PPP has terminated the raajgiri device here we will not allow it to return under any other condition. We will secure the votes of the citizens of this country. We don’t assume the election of a seat has any meaning if the voting boxes have been stolen. Either they should be taken back or in those places, re-polling should be held, he stressed.
In GBLA-1 and Skardu, Bilawal alleged that sectarianism was intentionally distributed and was used strategically to make the PPP fail.
We assume this is a game of fire for a seat, for an election… It is analogous to playing for these people’s destiny. We’re not going to encourage it to become a political card. We’re not going to encourage the ‘divide and rule’ definition to be carried this far… He said, just to let your favourite party win.
He further said the PPP was willing to use all its means to secure the vote of the GB people and was consulting the courts as well as the Election Commission.
He claimed that by arriving in the area and lobbying before polling day some federal ministers and special assistants to the prime minister had committed “contempt of justice.”
“As a result of our appeal, we expect not only those ministers to be excluded, but also the candidates they were running for,” he added, noting that the PPP had on the other hand, acknowledged the court ruling barring him from campaigning “unwillingly.”
“If the prime minister of the PPP may be removed and held in contempt, then we definitely expect action to be taken against the PTI ministers and their nominees who have breached the Constitution and rule of Pakistan,” he said.
According to Bilawal, even before the court order banning public office holders from lobbying in the area was released, the PPP was already gathering information about the trips allegedly made by ministers to GB.
But the red line they have crossed, the way they spoke about sharing funds from Pakistan here and] pledging federal projects in exchange for votes, we take it very seriously,” he said.”
“Addressing the GB Election Commission, he said: “If you couldn’t deter them (the ministers), then it could at least disqualify the fact that they have not only exploited and manipulated state services, but are on the record of attempting to bribe the people of GB […].
We are going to the Election Commission against any single PTI candidate for whom the federal ministers have declared federal support and initiatives when campaigning. This is our lawful decision and our right.’
He said he would join the PPP protest against “rigging and voting fraud” again, adding that the protests would continue until we have won our vote.”
Bilawal said that there was no planning” for the federal government to win the GB polls, saying this was clear from the fact that until now the PTI had not named its candidate for chief minister.
We hope that the PPP’s stolen seats will be recovered by the morning after our redistribution process is finished and recounting options are used. With respect to the protection they want for their rights, we will not disappoint the people of GB.
“We think the PPP has won the politics of GB; we are fighting for that when it comes to forming a coalition,” he said.
The chief of the PPP also praised the people of GB for showing out to vote, saying their participation was a tribute to [their] commitment to democracy’ during the whole campaign.
The PTI led after having bagged 10 seats, followed by independent candidates who have so far won seven seats, as the preliminary results of the fiercely contested GB elections were published on Monday.
The PPP was able to win three seats, followed by two seats for the PML-N.
In the third legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan, there were as many as 330 members, including four women running for the 24 general seats.