ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party yesterday urged the federal government to stop ‘pre-polls rigging’ in Gilgit-Baltistan. 

The party demanded to hold Gilgit-Baltistan elections on time without any interference and that judicial officers should be deputed as the returning officers.

Speaking at a news conference here, PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar had no authority to call a meeting of parliamentary leaders regarding Gilgit-Baltistan.

Secretary General PPP Parliamentarians Farhatullah Babar, Aijaz Durrani, Nazir Dhoki, Shakil Abbasi, Sadaf Murtaza, Iftikhar Shahzada and advocate Sajjad Mangi were also present at the media interaction. Bukhari said the meeting of Parliamentary leaders should only be called by the leader of the House. He said all the parties which have participated in the recently held All Parties’ Conference will not attend the meeting called by Speaker today (September 28).

He said Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that the APC was held on September 20 and a 26 points communiqué was agreed upon by 12 parties and they are bound to act upon the communiqué and the action plan. 

The communiqué says that the APC demands Gilgit Baltistan’s elections to be held on time and to be held free, fair and transparent without any interference. After the elections, measures should be taken to bring Gilgit Baltistan in national political stream, he added. 

Opposition parties won’t attend meeting called by National Assembly Speaker 

The communiqué also declared that the region of Gilgit Baltistan is a very sensitive one and the interference of agencies should end there so that no one can object on the transparency of the elections. 

The APC had also decided to keep a close eye on the elections of Gilgit Baltistan. Bukhari said that the election commission of GB is separate than that of ECP. 

The date of elections is November 15 and the “election process has been started. The PPP demands that instead of officers of administration, the judicial officers should be deputed as Returning officers,” he said. Bukhari said that people were being pressurized in GB which was pre-polls rigging. “The PPP demands of the Chief Election commissioner of GB to stop federal ministers from interfering in Gilgit Baltistan elections,” he added. 

He said the PPP had said in its 2018 manifesto that the people of GB will get their constitutional rights. “In 1994, PPP held elections in GB and in 2008 Asif Ali Zardari formed an administrative structure in GB with a chief minister of GB,” he reminded. Bukhari said the agencies were distributing health cards and were pressurising people which amounts to pre poll rigging. 

He said the meeting of political parties should have been called by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The PPP leader said the Prime Minister should resign if he chose not to attend the meeting with the army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Farhatullah Babar on the occasion said that the elections in GB were of special importance and the elected assembly of GB will decide the future of GB. 

“We need free and fair elections; there should be no interference of in these elections,” he said adding only political parties will decide the future of Gilgit-Baltistan with the help of the people. 

He said that the meeting about GB should have been called by the Prime Minister instead of the army chief. “The army chief called the meeting to discuss about the security issues but the issues of Gilgit Baltistan were also discussed in that meeting,” he said.