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Archive for November 13th, 2009

PPP in sight of majority in Gilgit-Baltistan

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on November 13, 2009

GILGIT / SKARDU, Friday 13: The first elections for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly were held largely peacefully across the region on Thursday, with no major incident of violence reported during the polling.
According to unofficial results announced around midnight, the PPP appeared poised to win a majority in the assembly.
Despite chilly weather, people in large numbers came out to cast their vote to elect their representatives to the assembly that will enjoy more powers under the political reforms recently introduced by the government.
The high voter turnout was, however, tainted by allegations of rigging in some rural constituencies.
Large queues of men and women were seen outside polling stations in most areas.
The only exception was the southern district of Diamer where conservative contestants of all major parties did not allow women to come out to vote.
An untoward incident, the worst of the day, was reported from the LA-15 constituency of Chilas where supporters of PML-Q candidate Bashir Ahmed and independent Mohamed Amin pelted each other with stones and several people were injured.
There were complaints about interference in polling by activists of different parties from some hotly contested electoral wards, including LA-3, Danyor, near the city of Gilgit.
Candidates complained that women voters had been prevented from voting at two booths by activists of some parties, prompting the home secretary to deploy paramilitary units.
Two people were injured in a clash in Dasso Nit village of Shigar valley between supporters of Raja Azam Khan of the MQM and Imran Nadeem of the PPP.
Police registered a case against 45 people. In the Wazir Pur area of the same constituency, supporters of the PPP reportedly pelted their rivals with stones.
A polling agent of the MQM for the Skardu-1 seat accused the PPP of casting bogus votes, but the agent of the PPP refuted the allegation.
Official results will be declared on Saturday. Despite complaints about a last-minute revision of voter lists, the results are expected to be accepted by most parties which will now focus to the next phase in which the assembly will elect six women and three technocrats to reserved seats.
The assembly will then elect the region’s first chief minister. The Pakistan People’s Party’s regional chief Syed Mehdi Shah has emerged as a front-runner for the post.
Polling got under way at 8am and wrapped up by 4pm. In all, 256 candidates were vying for 23 seats.
The electorate comprised 714,966 people, including 330,391 women, for whom 989 polling stations were set up.
The election in LA-19, Ghizer, was postponed after the death of a candidate. Only those possessing Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) were allowed to vote.
Around 6,000 security personnel were deployed at all the polling stations. Counting of votes at some polling stations continued till late in the night.
Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammed said representatives of human rights organisations and NGOs were allowed to visit polling stations to ensure transparency of the electoral process.
He said that besides police, Northern Areas Scouts, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel were available for security, while the army was available on call.
Election Commissioner Rahim Nawaz Khan Durrani said that security personnel and election staff members were paid a special allowance of Rs300 each for those deployed in cities and Rs1,000 in rural areas.
He said the overall turnout was satisfactory, although it was low in remote areas because of harsh weather.
Voting at some polling stations was completed two hours before the closing time with 100 per cent votes cast.
According to unofficial results, Syed Mehdi Shah of the PPP was declared winner from Skardu-1 with 5,295 votes, while Wazir Villayat Ali of the PML-Q came second with 2,270 votes.
In Skardu-6, Raja Azam Khan of the MQM won with 5,151 votes against 3,257 of PPP’s Imran Nadeem.
In Skardu-2, Shaikh Nisar of the PPP had a lead over Syed Mohammad Ali Shah in a close contest.
In Skardu-3, Wazir Shakeel Ahmed of the PPP had a lead over Haji Fida Mohammad Nashad of the PML-N.
In Skardu-4, Raja Hussain Khan Maqpon and Wazir Hassan of the PPP were running neck and neck.
In Skardu-5, Syed Mohammad Ali Shah of the PPP appeared to be in a winning position.
In Ghanche-1, Mohammad Jaffer of the PPP was leading.
In Ghanche-2, Maulana Abdullah of the PML-N was leading with 4,066 votes against 3,941 of Amna Ansari.
In Ghanche-3, Engineer Ismail of the PPP won with 5,601 votes against Mohammad Shafique of the PML-N who got 4,059 votes.-DAWN

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