GILGIT: By-elections for GBLA-6 Hunza have been postponed due to the provision of foolproof security for tourists.
This was said by Farooq Ahmed, a government official, on Friday. The decision to postpone the polls has stoked unrest among political parties who have been preparing for the polls that were scheduled for August 29.
“There are so many tourists in Hunza and other valleys,” Ahmed, who is the deputy director in information department, told The Express Tribune. “The manpower of police and other forces is required to ensure security for tourists. And let me put it on record that the delay of polls has nothing to do with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan.”
This year, Hunza has witnessed a boom in tourism. A large number of rooms at hotels have remained booked throughout the summer.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the polls had been postponed in view of Nawaz and the COAS’s visit to the region. The prime minister and the army chief will participate in a conference regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Election Commissioner Abid Raza had said the new date for the elections will be announced soon. He said this has been done because the home department was unable to provide security for the polls.
According to a notification issued from the election commission, a new date for the polls will be announced soon. However, political activists have attributed the delay to the regional government’s fear of losing the polls.
“The polls have been postponed because the government knows their position is weak and defeat is inevitable,” said Himayatullah, a political activist supporting an independent candidate. “They want to buy time to strengthen their position.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.