By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: By-elections for GBLA-6, Hunza have been postponed yet again. The polls had been scheduled for August 29 and series of preparations had been made for the elections by various political parties.
The decision to postpone the polls has been taken in view of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan. The prime minister and the army chief will participate in a conference regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“The elections [have been] postponed due to these visits and the next date will be announced soon,” Election Commissioner Abid Raza said “[This has been done] because the home department was unable to provide security for the polls.”
A notification to this effect was also issued by election commission on Wednesday. The constituency fell vacant after Mir Ghazanfar Ali was appointed as G-B governor.
Up in arms
The decision to postpone the elections has drawn the ire of various political parties that had launched an effective electioneering campaign over the months. AWP workers voiced their disappointment over the decision.
“It appears the rulers are afraid of our popularity,” AWP Spokesperson Wajid Ali told The Express Tribune while referring to the party’s campaign that was in full swing. He said the government has postponed the polls after realising that the ruling party’s defeat in the election was imminent. “The CPEC conference is nothing but a pretext,” he added.
At least three separate applications have been submitted in police stations in Gilgit on Wednesday to register cases against Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain for making anti-Pakistan remarks. One of the applications was submitted by Mansoor Shahid, a local, at City police station.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.