By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman has vowed to hold local government elections in the region. The decision comes after unofficial results of local bodies’ polls in Punjab indicated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s victory.
“The LG elections will be held in a manner similar to the ones held in Punjab,” the chief minister told The Express Tribune over the phone on Sunday.
Rahman is currently in Islamabad to attend a meeting of a committee headed by Adviser to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, where constitutional reforms in G-B will be discussed. “Work is in progress to prepare electoral lists and address other matters in G-B,” he said. “I will formally announce a date and schedule for the [local government] polls once we finalise arrangements.”
According to Rahman, local bodies’ elections are the key to development in G-B.
“People living in remote valleys of the region will benefit from the process,” he said. “They will be able to have their grievances addressed through their chosen representatives.”
The chief minister also drew attention to the promise of forming three new districts in the region. “We are gradually fulfilling the promises we made before the [legislative assembly] elections,” he added.
Rahman said he was pleased to see that people voted for PML-N once again.
“Punjab and G-B have countless similarities,” he said. “The biggest similarity is that people of Punjab and G-B favour PML-N and have voted for its candidates.”
The chief minister also lashed out at opposition parties who had accused them of electoral malpractice.
“The LG poll results in Punjab have, once again, weakened the claims of those who said we had rigged the polls,” he said.
As per unofficial results of the local government polls held on December 5 in Punjab, PML-N has emerged the leader with 882 seats. The elections were held in seven districts of southern Punjab – Multan, DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Layyah – and four central Punjab district – Jhang, Khushab, Sialkot and Narowal as well as Rawalpindi.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2015.