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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is all set to dominate Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly for five years after winning 22 out of total 33 seats in November 15 legislative assembly elections. Amid rigging allegations by opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the newly-elected 33 members will take oath today (Wednesday).

According to official results announced by the G-B Election Commission, the PPP and the PML-N managed to bag five and three seats, respectively. In all, the G-B Assembly has 33 seats, of which 24 are contested through directed elections, while six are reserved for women, and three others reserved for technocrats and professionals.

Political parties can nominate their candidates to the latter through proportional representation. In the elections, the PTI emerged victorious on 10 seats, while seven were won by independent candidates. The JUI and Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) won one seat each.

Six of the independent candidates have joined the PTI after the election, and the party already had a seat adjustment arrangement with the MWM. PPP's G-B chapter President Advocate Amjad Hussain was declared winner in GBLA-1 and GBLA-4. The PPP also won GBLA-24 constituency. The party also got two reserved seats - one for women and the other for technocrats.

The PTI's Fatehullah Khan has been declared as the winner in GBLA-2 despite the constituency's returning officer's recommendation that a forensic audit of the ballots should be held. Earlier, unofficial results had indicated that PPP's Jameel Ahmed would win the constituency with 8,817 votes against 8,200 secured by PTI's Khan. But the recounting of votes turned the tables. On Tuesday, PPP workers and supporters took to streets to protest against alleged rigging in the constituency.

The protest had turned violent following clashes between demonstrators and the police, and four vehicles and a building of G-B's forest department were torched by unidentified miscreants. Protests against alleged rigging and use of force by police yesterday are also being held today.

In GBLA-3, the PTI's Syed Sohail Abbas was declared as the winner, while GBLA-5 was grabbed by independent candidate, Javed Ali Manwa. GBLA-6 and GBLA-7 were both won by PTI, while GBLA-8 was taken by MWM candidate Muhammad Kazim. Meanwhile, GBLA-9 and GBLA-10 were won by independent candidates. The PTI also won GBLA-11, GBLA-12, GBLA-13, GBLA-14, GBLA-18, and GBLA-20 constituencies. The ruling party also grabbed four seats reserved for women and two reserved for technocrats.

Meanwhile, the PML-N was able to grab GBLA-16 and GBLA-21, and one seat reserved for women. Soon after the chief election commissioner issued the official election results, the PPP announced its rejection, saying that the outcome was announced without addressing the party's reservations. "How can results be announced officially when a protest by party workers is underway and PPP still has reservations?" asked PPP leader Nafisa Shah.

She said that the announcement of results had exposed the nexus of federal government and the [G-B] election commission. Shah said that GBLA-2's returning officer had clearly said that a forensic audit of ballots should be held, and yet results had been announced without conducting one.

"No matter what happens, we will not let [anyone] rob us of a seat that had been won," she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020