Amid reports of poll rigging in Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly elections, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the single largest party in the elections by securing 10 seats.

PTI was followed by Bilawal Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), which secured 3 seats and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) got two seats, reported Dawn.

Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) won one seat, while seven seats of the GBLA have been won by independent candidates.In GBLA-02 (Gilgit-II) constituency, PTI’s Fatehullah Khan was declared the winner with a lead of only two votes after the recounting of votes. He received 6,696 votes against 6,694 bagged by PPP’s Jameel Ahmed. Earlier, Ahmed was declared the winner with 8,817 votes against 8,200 secured by PTI candidate Fatehullah Khan. As the elections favoured Imran Khan’s party, major political parties have hit the streets alleging that the polls were rigged.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Skardu and Gilgit areas against alleged vote-rigging in the elections, according to sources. Incidents of several tires being set on fire and many roads blocked for hours were reported in the region.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari alleged rigging in three constituencies. Addressing a sit-in in Gilgit, he said rigging was made to snatch the mandate of PPP in Gilgit 1, Ghizer 3 and a constituency in Skardu.Dawn quoted Bilawal as saying at a press conference that results were manipulated “overnight” for elections on seats that the PPP was winning and the party was declared to have lost them during the day.

He further said that PPP candidate Jameel Ahmed had been winning the election by 1,000 votes “but this morning [Monday] an attempt was being made to hand over that seat to PTI by two votes”.

“How can the so-called Election Commission ignore this kind of open and naked rigging? How can they ignore the theft of votes of this area’s people?” he added.

Bilawal further warned of grave consequences and refused to leave unless the stolen mandate of the people is returned.

In Ghizar, PPP’s Muhammad Ayub also staged a sit-in against rigging in Ghizar 4 constituency.

“We will fight against this injustice. Today, our mandate has been hijacked through pre-poll rigging. We will continue till we get justice as the authorities are aware of this rigging”, said Muhammad Ayub while addressing his supporters.

In addition, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif claimed that Imran Khan’s PTI won a few seats in Gilgit Baltistan’s elections through ‘rigging’, ‘bullying’, and with the help of turncoats.

Maryam, on her Twitter, wrote that Imran’s PTI failing to achieve an absolute majority in the northern region (illegally occupied) is a “shameful defeat” for the incumbent government, the News International reported.

The elections were held amidst relentless protest by the people of Gilgit Baltistan against the Pakistan government’s “illegal occupation” in the region.

India has slammed Pakistan for its decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said any action to alter the status of the militarily-occupied region has no legal basis. 

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