GB to hold polls on Nov 15th: Caretaker CM

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GILGIT: The caretaker chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Mir Afzal Khan, on Friday announced that the elections for the legislative assembly will be organised on November 15.
Caretaker CM Mir Afzal Khan said in a statement that all preparations for the organisation of polls for GB Legislative Assembly were completed and the authorities will ensure measures to hold a transparent election.
He said that security forces will be deployed during the polls, whereas, army troops will also be summoned if required.
In July, President Arif Alvi had announced polls in the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) on August 18, however, it was postponed following the GB chief court. Moreover, it emerged that the delay in the appointment of Managing Director (MD) of the Printing Corporation of Pakistan had also become a cause for postponement of the polls in the autonomous region.
The Legislative Assembly of the Gilgit Baltistan had dissolved after it completed its five-year tenure on June 24. Elections on the 24 general seats of the GB Legislative Assembly will be held on Nov 15, according to a notification signed by President Arif Alvi last month.
In a press conference today, Afzal said help would only be taken from police and paramilitary forces during the elections. “We will prove that police and paramilitary forces have full capability to help with conducting the elections,” he said. “We will set an example for the whole country by conducting GB elections without [help from] the army,” he added.
However, army officials could be posted in “sensitive areas” depending on the conditions, he said.
Afzal said the caretaker government was “neutral” and would investigate if evidence of rigging was found.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) banned the prime minister and other government officials from visiting GB until elections have been held. Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shahbaz Khan, in a press conference, said that according to the rules of conduct of the election commission, no government official could visit the region or run an election campaign.
He said the PML-N had lost control of its workers and was now levelling allegations of “political engineering” against the ECP. Expressing the resolve to conduct “transparent elections at any cost”, Khan said help would be taken from GB Scouts, Rangers, police and Frontier Corps.