GILGIT: Even though they did not cast their ballots, residents of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) remained glued to their television screens watching the rest of Pakistan vote amid fever pitch and continuous updates on social media.
“That’s not fair. The election commission should take immediate note of poll rigging in parts of Karachi,” complained Mohammad Din while referring to media reports of a certain party’s activists trying to sabotage the polling process in some areas.
Huge crowds were gathered outside offices of political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Gilgit. Elsewhere, tea stalls were abuzz with political discussion and speculations on the turnout. “I am sure change will come,” said a PTI supporter.
Reports from other parts of G-B indicated a similar atmosphere in Skardu, Hunza, Ghizer and Astore, with residents eagerly awaiting the outcome. Traffic, however, remained thin as most people preferred to stay indoors and stay up-to-date with the news.
Though G-B is not represented in the National Assembly and Senate, the regional government is represented by mainstream parties. Currently, the PPP governs G-B while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement are coalition partners.