GILGIT (ET): The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) swept the by-elections in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), claiming both G-B legislative assembly seats contested in the polls held on Sunday. Two seats in the Baltistan region – G-BLA 9 Skardu-3 and G-BLA 23 Ghanche-2 – were rendered vacant this year after former law minister Wazir Shakeel became a judge and Maulana Abdul passed away.
According to unofficial results, Fida Nashad of PML-N won the polls in G-BLA 9 Skardu-3 by securing 8,391 votes, followed by All Pakistan Muslim League’s (APML) Abbas Mosavi, who bagged 2,528 votes. The total number of registered voters was 231,669 in the constituency, whereas turnover stood at 50%. Polling was held in 55 polling stations in the constituency.
Interestingly, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) did not field its candidate for G-BLA 9 Skardu-3, which was once considered to be a stronghold of the party. Skardu is also the home-town of Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, who is the president of PPP’s G-B chapter.
In G-BLA 23 Ghanche-2, PML-N candidate Sultan Ali secured 4,207 votes, while his opponent Ghulam Hussain of PPP bagged 3,764 votes. Haji Muhammad Iqbal, an independent, obtained over 3,300 votes. The total number of registered voters was 25,000 and polling took place in 48 stations.
PML-N’s victory in the by-elections in G-B is said to be a major blow to the PPP, which has just completed four years of its government in the region amid a flurry of accusations regarding corruption and mismanagement.
Regional president of PML-N, Hafizur Rahman termed his party’s victory in the by-polls the “dawn of a new era in G-B.” Talking to The Express Tribune, Rahman said: “The results are reflective of the people’s wishes of wanting to get rid of PPP.”
He hoped his party will achieve similar success in the general elections due to be held across G-B by the end of next year