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Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly Elections 2020

Barkatulla Lone

Gilgit Baltistan is the most beautiful region of Pakistan whose borders are connected with India and China. Due to geo strategic location of this region, GB is very important for the defense of Pakistan. Land area of GB is around 73,000 Square KM having just a population of 1.8 Million People. GB Population is almost one third of Azad Kashmir and the land area is five times more than AJK. Despite having such a large land and too less population plus possessing 80K Hydro Capacity of generating electricity, highly priced minerals and tourism resorts much more beautiful than Finland and Switzerland, educated youth and hard working labor force, this region has remained backward and totally neglected for the last 74 years. Masses of this region are deprived of basic constitutional and other rights even today. Federal Governments have always tried to get power by making false promises before elections but soon after elections no major promise has ever been fulfilled.
Election Commission of GB has announced the 15th Nov 2020 as the Election date and all parties are making heart and soul efforts to win in the elections. If we see historically, GB has always been considered as the fort of PP from 70’s onwards just because the then Premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had annulled the payment of Malia (Rental) on the land produce and had empowered the masses by giving them right to vote. Thus, the first electoral system was introduced in 1974 which has been continuing till now but in different forms. It was again PP that gave GB a Provisional Constitutional Order in 2009 and a Provisional Assemble came into being with a CM of its own. So, the masses rewarded PP by electing them in 2009 but unfortunately PP messed up the principle of governance in it five-year tenure so much so that government jobs were sold through Auction. Corruption and massacre of merit made their position in 2015 Election too vulnerable when the Public rejected them and they were able to just secure One seat and PML (N) was given an opportunity in this Election. PML (N) as against PP incorporated Merit to a great extent and gave massive level Projects in all the Districts plus Peace and harmony in GB was excellent during five-year tenure of PML (N) Government. Despite much better Governance, PML (N) Government has multiple charges of corruption and nepotism which are yet to be proved. Government of PML (N) ended on the 24th June 2020 and an Interim Set Up has been established by the PTI Federal Government. If we see party position in GB, PTI popularity has not been so good neither PP since it destroyed the Institutions during its five-year tenure from 2009 till 2015. PML (N) too in not in the good books of public. In this scenario, Mandate on the 15th Nov is expected to be a Mix one. GB consists of three Divisions and if we see party position Division wise then taking up Diamer Astore Division first, there are four seats in Diamer and two in Astore. PTI is expected to be winning with a land slide victory in Astore – 2 as the other PTI Ticket contestants of this constituency have withdrawn in favor of PTI Ticket Holder. The other reason of PTI candidate holder strong position in Astore – 2 is the PP’s big mistake in issuing Ticket to a weaker positioned candidate. PML (N) is already at back foot in Astore – 2 and cannot win this seat at any cost. These all aforementioned reasons have paved the way to the PTI Candidate in Astore – 2 to win Election 2020 with a land slide Margin. Situation in Astore – 1 is entirely different as there are two heavy weight candidates of PML (N) and PP against PP candidate. In Astore – 1, there is one on one competition between PP & PML (N). PTI candidate in Astore – 1 stands no where because of many reasons out of which one of the main reasons is Ittehad Gudai. Gudai is a Union on which PTI banked upon for its successes but a United Front has been constituted in this Union and all the Votes of PTI have been taken over by this United Gudai. The other reason of PTI candidate in Astore -1 being out of this 2020 contest is the Rebellion of another Key Ticket Contestant who has declared to contest Elections as Independent candidate after PTI Ticket was not given to him. This was the brief Picture of Astore but when we see at Diamer, there are four Seats out of which PTI is favorite in Diamer – 3, PML (N) is favorite in Diamar – 1 and Diamer – 2 whereas a tough competition is expected between JUI and PML (N) in Diamer – 4.
In Gilgit Division, there are nine Legislative Assembly seats out of which PTI is expected to win two seat whereas PML (N) five and two by PP. Baltistan Division has nine Legislative Assembly Seats, PP is expected to get four seats whereas PTI will be grabbing two seats, PML (N) can get two seats whereas one Seat will be won by MWM.
After reviewing Division wise Party Position, we can see that no single party will be getting majority seat to form the government therefore a Mix Assembly will be formed after 15th Nov 2020 Elections.
(The Writer is an Economic & Political Analyst and Chairman International Economic Forum)

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