Caretaker Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Afzal Khan says all arrangements have been finalized to hold free, fair and transparent elections for Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly on 15th of next month.
In an exclusive interview with News and Current Affairs Channel of Radio Pakistan this evening, he said Gilgit-Baltistan government, in collaboration with the federal government, armed forces, and paramilitary troops, would ensure law and order during election.
He said Pakistan Army troops would be deployed at sensitive places for security purpose, but they would have no role in the polling process.
He said the government would not allow any political party or group to rig the election, and a peaceful environment would be provided to voters to exercise their vote in a free and fair manner.
He said the government has taken all political forces on board regarding election process and equal space is being ensured for all the political parties.
Gilgit-Baltistan Caretaker Chief Minister said, although second wave of Covid-19 is being witnessed in Gilgit-Baltistan, but hopefully, it would not affect the election process. He said the government has already issued Standard Operating Procedures and guidelines regarding Covid-19 during election.
Mir Afzal Khan urged all the stakeholders belonging to all walks of life to fully cooperate with the caretaker government in holding free, fair and transparent election.
He appreciated the role of government of Pakistan in highlighting the Kashmir issue at all international forums. Terming Kashmir as jugular vein of Pakistan, he said Modi-led fascist BJP regime cannot succeed in its attempts to suppress voice of Kashmiris through use of brute force.
To a question about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said the multi-billion dollars project would prove to be a game changer not only for Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan, but for the entire region. He said several economic zones are also to be set up in Gilgit-Baltistan to improve economy of the region and to provide more job opportunities to the locals. He said the roads constructed under CPEC would improve connectivity of Gilgit-Baltistan with the world. The caretaker chief minister said Pakistan and China are time-tested friends, and their relations would further be strengthened in the days to come.
Replying to another question about energy shortage, he said work is underway on various hydro power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan to overcome power shortage and it would help promote industrialization in the region.
To another question, he said tourism is a major source of local economy in Gilgit Baltistan, but it was badly hit due to Covid-19. He, however, said that efforts are afoot to revive this sector as early as possible with SoPs.
About promoting sports in Gilgit-Baltistan, Mir Afzal Khan said he held a meeting with President, Pakistan Olympic Association, Lt General, retired, Syed Arif Hasan during which POA President assured that the association will help promote Olympic Movement in the region.
The caretaker chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan also held a meeting with Director General, Radio Pakistan, Ambreen Jan, who briefed him about functioning of national broadcaster,
Mir Afzal Khan also visited the National News Room, Social Media, language desks, and Balti Shina Unit and interacted with the staff members.
Hosts: Aliya Qaiser, Naveed Satti
Analysts: Sadr ud din Sadar, Dr. Mujeeb Afzal
Guest in Studio: Caretaker CM Gilgit Baltistan DIG (Rtd) Mir Afzal Khan
Producers: Asad Ullah Khan, Tariq Mahmood Awan
Executive Producer: Muhammad Tariq Chaudahry