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Pakistan deploys army in Gilgit-Baltistan ahead of polls

Islamabad, June 6 (IANS) Despite New Delhi’s objections to elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad on Saturday deployed the army in the region for maintenance of peace and security during the polls.

The elections for the Gilgit-Baltistan assembly are scheduled to be held on June 8 and the administration fears a law and order problem at polling stations in the region, Dawn reported.

Earlier, New Delhi termed the elections as Islamabad’s “attempt to camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the region”.

In May, the Gilgit-Baltistan administration approached the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), recommending military deployment at polling stations in the region’s Gilgit and Diamer districts.

“Army troops have been requisitioned by the ECP and the civil administration,” a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The statement added that troops have been deployed across the region with the mandate of maintaining law and order during the elections.

The upcoming elections are also fraught with concerns relating to pre-poll rigging. Allegations are being levelled against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) by a number of political parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), a new entrant in the elections.

In fact, the PTI had also demanded that the legislative assembly elections be held under the army’s supervision to check possible rigging.

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