Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has alleged irregularities in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly elections, saying the results were manipulated to favour the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — leading on 12 seats as per the initial results.

In a tweet, the PPP chairperson announced to join a demonstration in the region against the “stealing of elections”.

“My election has been stolen. I will be joining the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in their protest shortly,” said the opposition leader in a tweet.

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The statement followed a series of tweets by PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who claimed the PTI was able to bag more seats because of alleged pre-poll rigging. She claimed the PTI has no support in GB and its electoral victories would be a result of alleged rigging done by “selectors”.

The PML-N candidates were forced to switch their loyalties and join the PTI, she said, adding despite the support of the state machinery, the party failed to gain a simple majority.

PTI AHEAD OF PPP, PML-N:

According to the initial results, the PTI and its allies are set to form a new government for the next five years in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region. Unofficial results showed the PTI and its allies were leading, clinching half [12] of the contested seats.

Official results are expected to be announced today as election authorities said they were facing difficulties in collecting results from several far-flung mountainous areas due to heavy snow and rain.

The PTI and its allies, according to the initial results, are in the lead with at least 12 of the 24 seats being contested in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.

At least four independent candidates projected to win are most likely to join the PTI to form the government.

The two other main contenders — the centre-left PPP and centre-right PML-N, which won the 2015 elections in the region — have cried foul, accusing the election authorities of “rigging”.

The chief election commissioner, however, denied the charge, advising the opposition parties to contact the commission if there are any irregularities.