Islamabad: Polling began on Monday to elect 24 legislators in Pakistani Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly amid strict security arrangements.
India has slammed the elections terming it as an attempt by Pakistan “to camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the regions” and to deny its people their political rights.
About six million registered voters are expected to cast their ballot. Eight members – three technocrats and five women – will be indirectly elected. Nearly 467 candidates are in the fray, Geo News reported.
Election material was transferred under army supervision to polling stations in the seven participating districts of the region, the media report said.
Deployment of the troops was requested by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the civil administration.
Army officers have been given special magisterial powers to control the law and order situation.
The Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly was created through a presidential order in 2009 and the PPP won the subsequent election, completing a five-year term in office.
On December 13, 2014, an interim government was set up with a 12-member caretaker cabinet to conduct free and fair elections.
Many independent candidates are participating in the polls.