The voting for the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly constituency GBLA-13- Astore-1 began on Saturday morning.
The seat fell vacant after Gilgit-Baltistan’s former chief minister Khalid Khurshid was disqualified in a fake degree case.
At least 14 candidates, including nine independent candidates, are in the fray in the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly constituency, GBLA-13 Astore.
The main contestants include Khursheed Ahmed Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Rana Farman Ali of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Abdul Hameed Khan of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Similarly, Inayatullah Mir will try his luck in the election from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), while Attaullah will try his luck as a candidate of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan.
The total number of registered voters in the constituency is 33,378, of which 18,231 are male voters and 15,147 female voters. Tight security arrangements have been made for the purpose. At least 363 officials have been deployed to deal with any unwanted situation.
According to sources, a tough contest is expected between Rana Farman of the PML-N, Abdul Hameed of the PPP and Khurshid Ahmed Khan of the PTI.
PML-nominee Rana Farman Ali is a former provincial minister. Ali had contested as a candidate of PML-N in the last three general elections from the constituency, out of which he was defeated in the 2009 and 2020 elections, but he won with a large margin in the 2015 elections and was appointed Minister of Local Government.
The PPP has fielded Abdul Hameed, an old player of Gilgit Baltistan politics.