Gilgit-Baltistan [PoK], November 15 (ANI): Amid the legal concerns and a massive protest surrounding the ''provisional provincial status'' of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Legislative Assembly elections began here on Sunday.
A total of 745,361 voters will be voting for 23 constituencies. There are 1,141 polling stations, out of which 577 are sensitive and 297 highly sensitive, reported Dawn.
The region's administration said around 15,900 law enforcement personnel have been deployed for security, reported Geo News.
Security personnel from Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, KPK, Sind, and Balochistan have been sent across Gilgit-Baltistan.
As many as 330 candidates from 23 constituencies are in the fray.
The process of polling began at 8.00 am and will continue without any interval till 5 pm, reported ARY News.
According to Geo News, surveys by Gallup and Pulse Consultant revealed that a close contest is set to take place between Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's Pakistan Peoples' Party, while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in the third position.
Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen are also among the parties contesting the Gilgit-Baltistan polls.
Meanwhile, around 30 per cent of the voters believe elections will be transparent and free of rigging.
Unemployment, construction of roads, electricity and water supply among others are the main issues of this election.
The Imran Khan government had earlier announced granting provisional province status to the region, which was not received well by most of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who had protested against Islamabad's decision of integrating the illegally occupied region with the rest of Pakistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan, formally known as the Federally Administered Northern Areas, is an autonomous region with separate governance and electoral framework. (ANI)