AJK elections: PTI, PML-N, PPP, others vying for almost every seat

by Tauqeer Abbas
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Shafaqna Pakistan: Five important parties, as well as other political groups, have nominated candidates for almost all the 45 constituencies of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly (AJKLA) in the July 25 general elections.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has fielded its nominees for all the seats while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have put up candidates in 44 constituencies each.

The All J&K Muslim Conference and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have awarded tickets to their representatives on 42 and 40 constituencies respectively. The federal government proscribed the TLP in April this year under the Anti-Terrorism Act for its violent activities but has not got it de-registered by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The main contest is likely to take place among the cardholders of the major political parties. However, independents, given their influence in certain areas, are also likely to make it to the AJKLA.

Belying the claim of a federal minister that the PPP has only eight candidates in the race, the party has, in reality, fielded 44 contestants according to the record of the AJK election commission. All 44 candidates have been allotted the PPP’s election symbol.

The PTI also has candidates for all the 33 seats located in Azad Kashmir and the 12 seats for Kashmiri refugees settled in Pakistan. Similarly, the PMLN and PPP are vying for all the 33 AJK seats and 11 representatives each for the 12 refugee seats.

The TLP has also put up its candidates for all the 33 AJK seats while it has seven candidates for the refugee seats. The All J&K Muslim Conference has nominated 32 aspirants for the 33 AJK seats and ten for the 12 refugees’ seats.

The Jamat-e-Islami has sponsored 28 candidates; the J&K United Movement 16 nominees; the Jammu Kashmir People’s Party 17 cardholders; the JK Liberation League 12 contestants; Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 11 nominees; J&K Awami Tehreek 11 representatives and the Pakistan People’s Party (Shaheed Bhutto) 10 aspirants.

A total of 261 independent candidates are also in the race in the 33 AJK constituencies while 56 independents are vying for the 12 refugees’ seats. In some areas, they are expected to carry the day.

Since the constituencies do not have many voters as in Pakistan, there is a strong possibility that there would be small leads producing unexpected winners in some cases.

In most constituencies, more than a dozen contenders are trying their luck, which will also reduce the margin of victory or defeat.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the AJK Election Commission (AJKEC) told The News that they were fully geared up for the grand exercise.

He said that the AJKEC has ensured that the contenders observe the code of conduct. He said that the security arrangements have been made and no disturbances would be allowed on polling day.

The official said that the AJKEC would take all possible measures to promptly announce the results as they are received. He said that polling staff had been properly briefed and told not to tolerate any breach of the law or the code of conduct.

He said that the chief election commissioner and the AJKEC members would be on the move on polling day to personally inspect the arrangements in different constituencies.

Source: The News (Writer: Tariq Butt)

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