LAHORE: Polling will be held in Lahore on Thursday (today) for two Legislative Assembly of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir constituencies - LA-37 (Valley II) and LA-30 (Jammu). More than 8,500 voters are registered in the constituencies
Candidates fielded by three parties – the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz - are taking part in the elections. Several independents are contesting the polls. This is the first time the PTI is participating in elections in AJK.
Concerns have been raised regarding registration of voters by all political parties, with each accusing rivals of registering fake voters.
The LA-30 constituency is spread across six districts in the Punjab as well as in Sindh and Balochistan.
As many as 4,583 voters are registered in the constituency in Lahore - 2,704 men and 1,879 women.
Thirteen candidates are contesting from this constituency. As many as 19 polling stations have been set up in the constituency. Polling stations have been set up in Shahdrah, Misri Shah, Baghbanpura, Garhi Shahu, Chungi Amar Sidhu, Green Town and Model Town. As many as 130 people have been deputed as polling staff.
Six candidates are contesting the election in LA-37. Of the 3,935 voters registered in the constituency, there are 2,172 men and 1,763 women. As many as 10 polling stations have been established in the constituency. These are spread in across Delhi Gate, Shadbagh, Misri Shah, Islampura, Mochi Gate, Qila Lachman Singh and Gulberg. A total of 70 people have been assigned duties at the polling stations.
The recent wave of violence in Kashmir has also been used by the PTI and the PPP in their campaigns against the PML-N. Both parties have criticised the policy the ruling party over its stance on Kashmir.
The PTI and the PML-N have also traded accusations over registration of fake votes, especially in LA-37. The PPP has also expressed similar reservations.
Umer Sharif, a PPP candidate, and PTI’s Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan raised the issue.
Leaders of the PML-N rejected the accusations earlier this week with MNA Pervaiz Malik and Khawaja Imran Nazir saying the same concerns could be raised about Dewan.
Malik and Nazir have been spearheading the PML-N’s campaign in Lahore. The 2011 elections in Lahore for LA-37 were marred by clashes between the PPP and the PML-N workers. Pakistan Army has been deployed for security around the polling stations this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2016.
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