ISLAMABAD: Even as both the MQM and PPP appear to be moving towards reconciliation, elections for the two seats in the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly that represent the Kashmiri diaspora in Karachi have been postponed again.
The elections, which had been scheduled for July 20 after having been originally postponed from June 26, had been the single biggest apparent cause of the MQM’s decision to leave the PPP-led ruling coalition.
While the PPP had claimed that the postponement was for law and order reasons, the MQM claimed that the PPP had sought to enter into a ‘seat adjustment’ arrangement, whereby the MQM would not contest one of the two seats. The MQM had won both seats in the last AJK election in 2006.
“Under the present circumstances, if the Sindh government requested we might have to postpone elections on these two seats,” Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Manzoor Wattoo said on Friday.
However, officials at the Election Commission told The Express Tribune that the decision to postpone the election had been politically motivated. The sources, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the Election Commission had received the ballot papers and had made all of the arrangements. They claimed to be prepared even now to go ahead with a by-election, should the government give a go-ahead.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.
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