PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD/ AZAD KASHMIR/ KARACHI:
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single-largest party after clinching at least 25 out of 45 seats in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections, according to unofficial results on Monday.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) came in second with 11 seats while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) bagged six seats.
According to the unofficial results, the turnout was recorded at around 62pc. More than 700 candidates from 32 political and religious parties contested for the 45 general seats.
The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party and the (JKPP) and the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJK-MC) managed to bag one seat each according to the unofficial results.
Out of the eight reserved seats, five are for women and three seats, one each for religious scholars, technocrats, and overseas Kashmiris. The members for these seats are nominated after the elections.
Of the 45 general seats, 12 seats were reserved for Kashmiri refugees who had migrated from the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in 1947 and 1965 and settled in various parts of Pakistan.
Therefore, in the 10 districts of AJK, elections took place on 33 seats only.
According to reports, the polling process which began at 8am had to be stopped at several polling stations after activists belonging to rival parties got into violent brawls during election day.
1997: Zero Seats— PTI (@PTIofficial) July 25, 2021
2002: Only one seat
2008: Boycott of elections
2013: Govt in KP
2018: Wins the election and form the Govt.
2020: Govt in GB
2021: Govt in AJK
Alhamdulillah! #ہوگئی_انصاف_کی_جیت pic.twitter.com/9dwJO1KI6b
PTI beats PML-N in LA-1 Dadiyal election
Chaudhry Azhar Sadiq, the PTI's candidate from LA-1 Dadiyal, emerged victorious in today’s election by securing 14,233 votes.
Chaudhry Masood Khalid of PML-N came second by bagging 7,609 votes.
Former AJK PM Sardar Attique wins LA-14 Bagh (West)
Former prime minister AJK and President All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan won the elections on LA-14 Bagh (West) with 29,561 votes.
PTI candidate Major Latif Khaliq came second with 13,429 votes.
PTI wins LA-34 Jammu-1 election
PTI candidate Riaz Ahmed emerged victorious in the LA-34 Jammu-1 election after bagging 4,320 votes.
PML-N's Nasir Dar secured 3,545 votes and got the second spot.
PTI wins LA-36 Jammu-3 seat
PTI candidate Hafiz Hamid Raza emerged victorious with 22,096 votes during the LA-36 Jammu-3 elections.
His rival PML's Mohammad Ishaq got 20,467 votes and secured the second spot.
PPP's Chaudhry Shaukat Ali managed only 2,609 votes and took the third position.
PTI wins LA-43 Valley-4
Ruling PTI also won LA-43 Valley-4 as its candidate Javed Butt managed to secure 782 votes. According to unofficial results, PML-N's Nasima Khatoon bagged second position with 720 votes.
PTI emerges victorious in LA-34 Jammu
In LA-34 Jammu constituency, PTI candidate Chaudhry Riaz Hussain continued the winning streak of the ruling party by securing 206 votes.
His rival PML-N candidate Nasir Hussain Dar could only manage 145 votes and got the second position.
PTI bags LA-42 constituency
Mohammad Asim Sharif, PTI candidate from LA-42, bagged 1,254 votes and won the seat.
As per unofficial results, PML-N's Shaukat Shah stood second with 1,205 votes.
PTI wins LA-40 Valley-2 seat
PTI's Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan emerged victorious after bagging 2,326 votes from LA-40 Valley-2.
According to unofficial results, PML-N candidate Ikram Butt could only secure 741 votes at second position.
PPP bags LA-40 Valley-1 in AJK polls
Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) candidate Amir Abdul Ghaffar Lone has won from LA-40 Valley-1, securing 2,165 votes.
According to unofficial results, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Saleem Butt could only manage the second position after getting 875 votes.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate got third position with 442 votes.
The constituency included 20 Sindh and four Balochistan districts.
PPP candidate Amir Ghaffar Lone has won LA 40 comfortably. Jiay Bhutto#KashmirMainTeerChalega— Senator Saeed Ghani (@SaeedGhani1) July 25, 2021
Two die in violence-marred polls
According to Express News, at least two activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were reported to have been killed in clashes between political workers.
A verbal clash reportedly broke out between the workers of PTI and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at the polling station of Kotli’s LA-12 constituency.
During the brawl, one of the workers opened fire that resulted in the death of two activists. The clashes were reported to have taken place at polling stations of the region.
An incident of firing in Hari Ghel area during AJK election captured on film. VIDEO: EXPRESS/Khalid Mehmood
The workers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PPP also came face-to-face at the Jaskol polling station of Hatiyan Bala. Activists of one of the political parties attempted to shut down the polling process.
The election was also stopped for a brief period on Sunday after a clash erupted at the Kopar Agli polling station, LA-27 constituency. Similarly, polling was also halted at the polling station in the LA-45 constituency set up for the AJK legislative assembly following some unrest.
The police subsequently arrested two workers of the PTI and six other workers of an independent candidate; polling resumed after peace was restored at the polling station.
Federal parliamentary secretary, Rashid Shafiq, casts his vote in the Faiz Islam School polling centre. PHOTO: EXPRESS
Four soldiers martyred as military vehicle falls into ravine
Meanwhile, at least four soldiers embraced martyrdom when an army quick response team (QRF) vehicle, patrolling in order to maintain law and order during Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections, toppled while taking a steep turn in Laswa area and fell into a ravine, according to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The military's media wing said that three other soldiers and a civil driver sustained injuries in the unfortunate incident.
The statement further said that the injured have been evacuated to a nearby medical facility for necessary medical care.
PTI claims victory in Pind Dadan Khan, Khewra
Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain claimed that the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had emerged victorious from Tehseel Pind Dadan Khan and Khewra during the AJK elections.
"The turnout in the elections suggests that the common man has taken a keen interest in it and has expressed full confidence in the electoral process," Fawad wrote on his official Twitter handle.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan's government in AJK will give strength to the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
المدللہ تحصیل پنڈدادنخان اور کھیوڑہ سے PTI کامیاب ہو گئ ہے کشمیر کے انتخابات میں پولنگ کی شرح سے لگتا ہےعام آدمی نے ان انتخابات میں بھرپور دلچسپی لی ہے اور انتخابی عمل پر بھرپور اعتماد کا اظہار کیا ہے انشاللہ کشمیر میں عمران خان کی حکومت مقبوضہ کشمیر کے عوام کیلئے باعث تقویت ہوگی— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) July 25, 2021
Govt interfering in electoral process: Opp
Soon after the news of clashes broke out, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz spokesperson Marriyum Aurganzeb took to Twitter to express reservations against the 'transparency' of the polling process.
The PML-N leader stated that, "Transparency and impartiality becoming increasingly questionable in the AJK elections. Stopping our polling agents from entering the polling stations a violation of election laws."
She further condemned the "transportation of polling materials in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's vehicles", as well as incidents of firing and interruption in the polling process.
پی ٹی آئی کی گاڑیوں میں پولنگ سامان لانے، فائرنگ اور مداخلت کے قابل مذمت واقعات کی بڑھتی تعداد انتہائی تشویشناک اور شفاف الیکشن کے تقاضوں کے منافی ہے۔ pic.twitter.com/G5QomoN3ho— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) July 25, 2021
Meanwhile, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf accused the federal government of turning the AJK election into a "violent one".
Addressing the media at the Pakistan Peoples Secretariat on Sunday afternoon, he accused the government of “using every tactic up its sleeve to disturb the electoral process”. Farhatullah Babar and other senior leaders of the PPP also accompanied him during the presser.
Ashraf claimed that an assassination attempt was made on PPP’s Chaudhry Yasin after his car was fired upon.
The former prime minister also accused some officers of the AJK administration of interfering in the electoral process. “The administration is attempting to help the PTI candidates in emerging victorious,” he stated, adding that he had contacted the chief secretary and IG AJK over the phone.
“The PPP’s electoral camps set up in Rawalpindi were uprooted,” the former premier complained. Continuing to rain down on the federal government, he accused the AJK administration of using the PTI’s vehicles.
“The candidates of PPP were beaten up in Rawalpindi and Jhang,” he said, adding that the people of AJK have now seen the "true face" of the PTI.
Ashraf termed the transparency and independence in AJK elections as being integral to the success of the larger Kashmir cause. “The government is playing with fire in AJK,” he remarked.
He further accused the PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan and Kamran Bangash of pressurising the polling staff in Peshawar, while accusing the deputy speaker National Assembly of making visits to Quetta’s polling stations.
He urged the chief election commissioner to immediately launch a probe into the complaints being received, adding that the PPP was submitting written complaints with the chief election commissioner regarding the electoral violation it witnessed.
“Ensuring fair and transparent elections in AJK is the Election Commission’s responsibility,” Ashraf concluded.
Also taking to Twitter, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry had stated that elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir strengthened the aspirations of the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
"One day, people in all of Kashmir will be able to express their right to vote with such freedom and form a government based on their representatives," the minister stated.
Fawad added that, "Today's election will, hopefully, be a testament of [Prime Minister] Imran Khan's new Kashmir."
آزاد کشمیر میں انتخابات مقبوضہ کشمیر کے لوگوں کے خوابوں کو جلاء بخشتے ہیں، ایک دن پورے کشمیر کے لوگ اسی آزادی سے اپنی رائے کا اظہار کریں گے اور اپنے نمائندوں پر مشتمل حکومت بنائیں گے ، ،،،، آج کا انتخاب عمران خان کے نئے کشمیر کے نام انشاللہ #AJKElections2021 #AJKElectsPTI— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) July 25, 2021
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar was also hopeful of his party now forming a government in AJK.
In a tweet, the federal minister mentioned the years and kinds of governments the PTI successively formed in Pakistan since 2018, stating that 2021 was the year of it forming a government in AJK.
25 جولائی 2018 وفاق، پنجاب، خیبر پختون خواہ. 2020 گلگت بلتستان. انشاءاللہ 25 جولائی 2021 آزاد کشمیر. روک سکو تو روک لو، تبدیلی آئی رے.....#بلے_پہ_ٹھپہ— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) July 25, 2021
Satisfied with the electoral process: CEC
Speaking to the media in Mirpur’s LA-3 constituency on Sunday, Chief Election Commissioner Abdul Rashid Sulehria said he was “satisfied” with the electoral process. The commissioner had toured the Kotli district of Mirpur among other areas.
“People should come out and go to polling stations”, Sulehria said, adding that he hoped the voter turnout from Azad Kashmir would be at least 56 per cent.
He underlined that several violations of the Electoral Code of Conduct were committed, which were subsequently being dealt with in accordance with the law.
According to the commissioner, political parties and candidates have lodged several complaints. He clarified that voting would continue, uninterrupted, till 5 pm, after which no extra time will be given to any polling station.
Sulehria further stated that unpleasant incidents were common occurrences during elections.
The election scenario
The heated canvassing in the closely watched AJK election campaign wrapped up on Friday.
Deemed as the consequential moment for the state, the polling is taking place amid ramped-up security.
More than 700 candidates from 32 political and religious parties are contesting for the 45 general seats.
Out of the rest eight reserved seats, five are for women and three seats, one each for religious scholars, technocrats, and overseas Kashmiris. The members for these seats are nominated after the elections.
Of the 45 general seats, 12 seats are reserved for Kashmiri refugees who had migrated from the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in 1947 and 1965 and are settled in various parts of Pakistan.
Therefore, in the 10 districts of AJK, elections will take place on 33 seats only.
In view of the apprehensions expressed by political parties, the polling process is taking place amid strict security measures.
Nearly 40,000 security personnel have been entrusted with the task to guard 5,123 polling stations, of which 1,209 have been declared “sensitive” while 826 stations “most sensitive”.
Accordingly, the AJK government has also granted magisterial powers to 250 officers apart from regular magistrates and presiding officers in a bid to maintain law and order during the polling day.
All major political parties are contesting. However, the fight is triangular as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are the strongest parties followed by All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJKMC) and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party (JKP).
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