Fawad asks Bilawal, Maryam to step down after ‘historic defeat’ in AJK polls

Information minister says high turnout in Sunday's poll suggests that people have confidence in electoral system


News Desk July 26, 2021
Fawad (left), Maryam and Bilawal. PHOTOS: FILE

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has urged top PPP and PML-N leaders to resign from their posts after “historic defeat” in the Sunday’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections.

“High turnout of above 52% suggests that people have confidence in the electoral process and system of the country,” Fawad said while addressing a press conference with Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Ali Ameen Gandapur in Islamabad on Monday.

Fawad said both PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz should accept the responsibility of their parties' defeat in the poll and step down from their posts.

“They both should resign from their posts voluntarily if they have any ‘political shame’ and give chance to new political leadership to emerge within the party,” the minister said.

He also said instead of hiding behind the narrative of rigging, both the leaders should stand aside from their party positions.

“I want to congratulate the people of AJK that by giving huge mandate to the PTI they have strengthened the freedom movement of people in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK),” he added.

Also read: India upset over 'victory' of PM Imran’s party in AJK elections: Fawad

Fawad said former premier Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib in London ahead of the AJK elections further damaged the party’s position in the region.

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 the unofficial results.

The PPP came in second with 11 seats while the PML-N bagged six seats.

According to the unofficial results, the turnout was recorded at around 62 per cent. More than 700 candidates from 32 political and religious parties contested for the 45 general seats.

The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Party (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 IIOJK in 1947 and 1965 and settled in various parts of Pakistan.

Therefore, in the 10 districts of AJK, the elections took place on 33 seats only.

Earlier, Premier Imran has thanked the people of AJK for voting for his party in Sunday’s poll which helped the ruling PTI clinch at least 25 seats.

“I want to thank the ppl [people] of AJK for placing their trust in PTI through their votes which resulted in PTI's electoral victory,” the premier said in a tweet from his official handle on Monday.

PM Imran expressed resolve that his party will focus on bringing the people of AJK out of poverty through his government’s flagship programmes — ‘Ehsaas and Kamayab Naujawan Programme’.

He also pledged that he will establish accountability and transparency in the regional government.

“I want to congratulate all our successful candidates. As ambassador for Kashmir I will continue to raise my voice on all international forums including UN to ensure the international community fulfils its commitment of self-determination to the Kashmiri people through an UN-sponsored plebiscite,” he said in a follow-up tweet.

 

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