Altaf Hamid Rao.
MIRPUR (Parliament Times): All is set to hold the scheduled bye-election to vacant Mirpur (LA-3) seat of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly today (November 24 – Sunday) in a free, fair and transparent manner and in a peaceful atmosphere, AJK election commission sources said.
Polling will be held to fill in the aforesaid seat which had fallen vacant due to the disqualification of the AJK’s incumbent ruling (PML – N) party’s MLA and minister Chaudhry Muhammad Saeed by the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir in a contempt of court case on September 25 this year. Saeed had been elected in July 2016 elections to the AJK Legislative Assembly.
At least a dozen candidates are in the run in the scheduled November 24 bye- election.
Prominent among the contestants included PTI’s nominent Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, (former Prime Minister of AJK) and PML – N’s Ch. Sohaib Saeed (the son of former law-maker Ch. Muhammad Saeed). PPP (AJK unit) and Jamaat e Islami have not fielded their respective candidates in the elections. Most of rest of the candidates in the run included independents.
A total of 59494 registered voters including 32490 male and 27004 female voters in the constituency will go to the poll to use their right of franchise to elect their representative to the incumbent State Legislative Assembly for rest of its constitutional period ending in July 2021. 49 male, 47 female and 23 joint polling stations have been set up for this purpose. These poling stations included 63 comprising single booth (separately for male and female voters), 38 with double – male and female booths and 18 poling stations with joint double booth, AJK Election Commission sources told this Correspondent here Saturday.
Local authorities including police have made adequate arrangements to maintain peace and order to ensure holding of the polls in free, fair and peaceful atmosphere.
Senior Superintendent Police Mirpur Raja Irfan Salim told in an exclusive interview to this Correspondent here on Saturday that fool-proof arrangements have been made for maintaining law and order during the polling with the induction of a total of 2719 cops headed by 25 DSPs and 9 SPs in LA-3 Mirpur city constituency which has been divided into 8 zones comprising 20 sectors. Quick Response Police commando force aboard 34 QRF fast-moving vehicles will remain an high alert to deal with any eventuality primarily to maintain complete peace and tranquility during the polling to facilitate the voters to exercise their right of franchise in free, fair and transparent environment.
The SSP continued that a total of 119 poling stations have set up by the election commission. These included 50 high sensitive, 61 sensitive and 8 normal polling stations. Twenty police constables headed by a police inspector will be deputed at each highly sensitive polling station.
Irfan Salim continued that a Sub Inspector police with 18 cops will be deputed at each sensitive polling station. Whereas and ASI-led police contingent comprising 15 cops will be deputed at each normal ,polling station.
The district police chief said that DSPs and ASPs will perform as in-charge sector commander of 5 to 6 poling stations each to maintain peace and order during the polling. At the same time Additional DSPs would monitor and maintain the law and order in the areas of city, Thothal, New City and Ban Khurma localities. A toal of 34 well equipped / armed mobile squads of quick response force of the police commandos will remain at high alert to deal with any eventuality.
The SSP said that an election control room has been set up in his office to closely monitor and ensure the maintenance of peace and order during entire election process.
To a question, Irfan Salim said that since ensuring the holding of the election in peaceful and transparent environment was the basic responsibility of the police, the district police will leave no stone unturned to perform this responsibility in letter and spirit. “It is enjoined upon all candidates, voters and the supporters to strictly abide by the law being civilized and responsible citizens for ensuring complete peace and harmony during the election”, he suggested.
The AJK Election Commission sources continued that a code of conduct for the candidates and their supporters as well as voters has already been formulated to ensure the holding of the elections in absolutely, free, fair and transparent manner and in the peaceful way. The sources said that the candidates and their supporters as well as all other concerned persons shall have to strictly observe the code of ethics besides abiding by the rules and regulations before, on and after the polling day.
The sources declared that the visits of the AJK cabinet ministers, government advisors and members of the Legislative Assembly to the polling stations on the polling day have also been prohibited except those who tend to use their vote in the bye-polls in the constituency.
The entire ongoing phase of the bye-polls process is going absolutely peaceful because of the strict observance of the prohibitory orders and ban imposed by the Election Commission of Azad Jammu & Kashmir on using, displaying or keeping in possession the arms by the candidates and their supporters during the bye elections in the stipulated radios of the constitutency.
Meanwhile, the exemplary peace was being witnessed first ever in the electoral history of Azad Jammu Kashmir when the candidates and their supporters made the election campaign in absolutely peaceful manner – that had ended at 12 O clock Friday night of November 22 .