Over 3.02 million voters to go to polls to elect 53-seat AJK Legislature today – July 25;

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Altaf Hamid Rao:

All set to hold the polls in free, fair and transparent manner,

MIRPUR (AJK),   (Parliament Times) : All is set for holding general elections in Azad Jammu & Kashmir on Sunday – (today – July 25) in a free, fair, peaceful and transparent manner.

A total of 32,50,117 registered voters including 17, 8, 800 male and 14, 68, 317 female in all 33 electoral constituencies in all ten districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in all 12 constituencies meant for Pakistan-based Jammu & Kashmir refugees, would exercise their right of vote to elect the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly, for next five years constitutional term, AJK Election Commission sources told this Correspondent here on Saturday.

Over 2.8 million voters have been registered in 33 Azad Jammu Kashmir constituencies and 0.4 million in 12 Jammu Kashmir refugees based in various parts of Pakistan, the sources said adding that the registered voters shall have to produce original computerized national identity card at the polling station at the time of exercising the right to vote.

Polling will start at 8.00 in the morning and will continue till 5.00 p.m without any pause. The computerized registered voter shall have to produce his or her original computerized national identity card (CNIC) at the polling station at the time of exercising their right of franchise.

A total of 691 candidates including 381 belonging to a total of 32 registered political parties and a total of 310 independent candidates are in the run in to win the election to 45 seats to be filled in the direct adult-franchise basis.

The elections are being held under the supervision of AJK Judiciary, Pakistan army and Rangers with the coordination of the local civil law enforcement institutions including AJK police as well as the civil armed forces Punjab, KPK police and Frontier Constabulary to assist the local civil law enforcement authorities to ensure the holding of the polls in absolutely, free, fair, peaceful and transparent manner.

At least 43,500 personnel of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) police, above civil armed forces and the army will be deployed to maintain law and order during the election which is stated to be the biggest volume of the security forces troops dep0loyed in any AJK election to maintain peace and order in the electoral history of Azad Jammu Kashmir.

The security forces troops to be deployed to maintain peace and order during the polls including 5,300 AJK police cops. , 12,000 from Punjab police, 10,000 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police and 1,000 from Islamabad police, 400 Frontier Constabulary personnel and 3,200 Rangers personnel to be backed by at least seven thousands of Pakistan army troops.

Holding of the generation elections in free, fair and transparent manner is a constitutional and legal requirement and the State administrative machinery is required to assist the State election commission to this direction , under Article 50 of the AJK Constitution and section 5 of AJK Elections Act, 2020, the AJK Election Commission sources underlined.

The constitutional term of incumbent AJK Legislative assembly is being expired on 29th July, 2021. Under interim Act 1974, the interim constitution of AJK , it is mandatory to hold elections 60 days before the last date.

The polling will be held on direct adult-franchise basis on Sunday to 45 seats of the 53-member AJK Legislative Assembly including 33 meant for all 10 districts of AJK and 12 including six each meant for Pakistan-based refugees from Kashmir valley and Jammu region. Rest of eight reserved seats including five meant for women and one each for technocrats, ulema / Mashaikh and overseas Kashmiris will be filled in later on by the electoral college comprising above 45 members of the house to be elected on direct adult franchise basis on Sunday.

According to the final list released by the AJK Election Commission a total of 32,50,117 eligible registered voters would move to the total number of 5,123 polling stations, including 826 declared sensitive and 1,209 the most sensitive in all 45 constituencies including 33 in AJK and 12 of Pakistan-based Jammu & Kashmir to exercise their right of vote to elect their representatives for the AJK Legislative Assembly for next stipulated five year constitutional term, the AJK EC sources said.

The Polling staff has yet moved for their respective destinations – the places of duties at the polling stations set up across AJK and in the constituencies of refugees dwelling in all four provinces of Pakistan, Member of the AJK Election Commission Farhat Ali Mir told this Correspondent in a telephonic interview from Muzaffarabad on Saturday.

The stipulated Pak Army and Civil Armed forces troops besides the AJK police have reached in all 45 electoral constituencies of AJK legislative assembly to assist the civil administration for maintaining complete peaceful environment to ensure existence of complete law and order during holding of the polls in absolutely free, fair and impartial atmosphere.

The AJK Election Commission has set up control room to receive the elections results from all the concerned District Returning Officers soon after the polling.

Meanwhile, official sources told APP here Saturday that the civil administration including AJK police in all ten districts of AJK have made fool-proof arrangements to maintain peace and order during the elections in AJK.

The AJK administration has taken adequate measures to strengthen and improve the professional skills of the AJK police besides other law enforcing agencies to ensure maintaining complete law and order during the polls, the official sources underlined.