AJK Legislative Assembly elections held mostly in free, fair, peaceful manner

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Altaf Hamid Rao:

MIRPUR (AJK),   (Parliament Times) : Voters on went to the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections to elect their 45 representatives to the lower house of the AJK Parliament under the direct adult franchise basis, for stipulated next five years constitutional term – in mostly cordial and peaceful atmosphere amidst exceptional security arrangements to maintain complete peace and order during the polling process.

Our Special AJK Correspondent Altaf Hamid Rao reports from Mirpur that the overall polling process remained peaceful accept few of the untoward incidents of clashes among the supporters and activists of the rival political groups during polling outside the polling stations that reportedly led to injuring of dozens of the persons besides few of casualties due to the skirmishes, unconfirmed reports landing from the remote belt of AJK said.

Since the due polling process has ended by the stipulated 5.00 pm Sunday, the counting of votes has started at the polling stations under the supervision of the Presiding officers for onward submission of the unofficial results to the returning officers of the concerned electoral constituencies.

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, are exercising their right of vote to elect the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly.

Over 2.8 million voters are registered in 33 Azad Jammu Kashmir constituencies and 0.4 million in 12 Jammu Kashmir refugees based in various parts of Pakistan – who are moving to their respective polling stations in all 45 electoral constituencies.

The registered voters produce original computerized national identity card (CNIC) at the polling station at the time of exercising their right to vote.

Polling began at 8.00 in the morning which will continue till 5.00 p.m without any interval. Every computerized registered voter is bound 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 to win the election to 45 seats to be filled in under 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 agencies 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.

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

The security forces troops were 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 was the 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 polling was 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 elected on direct adult franchise basis on Sunday.

The stipulated Pak Army and Civil Armed forces troops besides the AJK police were deployed 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 set up control room to receive the elections results from all the concerned District Returning Officers soon after the polling.

The AJK administration had 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.