High turnout marks AJK polls
2 Killed In Violence; MQM Boycotts; JKLF Stages Protests
NISAR AHMED THOKAR
Muzaffarabad, June 26: The general elections were held in the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) on Sunday amid tight security arrangements.
Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deployed on the polling booths to maintain law and order.
Out of 41 seats, the elections to 37 seats of the Legislative Assembly were held while as the Election Commission had postponed polling for three seats (LA-30 Karachi Jammu-1, LA-36 Karachi Kashmir Valley-1 and LA-41 Abbotabad), citing security reasons.
Officials said the polling has been largely peaceful. However there were reports of sporadic violence and frequent disruptions in the polling process in some constituencies in AJK and Punjab.
At least two persons were killed and dozens injured in Bhimber and Muzaffarabad.
In Bhimber a PML-N worker was killed allegedly during clashes with the PPP workers whereas another person was killed at Niazpora polling station in Muzaffarabad.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Advocate Aquab Hashmi said the polling in the region has been relatively peaceful. “But there were rumors of shoot-out in the outskirts of border town, Nakial,” he said.
On voter turnout, Hashmi said it has been quite encouraging. “But the condition of showing identity cards could affect the turnout, particularly in rural areas. Polling has ended and the counting process is underway. The EC would formally announce the results after completing this process,” he said.
Due to the scuffle at various polling stations, election was postponed in constituency LA-37 valley-II Lahore.
Athar Masood Wani, a spokesperson of Pakistan Muslim League-N at AJK blamed the PPP workers for creating mess. “As a result the elections were postponed,” he said. The PPP however accused the PML-N of poll-rigging in Punjab.
Commenting on the electoral process, noted journalist Sardar Aashiq Hussain said the turnout would be quite high this time as the two largest political parties (PPP and PML-N) were contesting the polls in PaK.
Pertinently, the MQM boycotted the general elections after the Election Commissioner postponed elections to two Legislative Assembly seats of Karachi, reserved for Kashmiri migrants. The former deputy speaker of PaK LA and the MQM leader, Muhammad Saleem Bhat said that the PPP government had deliberately set-up polling stations in Karachi areas where MQM workers and voters had reservations. “The law and order was used as a pretext to put off the polls,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front workers staged a protest demonstration in front of Islamabad Press Club against the elections.
Addressing the protesters, the Front leaders termed the polls as a “sham process devoid of the essence of democratic discipline.”
They said “there is an undemocratic system in place where there is no room for the people who support and subscribe to the independent Kashmir ideology.”
“The legislative body being established under the given circumstances can’t represent Kashmiris’ aspirations,” they said, adding, “The people of the region want abolishment of the interim Act of 1974 and revocation of Karachi Agreement.”
The protesters alleged that the people were fed-up with the system and want to set-up a governing body by consolidating Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK into one unit.
The JKLF activists also held protest rally in Kotli and Dirkot (AJK).
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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