The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is set to form the next government in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) as unofficial results of general elections for 41 direct seats of the PaK Legislative Assembly on Thursday suggested a landslide victory for the party.
In a sharp contrast to the earlier speculation about a split mandate, the PML-N almost wiped out its major rivals — the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — in most of the districts.
Among the party presidents, Raja Farooq Haider of the PML-N, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan of the Muslim Conference (MC) and Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party (JKPP) managed to secure their seats. PTI president Barrister Sultan Mahmood was said to be losing at the hands of PML-N candidate Chaudhry Mohammad Saeed, while PPP president Chaudhry Abdul Majeed had a small lead over his rival.
Barrister Mahmood's brother-in-law, Chaudhry Arshad, also lost his seat to a PML-N candidate, according to unofficial reports.
Rivals PPP and PTI wiped out in most districts in elections
In Bhimber district, PML-N senior vice-president Chaudhry Tariq Farooq and the party nominee Col Waqar Noor had won from Bhimber city and Barnala, respectively. There was, however, a neck-and-neck fight between independent candidate Ali Shan Soni and PTI's Chaudhry Razzaq in Samahni.
Of the 10 seats in Poonch division, nine were bagged by the PML-N and its ally JKPP.
In Kotli district, the PML-N was leading in three of the five constituencies.
Of the seven seats in Muzaffarabad division, unofficial results from five suggested victory for the PML-N, while results from the remaining two were awaited till late night.
Of the 12 constituencies of Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan, nine were reportedly clinched by the PML-N, two by the PTI and one by the PPP.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which had been winning both seats in Sindh, also suffered a setback.