Sunday Jul 25, 2021
MIRPUR: Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) is all set to go to the polls today (July 25) and all preparations have been duly completed for the big day.
According to The News, a total of 32,50,117 registered voters, including 17,8,800 male and 14,68,317 female, in all 33 electoral constituencies in the ten districts of AJK, will cast their votes. All 12 constituencies, meant for Pakistan-based Jammu & Kashmir refugees, would exercise their right of vote to elect the AJK Legislative Assembly for the next five-year constitutional term.
Over 2.8 million voters have been registered in 33 AJK constituencies and 0.4 million in 12 Jammu Kashmir refugees based in various parts of Pakistan. The registered voters shall have to produce their original computerised national identity cards (CNIC) at the polling station at the time of voting. Polling began at 8am and will continue till 5pm without any pause.
The computerised registered voter shall have to produce his or her original computerised 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.
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.
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 a free, fair and transparent manner is a constitutional and legal requirement and the State administrative machinery is required to assist the State election commission in this direction, under Article 50 of the AJK Constitution and section 5 of AJK Elections Act, 2020. The constitutional term of the incumbent AJK Legislative Assembly will expire on 29th July 2021. Under the interim Act 1974, the interim constitution of AJK, it is mandatory to hold elections 60 days before the last date.
The polling is being held on a direct adult-franchise basis 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.
The rest of the 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.
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.
The stipulated Pak Army and Civil Armed forces troops besides the AJK police have reached all 45 electoral constituencies of the AJK legislative assembly to assist the civil administration in maintaining a completely peaceful environment to ensure the existence of complete law and order during the holding of the polls in an absolutely free, fair and impartial atmosphere.
The AJK Election Commission has set up a control room to receive the results of the election from all the concerned District Returning Officers (DROs) soon after the polling.
Meanwhile, official sources said on Saturday that the civil administration including AJK police in all ten districts of AJK has 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.