Elections in POK are over with fraud and violence; two Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party (PTI) killed in violence at a polling station in Kotli district. Citing police, Dawn said the two men were shot dead by unidentified persons.
Five police constables are injured after Jamaat-e-Islami activists attacked them with batons at the Dhal Chakhya polling station of Jhelum valley district.
Voters in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir cast their votes on Sunday for the region’s Legislative Assembly. The opposition alleged that elections are full of irregularities and violence.
Region’s Chief Election Commissioner Abdul Rashid Sulehria condemned the killing in Kotli and said action would be taken against whoever is involved.
Voting in some polling booths of other constituencies is temporarily suspended due to violence. Several people are injured in clashes, the paper said.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted that complaints of polling agents being prevented from entering polling stations and closure of polling are increasing. She said that complaints filed complaints with the Election Commission on what she termed “irregularities” in various constituencies.
The gates of polling booths were closed at 5 pm. However, those inside the polling stations were allowed to cast their ballot. The polling started at 8 am and ended at 5 pm.
Some 20 lakh voters are registered in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for a new five-year Assembly. The Pakistani government and Army run the territory. PoK Assembly has 53 seats, including four added in 2019. This year 700 candidates are standing in the election.
Pakistanis call PoK ‘Azad Jammu & Kashmir’ (AJK) came into being after the 1949 ceasefire between India and Pakistan after the Kashmir war. During which Pakistani forces occupied the Jammu and Kashmir those territories.
Pakistan’s constitutional position on PoK is that it is not a part of the country but a liberated part of Kashmir. The constitution of Pakistan lists the country’s four provinces Punjab, Sind, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Article 1 of Pakistan’s constitution lists out Pakistan’s territories and has a provision for such states and territories to be included in Pakistan, whether by accession or otherwise.
Pakistan’s constitution Article 257 stated that the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan; the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined by the wishes of the people of that State.
For all practical purposes, PoK is run by the Pakistan government through the all-powerful Kashmir Council, a nominated 14-member body headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Pakistan government nominates six members, and eight are from the PoK Assembly and government, including the prime minister of “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”.
Seats and legislators
The first direct elections in the territory were held in 1970. “PoK” got its temporary constitution (pending a final settlement of the Kashmir issue) in 1974, the same year Pakistan got its first full-fledged constitution.
Forty-five of the 53 seats in the Assembly are for directly elected members, and 33 are from constituencies in “PoK”. At the same time, 12 are “refugee constituencies” in Pakistan’s four provinces, representing those who migrated from the Indian side to Pakistan in 1947.
The last elections in PoK were held in 2016 when the Pakistan Muslim League (N) led by Nawaz Sharif was in Islamabad. The PML(N) won a comfortable majority, and Raja Farooq Haider was elected prime minister of “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir” and Masood Khan, the president.