Live Updates: Azad Kashmir Elections Result 2016 Seat wise.MUZAFFARABAD: A total of 2.674 million Kashmiris will exercise their right to franchise on Thursday to elect members for the AJK Legislative Assembly, which will be the ninth since the parliamentary form of government was introduced in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in 1975.
the polling process is not restricted to this area. Instead, it stretches to entire Pakistan because members for 12 out of the 41 directly elected seats are elected by 438,884 voters living in various parts of the country.
Twenty-six political parties and 423 candidates are in the fray but the actual contest is between the nominees of the AJK chapters of three mainstream Pakistani political parties — Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
The PPP in AJK was launched by Z.A. Bhutto in 1973 and until December 2010 it faced Muslim Conference (MC) as its arch-opponent. But the situation changed in 2010 when Nawaz Sharif launched the PML-N in the region.
The 2011 polls were a neck-and-neck fight between the PPP and the PML-N though the MC was also in the field. As AJK rarely goes against the centre, the PPP secured smooth victory and formed its government. The PML-N also did well by winning 10 seats. The MC, which had ruled for a long time, was reduced to four seats.
However, since Imran Khan’s PTI made a foray into AJK’s political competition, the interest and activity has moved beyond AJK’s boundaries.
The PTI has entered into an alliance as well as seat adjustment with the MC — something needed by both — because while the MC leadership was looking for a way out to check defections from its ranks to other parties, such as the PML-N, the PTI also needed an ally as it lacked strong candidates in some constituencies in the southern districts.
Both parties have fielded joint candidates in 36 constituencies — 28 from the PTI and 8 from the MC. The remaining constituencies have been left open, as nominees of both parties were unwilling to pull out in each other’s favor.
One school of thought believes that the refugee seats in Pakistan affect the mandate given by AJK people because elections in those constituencies are rigged by the parties in power there.
They fear that since nine of these seats are located in Punjab, the provincial PML-N government can easily manoeuvre to win them for its nominees, the same way the Muttahida Qaumi Movement has been securing two seats in Karachi for its candidates since 2006.
However, given some strict steps taken by the election commission, these seats may not be a piece of cake in the July 21 polls, assert the officials.
The apparent wave in favour of the PML-N notwithstanding, pundits predict a split mandate. But like the politics itself, the voters are also unpredictable. They say politics is a game of possibilities and therefore whoever plays his cards smartly will emerge triumphant on July 21.