Pakistan-occupied Kashmir PoK goes for polls, India slams Pakistan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan   |  Photo Credits: AP, File Image
Islamabad : Polling for the assembly in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is underway on Sunday in which 3.2 million voters can exercise their franchise to elect 45 members. India had earlier opposed Pakistan’s decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying there was no legal right to act to change the status of the military-occupied territory.
There are a total of 53 members in the PoK Legislative Assembly but only 45 of them can be directly elected. Of these, five seats are reserved for women and three for science experts. A tough triangular contest is expected between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
45 candidates to be selected
PTI has fielded candidates for all 45 elected constituencies while PML-N and PPP have fielded candidates for 44 seats. The hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), which was banned by the Pakistan government in April for its violent activities, is contesting 40 seats.
The Pakistan Election Commission did not cancel the registration of the TLP after the ban, due to which it is also able to participate in the elections. 33 constituencies are located in PoK while 12 seats are for refugees settled in different cities of Pakistan. Apart from ticket holders of various political parties, a total of 261 independent candidates are also in the fray for 33 seats in PoK while 56 independents are contesting 12 refugee seats.
PML-N won the election in 2016
Traditionally, the ruling party of the country wins elections in PoK. The last election to the PoK assembly was held in July 2016 and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif won the election. According to a Gallup Pakistan election poll, 44 per cent people support Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party, while its nearest rival, the PML-N, has 12 per cent of voters.
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