Gulf Today

ECP gears up for AJK assembly polls on Sunday

- Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: The constituen­cies for Kashmiri refugees, who will elect 12 members of the Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislativ­e Assembly (AJKLA) on July 25, are scatered far and wide across Pakistan.

No election has such geographic­ally scatered constituen­cies. One constituen­cy is spread over all the four provinces while another two are scatered in two different federating units.

Some other constituen­cies are located in a large number of districts of Pakistan, oten far away from each other.

Any political party winning all or a majority of the 12 seats of the refugees setled in Pakistan is going to be in a comfortabl­e position to clinch the slot of the AJK prime minister.

It will require just 23 of the 45 directly contested seats of the AJKLA to secure a simple majority.

Since the entire polling staff, including the district returning officers (DROS) and ROS for the refugees’ seats belong to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), it is the ECP’S responsibi­lity to ensure that the electoral exercise is fair, free and transparen­t. ECP personnel working in the provincial headquarte­rs and districts have been deputed to supervise the election for the refugees’ seats according to previous practice.

Past results of elections to the refugees’ seats in Pakistan had favoured parties that had been in power in the provinces. The Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Narowal districts have the largest concentrat­ion of the refugee voters as four seats will be contested in these areas.

LA-XXXIV Jammu-1 is the largest constitenc­y area-wise as the voters are scatered over Punjab, Sindh and Balochista­n. Polling for this seat will be held in 48 districts. Likewise, the Kashmiri refugees living in 28 districts of Punjab will cast their votes for LA-XLII Kashmir Valley-iii.

They include Bahawalpur, Bahawalnag­ar, Sahiwal, Pakpatan, Okara, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Rahimyar Khan, Multan, Vehari, Khushab, Rajanpur, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Khanewal, Muzaffarga­rh, Mianwali, Mandi Bahuddin, Sialkot, Narowal, Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot, Toba Tek Singh, Jhelum and Chakwal.

The LA-XXXIX Jammu-vi seat will be elected by voters from 23 districts in two provinces including Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Atock, Jhelum, Chakwal, Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Kohat, Buner, Charsadda, Karak, Kohistan, Mohmand, Abbotabad, Haripur, Mansehra, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Swat, Swabi, Upper Dir and Chitral.

Twenty-one districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhw­a (KP) will vote for the LA-XLV Kashmir Valley-vi seat. They are Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Abbotabad, Haripur, Mansehra, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, South Waziristan, Swat, Batgram, Buner, Tank, Charsadda, Chitral, Shangla, Swabi, Kohat, Kohistan, Lakki Marwat, Lower Dir and Mohmand.

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