Tue, Jun 27, 2017 | updated 11:03 PM IST

Army managed PoK assembly elections expected on July 21

Updated: Jul 19, 2016 18:30 IST      
Army managed PoK assembly elections expected on July 21

By Surinder Kumar Sharma

New Delhi, July 19 (ANI): Even as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is locked in a one-upmanship race with the Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif on cornering India over violence in the Srinagar valley, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is getting ready for army - supervised assembly elections under the shadow of violence and arson. The field is open only to parties that have accepted accession of PoK with Pakistan

More than 17,000 army personnel and 15,200 paramilitary personal are already on "election" duty, prompting Pakistan People's Party to cry foul. In fact, the PPP has already hit the streets saying that the Sharifs are rigging the one day- ballot on July 21.

Elections in PoK are generally a mere formality with the King's party in the saddle in Islamabad securing the mandate.

Pakistan Muslim League -N (PML-N) is the front runner this time around though Rawalpindi's Team B (Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, PTI) is giving both PML-N and PTI a run for their money.

Repeated clashes between PML-N and PPP have claimed several lives. Minister for Electricity Faisal Mumtaz Rathore was attacked during a campaign meeting. And at an Eid Milan party, activists of both parties opened indiscriminate fire, and indulged in acts of arson. Scores of people including a former minister were injured.

As many as 427 candidates are in the race for the 41-elected seats in the 49-member PoK assembly, which has very limited powers. Of them, 328 are contesting in the 29 constituencies in PoK and 99 will be competing for 12 Kashmiri refugee constituencies spread across Pakistan. An estimated 21.81 lakh voters will decide their political fortunes.

While the PPP is going alone, the PML-N has entered into an alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jammu Kashmir People's Party (JKPP). The Sharifs party tried to woo the Muslim conference (MC) chief, Sardar Attique but without success. The big brother wanted the Sardar to vacate his party' strong holds for PML-N. This was not acceptable to the MC supremo, and he closed ranks with Imran Khan's party. The new combine has fielded joint candidates for seven seats.


In a bizarre display of politics without principles, the Jamaat has struck a deal with the Muslim Conference for one seat. With N-support, it is trying its luck in two seats. In all, the JI has eight candidates in the fray.

The pro independence parties, the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) have refused to sign the condition of accession of PoK with Pakistan. And have not fielded any candidate.

Kashmir National Party (KNP) headed by London -based Dr. Shabir Chaudhary has put up one candidate, Mir Afzal Suleria from Muzaffarabad.

The KNP has a two-point manifesto. One: AJK should get 70% profit out of major projects launched by Pakistan in its territory. Two: 12 seats of Pakistan based refugees should be abolished.

Many local stalwarts are vying to enter the PoK assembly. Prominent amongst them are PoK Prime Minister Abdul Majid, PoK PTI President, Sultan Mahmud Chaudhary, who is also a former PoK premier, and PoK PML-N President Raja Farook Haider.

PPP is seeking a fresh mandate based on its 'stellar' performance. "The outgoing Mehdi Shah Governmentopened three medical colleges while its predecessor had failed to set up even one medical college", the party manifesto says.

But the PPP's Achilles heel is its poor governance record, sayspolitical analyst, ErshadMahmud,who blames PPP's central leadership for the poor show by PoK unit. "PPP government in PoK was not given a free hand by the central party leadership to run the local affairs", he remarks.

PPP dissidents have generally migrated to PTI giving it a leg-up. At least three cabinet ministers joined the PTI along with their supporters after elections were announced. No doubt, PPP is in trouble following this setback, its chairman Bilawal Bhutto had an extensive tour of PoK districts and addressed huge rallies. In these rallies, he accused that Nawaz Sharif is "jeopardizing the issue of Kashmir by building his associations with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi" and pledged that he would take back the entire Kashmir from India.

PTI its manifesto has vowed to make PoK self-reliant in all respects. Women empowerment is its talking point though it has not fielded a single woman candidate. Special attention to education, health and industry are the other electoral planks of PTI.

The PML- N has pledged the "revival of self-rule in Azad Jammu and Kashmir" if voted to power. It promised a "responsible, authoritative and dignified" government. It has vowed to facilitate intra-Kashmir trade and travel, "as a continuation 1999 Lahore declaration". And has committed to spend an additional Rs 50 billion on roads and other infrastructure.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) of London- based Muhajir leader Altaf Hussain is once again trying its luck in two constituencies in Karachi which are reserved for Kashmiri refugees. The party had won these seats in the 2006 and 2011 elections but observers say the wind is no longer favourable to the MQM as the party is at the receiving end of the para-military force, Rangers, which has been asked to 'clean up' Karachi.

PML-N has already established its vote bank in PoK. It has an edge in nine Kashmiri refugee constituencies located in Punjab, ruled by prime minister's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, according to political Maqsood Muntazar. Moreover, PML-N is on a strong wicket as it has allied with JI and JKPP.

Party-wise position in the outgoing assembly: PPP -29; PML (N) - 11, MC- 5,MQM-2, JKPNP -1 and PTI- 1. Eight seats in the 49-member assembly are filled through nomination; five of these seats are reserved for women while one seat each is earmarked for religious scholars, professionals and for Kashmiris settled abroad.

The views expressed in the above article are that of Mr.Surinder Kumar Sharma who is associated with the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (ANI)

Faraskhana blast case: Maha ATS says all five accused dead

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 22:34 IST     

Pune (Maharsahtra) [India], June 27 (ANI): The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Tuesday filed a final report in connection of Faraskhana blast case to Additional session judge in Pune.

Full Story >>

NCERT books informative but less activity oriented: Sisodia

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 21:24 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said the National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) textbooks focus heavily on information and are less activity oriented, and thus require a lot of revision over its content.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): NITI Aayog's vice chairman Arvind Panagariya on Tuesday asserted that large proportion of traders have already registered in Goods and Service Tax (GST) and appealed for optimism.

Full Story >>

Murder case registered in Byculla Jail inmate death

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 21:19 IST     

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] June 27 (ANI): Mumbai police has registered a murder case in connection with the death of a woman inmate in Byculla Jail.

Full Story >>

Meira Kumar responds to Sushma Swaraj's allegations

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 20:00 IST     

New Delhi [India] June 27 (ANI): Opposition's Presidential candidate Meira Kumar on Tuesday stated that the charge of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj about her functioning as Lok Sabha Speaker is completely wrong.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh-based spiritual guru Sri M has requested the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a dialogue with all stake holders, including separatists and Pakistan to end the violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

Full Story >>

Rajnath chairs security review meeting on Amarnath Yatra

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 19:29 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday chaired a security review meeting in the wake of the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra here, which will commence from June 29.

Full Story >>

Indore (Madhya Pradesh) [India], June 27 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance in the deaths of 11 patients, including two children at Maharaja Yashwantrao (MY) Hospital here, after the oxygen supply mysteriously snapped for around 15 minutes on June 21st.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Condemning the brutal lynching of Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mohammed Ayub Pandith by a mob, Human Rights Activist Shabnam Hashmi returned her award National Minority Rights Award saying the spreading 'Talibanisation' in society is a matter of concern.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Condemning the recent Delhi Golf Club incident where a Khasi governess was allegedly denied entry, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Tuesday said he will write to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) urging to take e cognisance of the incident and direct the Delhi Police to register a Suo Moto case.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 27 (ANI): After a police party was attacked in Muzaffarnagar by locals when they were conducting a raid based on information of cow slaughter, Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order Aditya Mishra on Tuesday stated that action will be taken against the names registered in this case.

Full Story >>

Yogi Government a 'curse' for the UP society: Samajwadi Party

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 17:59 IST     

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 27 (ANI): With Yogi Adityanath completing 100 days in office as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, the Samajwadi Party on Tuesday branded the Yogi Government as a curse for the society.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], June 27 (ANI): The prosecution on Tuesday argued that convict Feroz Khan should be given the death penalty for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Expressing disappointment on the recent Delhi Golf Club controversy where a Khasi governess was allegedly denied entry, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said it is a clear case of racial discrimination and added that appropriate action will be taken in the matter.

Full Story >>

Mayawati rains on Yogi's '100 days in UP Govt.' parade

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 17:27 IST     

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 27 (ANI): Downplaying the celebrations by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on completing 100 days of state government, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Tuesday asserted that the former hasn't been able to achieve much in 100 days especially in areas concerning crime.

Full Story >>

UP: Mother-daughter abducted, gang raped

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 16:46 IST     

Sambhal (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 27 (ANI): A woman and her daughter were abducted from the Bareilly Railway Station and gang raped in Uttar Pradesh's Ginnaur area.

Full Story >>

JBT Scam: Ajay Chautala moves Delhi HC seeking parole

Updated: Jun 27, 2017 16:46 IST     

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Ajay Chautala on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court against the Delhi Government's decision of rejecting his parole, which he had asked for in order to prepare for his exam and attend a wedding.

Full Story >>

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], June 27 (ANI): Sheena Bora murder case accused Indrani Mukerjea's lawyer filed an application in the special Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) Court in Mumbai, claiming that she has been assaulted by Byculla jail authorities.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], June 27 (ANI): Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday met rape accused and former minister Gayatri Prajapati at the Lucknow District Jail.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): After the Congress Party dubbed the India-United States joint statement as "disappointing" and believed that nothing will come out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's U.S visit, Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said it is "sheer jealousy and guilt" of the grand old party that it is deliberately refusing to see and believe the significant outcomes of this visit.

Full Story >>