MUZZAFARABAD: Over two million people are exercising their right to vote in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly’s elections, taking place Thursday (today).
Voting started at 8 AM today and will continue without any break till 5 PM. However, the general elections in Azad Kashmir are being held under the supervision of Pakistan Army to ensure transparency and fairness.
At least 423 candidates are on the run for 41 constituencies of the AJK Legislative Assembly. However, after vigorous election campaign by the political parties that ended on Tuesday, tough competition is expected in the elections, especially from the mainstream political parties such as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ( PML-N), Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is contesting the election on all 41 seats while PML-N has fielded 38 candidates and PTI is contesting election from 32 constituencies.
A total of 2,674,586 people 1,483,747 men and 1,190,839 women will be moving towards polling stations on the Election Day (July 21) from AJK’s nine districts and 12 constituencies of Kashmiri refugees, spreading over four provinces of Pakistan to cost their votes, according to data released by Election Commission of AJK.
District Kotli surpasses AJK’s all districts in a number of voters with 442,839 people 246,230 male and 196,609 female voters to cast their votes from its five constituencies where in total 47 candidates are vying.
Though the total number of political parties in AJK stands at 42, the major contest in different constituencies of Kotli and other districts as well as the constituencies reserved for refugees is expected among AJK’s top political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf and All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.
Kotli is followed by AJK’s Capital Muzaffarabad in the voters list. Around 429,276 voters, including 191,112 females set to cast their votes from its six constituencies where in total 67 candidates are in the run.
The total number of registered voters in district Mirpur is 233,518, which includes 127,274 male and 106,244 female voters. Here a total of 48 contenders will be challenging each other from the four constituencies.
A total of 45 contestants will be facing each other from district Bhimber’s three constituencies, which has 243,165 voters 133,727 male and 109,438 female voters.
From district Sudhnoti, which has two constituencies around 166,143 people 91,283 men and 74,860 women will exercise their right to vote, whereas from district Bagh, which has three constituencies for its 232,572 voters 126,326 male and 106,246 female voters, a total of 25 candidates are competing.
District Neelam and district Havelli (Kahuta) have one constituency each for their 96,584 (52,479 male, 44,105 female) and 80,637 (43,813 male, 36,824 female) voters, respectively.
From Neelam, eight candidates are competing, while the same number of candidates is also on the run from Havelli.