WEB DESK: The political party which rules Islamabad is always expected to win in AJK, and that has happened once again.
The Pakistan Muslim League (N) has won hands down taking 31 of the contested 41 seats in the 49-member Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly. And to the obvious disappointment of both Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto, who had undertaken quite a few hectic electioneering forays into Azad Kashmir where they addressed public rallies at a number of places in sweltering heat, the gains were less than few.
Their parties won two seats each, and of the two won by the PTI none was from AJK and only one by the PPP. Others’ gains were as expected: the Sardar Attique-led Muslim Conference got three seats, Jammu-Kashmir People Party (JKPP) 1, Independent 1 and none by MQM and Jamaat-e-Islami. The sitting PPP prime minister did win, but not the chief of PTI in Azad Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mehmud. Out of the 12 Kashmiri migrants’ seats the PML (N) and its ally JKPP bagged 9.
The fact is that the heat and fury injected into campaigns was absolutely absent from the polling which was merely 30 percent of the vote bank. And nor, mercifully, was the polling day as violent as feared. Of course there were few scuffles here and there but no casualty, excepting of one voter who suffered cardiac arrest while standing in the queue to cast his vote – quite unlike the rampant pre-polling violent incidents.
Some 30,000 law enforcing personnel including 17,000 from the Army were on duty to ensure that the polling remained peaceful. And, surprisingly out of the 420 plus candidates only five were women, and of them none was fielded by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. None of the women won; however, five women will be elected on the reserve seats along with three men to the special seats.
That the AJK Legislative Assembly election was fought for political power, neat and pure with contenders looking towards nowhere but Islamabad is a fact. Both the principal contenders, PTI and PPP, targeted Nawaz Sharif – though from different angles. Imran Khan somehow believed that the Panama Papers were saleable enough to secure defeat of the PML (N) in Azad Kashmir. And Bilawal Bhutto severely criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for what he called the latter’s cozy relationship with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Nowhere and from none of the contesting candidates also did come any worthwhile idea or suggestion on the future of Kashmir and how to go about it, particularly in the context of the ongoing in Indian Held Kashmir. No wonder then, both Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto will live with their dismal performance at the hustings in Azad Kashmir.
Perhaps, they should have imbibed wisdom in the time test maxim that one who rules Islamabad rules Azad Kashmir, and stayed cool instead of injecting so much heat into their campaigns. How come they lost sight of the fact that once the election is over and government formed in Muzaffarabad, it will function from the Kashmir House in Islamabad, under the watchful gaze of a senior bureaucrat?
There was no need to inject the do-or-die stakes in the electoral process for the Kashmir legislative assembly.
Source: Business Recorder