Fair AJK polls would serve Kashmir cause

IN a timely assurance, Chief Election Commissioner of Azad Kashmir Justice Mustafa Mughal has vowed to hold free, fair and transparent elections to 29-seat AJK Assembly. The honourable election commissioner also voiced his concerns over volatile atmosphere created by political opponents in the run up to the elections, advising them not to follow negative course.
Mustafa Mughal indeed has the capacity and capability to ensure fairness in the polling process and his assurance on ensuring transparency in election was also imperative in the wake of impression created in AJK that the centre is excessively interfering in the territory. This impression was further strengthened by frequent visits of government functionaries to AJK where they held rallies to unleash a barrage of criticism against the ruling party. In fact, both the PML (N) and the PPP are using the official resources to run their election campaigns in the territory, which run contrary to electoral laws and must come to an end as such practices amount to pre-poll rigging. While we are sure that the election commissioner would not be oblivious to the situation, we warn that such irritations also pollute peaceful atmosphere and send wrong signals across the line of control, where our arch rival India always looks for an opportunity to exploit any negative development happening in AJK in order to malign Pakistan and dent blow to Kashmir cause. Azad Kashmir is the base camp of legitimate freedom struggle of Kashmiri people and therefore it should have a transparent governance system. We would also ask concerned quarters to allow international observers as well as media persons to visit Azad Kashmir during the polls so that nobody could point on the fairness of polls at a later stage. Free elections in Azad Kashmir will also send a strong signal to other side of the LoC that people in AJK are fully independent to exercise their right of franchise.

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