The PTI and the PPP made sure no upsets were pulled in the Kashmir by-elections yesterday (Sunday) as both parties retained their seats in Mirpur and Kotli.
By-elections were held for two constituencies of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly for the Mirpur LA-3 and LA-12 Kotli-V constituencies.
The PTI won in Mirpur LA-3, Mirpur-III, while the PPP candidate won in LA-12 Kotli-V. Stringent security measures were taken to ensure the polling process was not disturbed, with army troops deployed at polling stations. Voting commenced at 8:00am and continued till 5:00pm.
The LA-3, Mirpur-III seat had fallen vacant due to Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhry’s election as AJK president, who won this seat as a PTI nominee in the July 25 general elections.
The Mirpur constituency has 85,925 registered voters including 45,447 males and 40,478 females voters — of whom a thin number reportedly reached the polling stations to exercise their right of franchise.
A total of 147 polling stations including 68 for males, 65 for females and 14 combined were established in Mirpur to facilitate voters.
According to unconfirmed and unofficial results, PTI candidate Yasir Sultan Chaudhry won the election securing 20,142 votes while PMLN candidate Chaudhry Saeed got 11,608 votes.
The LA-12 (Charhoi), Kotli-V seat had fallen vacant due to Chaudhry Muhammad Yasin’s resignation from the one out of two seats that he had won in the July 25 general elections — simultaneously from Kotli city and Charhoi constituencies.
A total of 106,428 voters, including 57,838 males and 48,590 females were registered to exercise their right to elect their representative for the AJK LA.
Unofficial results from 197 out of 198 polling stations stated that the PPP’s Aamir Yaseen defeated the PTI’s Shaukat Farid Advocate by securing 24,335 votes while the PTI candidate could manage 18,858 votes.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari congratulated his party workers and supporters for “another victory from Azad Kashmir”.
“Congratulations to all PPP workers on another victory from Azad Kashmir. We beat PTI in yet another by-election. From Karachi to Kashmir Jiya Bhutto Benazir,” he tweeted.
The PML-N’s Mohammad Riyasat Khan managed only 17,892 votes and finished third.
Kotli DRO Mian Arif said the polling process at Government Girls College Changpur was halted after ballot papers were snatched from the election staff.
“A report has been prepared by the presiding officer and sent to the reporting officer,” said the DRO. “The report says that the PML-N candidate snatched the ballot papers from the election staff.”
He said legal action will be taken against the PML-N candidate in light of the report’s findings.