AJK election results reflective of Kashmiri voters’ pragmatism

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 01:20 PM, 26 Jul, 2021
AJK election results reflective of Kashmiri voters’ pragmatism

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has won the July 25 parliamentary elections for the 53-seat AJK Legislative Assembly and is now in a position to form its first government in the state. It has bagged 25 seats, against 11 of the PPP and six of the PML-N, the two parties that have been in power in the past.

Though it ended up as a distant third, the PML-N conducted the elections being the party in power.

The PTI already has its governments at the Centre, in Punjab, KP, Balochistan and GB.

Sindh government alone is led by opposition PPP and there is always tension between Islamabad and Karachi on various pretexts.

Many conclusions can be drawn from the AJK election results.   

For example, the July 25 polls results have established the “pragmatism” of the people of AJK.

Struggling to get their right to self-determination under the UN Security Council Resolutions for the past seven decades the Kashmiris know well that support to only a party in power in Islamabad can serve their cause better than any other entity. For them any other yardstick has a secondary consideration.

The same pattern was observed in the past elections.

When the PML-N was in power in Islamabad, the AJK elections held during its tenure were swept by this party.  

Likewise, when the PPP being in power in Islamabad held the AJK Legislative Assembly elections, majority seats were won by its candidates.  

Although Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N Vice President who had led the campaign in AJK, has refused to accept the results, there is no likelihood of any change in the situation.

Her rigging allegations can only further vitiate the atmosphere at home and provide the enemies of Pakistan munition for more poisonous propaganda.  

The PTI’s victory against the PML-N and the PPP – and that too with so much difference of seats – has established beyond doubt that Prime Minister Imran Khan and the establishment are on the same page and any other speculation by anyone is simply baseless, unfounded.

(A few days ago, Maryam was quoted as saying that the “same page” has now turned into a “shame page”- ostensibly implying differences between the two).

This being so, it can be said with certitude that the opposition’s movement against the PTI government going on for the past three years stands no future. The leaders of the opposition alliance –PDM – may periodically hold rallies in various parts of the country to show the masses their presence and raise their hopes, they will not be able to create any problem for the government.

After the elections, the PTI leadership is now supposed to take steps to form the next government.

The Kashmir cause demands that some experienced person should be designated as prime minister. Of all the elected leaders the slot should be offered to the one who can perform better in the challenging situation on the Kashmir front.  

Similarly, although the PTI is in a position to come up with a setup without the support of any other party, it will be in the national interest if other parties are also given representation in the cabinet, even if it’s symbolic.

It will also be a good move if senior leaders like Farooq Haider, Sardar Attique are taken on board to utilize their capabilities and contacts to advance the Kashmir cause.

In view of the situation created by the Indian government’s Aug 5, 2019 illegal step of revocation of the special status of occupied Kashmir, the new AJK government will have to devote more time and energy to highlight the Kashmir cause at the international level.  

It’s regrettable that Mr Shehryar Afridi has been a complete disappointment as Chairman of the Kashmir Committee. He had been brought in to replace veteran leader Syed Fakhr Imam, but he has failed to deliver. He did nothing to highlight the Kashmir cause at the international level, nor did he visits important countries to win their support for it.

In brief, the situation is very challenging and the new prime minister must be a capable person.   

Categories : Opinion