PoK holds legislative elections
Islamabad: Voters in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir went to the polls on Sunday to elect the legislative assembly. There are over 3.2 million eligible voters who can elect 45 members of the assembly for a five-year term.
India has previously slammed Pakistan for its decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said any action to alter the status of the militarily occupied region has no legal basis.
The assembly has a total of 53 members but only 45 are directly elected, while five seats are reserved for women and three are meant for the technocrats.
A tough triangular competition involving Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is expected.
The PTI has nominated candidates for all the 45 constituencies, while PML-N and PPP each issued tickets to candidates for 44 seats.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the radical Islamist party which was banned in April by the Pakistan government for its violent activities, is contesting on 40 seats.
The TLP was not de-registered by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after the ban, enabling it to take part in the elections.
Thirty-three constituencies are located in PoK, while 12 seats are for refugees settled in different cities of Pakistan.
Apart from the ticket holders of different political parties, a total of 261 independent candidates are also in the race for the 33 constituencies in PoK, while 56 independents are vying for the 12 refugees' seats.
Elaborate security measures have been taken and army troops deployed to maintain peace during the elections.
Traditionally, the ruling party in the country wins the elections in Pok.
The last general election for PoK Legislative Assembly was held in July 2016 and won by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to a poll survey of Gallup Pakistan, 44 per cent of people support Prime Minister Imran Khan's party while its nearest rival PML-N has the support of 12 per cent voters.