QUETTA: Kashmiri refugees living in Balochistan on Sunday showed scant interest in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election.
The Election Commission had set up polling stations in Quetta, Mastung, Sibi, Nasirabad, Barkhan, Qila Saifullah and Kech districts, but Kashmiri voters cast their votes only in Quetta and Sibi.
According to the officials concerned, not a single voter turned up at the polling stations in Nasirabad, Kech, Mastung, Barkhan and Qila Saifullah. The election staff, however, remained at the polling stations till the end of voting time in these districts, they added.
Kashmiri refugees, a large number of whom live in Quetta, cast their votes in three polling stations set up in Pak-Girls High School and Government Sandeman High School.
Out of seven districts set for polling, only two see casting of votes
The number of registered voters for LA-34 Jammu was 535, but 202 of them polled their votes.
According to the unofficial result announced by the returning officer, Pak-Sarzameen Party’s Shah Abdul Latif obtained 158 votes, while Nasir Hussian Dar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) polled 12 votes and Zahid Iqbal of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) received 11 votes while the remaining votes went to candidates of other parties.
The number of registered voters for LA-40 Kashmir Valley was 1,059, but only 418 cast their votes, while nine votes were rejected.
According to the unofficial result, Saleem Butt of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) got 199 votes, while PPP’s Aamir Ghaffar Lone obtained 125 votes and Tahir Wani of the PML-N got 81 while the remaining votes went to candidates of other parties.
A large numbers of women could not cast their votes because they failed to find their names in the voter list.
The provincial leaders of the PTI, PPP and PML-N remained present outside the polling stations in Quetta.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri, along with local PTI leaders, visited a polling station.
In Sibi, only four votes were polled. Of them one vote went to Aamir Ghaffar Lone of the PPP and two to Zahid Iqbal, while one vote was rejected. The PTI and PML-N failed to get any vote in Sibi.
The provincial administration had made strict security arrangements in and around polling stations by deploying a heavy contingent of police and personnel of other forces.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2021