MUZAFFARABAD: The Election Commission of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Monday announced almost 100 per cent results of the 669 wards of urban and rural councils in three districts of Muzaffarabad division.

The results suggested that while the PTI emerged in a position to elect its men as heads of the district councils of Neelum and Jhelum valleys, the combined opposition PPP and PML-N were set to elect their’s as heads of the Muzaffarabad district council as well as its municipal corporation.

In the 41-member District Council of Muzaffarabad, the PPP had bagged 16 seats followed by 15 by the PTI, three each by the Muslim Conference (MC) and PML-N, two by the independents and one by Jammu Kashmir People’s Party (JKPP). The result of one seat had been withheld.

The PML-N claimed that both independent winners were its workers and it had left their wards open, instead of granting party tickets to anyone.

Interestingly, PTI’s regional secretary general Raja Mansoor could not secure even a single one of the 13 seats of district council Muzaffarabad from Khawrra, where he had lost to PPP’s Chaudhry Latif Akbar last year.

Following its numerical strength, the opposition app­eared to be all set to clinch the chairmanship of district council Muzaffarabad.

Similarly, the combined opposition was also poised to get its councillor elected as the Mayor of Muzaffarabad.

In the 36 wards of the Municipal Corporation Muzaffarabad (MCM), the PML-N had bagged 12 seats, followed by eight by the PTI and seven each by the PPP and independents. Two seats were won by the MC with the support of the ruling PTI.

Senior Minister Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, who had returned from Muzaffarabad city in 2021, claimed in a social media post that the PTI and its allies had secured 9,379 votes in the 36 wards of MCM in Sunday’s polling, followed by 8,665 by the PML-N and 8,260 by the PPP.

Of the 18 seats of Jhelum valley’s district council, the PTI had clinched 10 seats followed by five by the PML-N and three by the PPP. This meant that the ruling party was in a smooth position to grab this council.

Similarly, in the district council of Neelum valley, the PTI had secured seven out of 15 seats, followed by three each by the PPP and PML-N and two by the independents. The ruling party is believed to be in a position to get its nominee elected as this council’s chairman by luring any or both independent candidates.

In the three-seat municipal committee of Hattian Bala (Jhelum valley), the PTI, PPP and PML-N had bagged one seat each, which meant that the opposition could elect its chairman there.

In the town committee of Chikar, also in district Jhelum valley, all three wards were won by the PML-N.

In Neelum valley, the PPP and PTI secured one seat each in the two-member municipal committee of Athmuqam and two seats each in the four-member town committee of Kel.

The results showed that in many wards across the division the difference between the winners and the runners-up ranged between five and 15 votes.

On its website, the Election Commission had given collective figures of the entire division, rather than the district-wise breakup.

By 10:30pm, the collective results of 453 out of the 535 wards of 74 union councils of the three districts had been uploaded, whereby independent candidates had clinched victory in 157 wards, followed by 111 by the PPP, 91 by the PTI, 76 by the PML-N, 17 by the MC and one by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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