Election Monitoring: AJK-PPP Invites International Observers17 June 2011
Islamabad: Former Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) PM Sultan Mahmood on Wednesday asked the international community to send their observers and media representatives to monitor the upcoming elections on June 26. Talking to several diplomats and ambassadors at the party secretariat, he said that no element would be allowed to intervene in the election process. He added reporters and international observers are welcome to monitor the elections to verify the democratic procedure. “We have an independent election commission so that nobody can raise questions concerning the transparency of the elections,” he added. The prime minister also appealed to the Minister of Kashmir Affairs to facilitate the international observers during the elections. He said no federal minister was being allowed to take part in election campaigns, as he had received complaints against them for influencing the people during elections in the past. He also criticised the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif for spearheading election campaign for his party candidates in AJK. Replying to a question, he said about 55 per cent turnaround is expected in the upcoming elections, adding that all voters will have to show their national identity card to cast their votes. He said there were 41 seats which were being contested in the elections, out of which nine seats were reserved for Kashmiri refugees residing in different parts of Pakistan. He added that eight seats had been reserved for women and technocrats. The prime minister remarked that AJK was facing several challenges including unemployment and rehabilitation of earthquake-affected people which was still underway. He expressed the need of industrial zones in AJK to boost economic activities in the region.