MUZAFFARABAD : Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to form the next government in Pakistan Controlled Kashmir as unofficial results of general elections for 41 direct seats of the AJK Legislative Assembly on late Thursday night suggested a landslide victory for the party.
In a sharp contrast to the earlier speculation about a split mandate, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) almost wiped out its major rivals the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in most of the districts.
Among the party presidents, Raja Farooq Haider of the PML-N, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan of the Muslim Conference (MC) and Sardar Khalid Ibrahim of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party (JKPP) managed to secure their seats.
PTI president Barrister Sultan Mahmood was said to be losing at the hands of PML-N candidate Chaudhry Mohammad Saeed, while PPP president Chaudhry Abdul Majeed had a small lead over his rival.
Of the 10 seats in Poonch division, nine were bagged by the PML-N and its ally JKPP.
In Kotli district, the PML-N was leading in three of the five constituencies.
Of the seven seats in Muzaffarabad division, unofficial results from five suggested victory for the PML-N, while results from the remaining two were awaited till late night.
Of the 12 constituencies of Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan, nine were reportedly clinched by the PML-N, two by the PTI and one by the PPP.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which had been winning both seats in Sindh, also suffered a setback.
Earlier in the day, polling was held in all constituencies smoothly, unlike previous elections, which were mired in allegations of rigging mainly due to flawed electoral rolls and poor law and order arrangements.
Polling began at 8 AM and the turnout remained low during early hours because of hot and humid weather. However, the rush of voters was witnessed in the afternoon until the closing time of 5pm.
The voters who were inside the polling stations by 5 PM were allowed to cast their votes. The highest turnout at any polling station was 77 per cent and the lowest 30pc, officials said.
The AJK Election Commission had deployed more than 32,000 law enforcement personnel 17,000 from the army and the rest from the Frontier Consta¬bulary and Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and AJK police to maintain law and order and provide a fear-free atmosphere to the voters.
It was for the first time that the army had taken an unusual interest in the AJK elections, with its top brass holding meetings and paying visits to oversee the arrangements vis-à-vis deployments.
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