Fifty years ago | November 3, 1970 Archives

Elections in “Azad Kashmir”

The first elections under adult franchise have been held in “Azad Kashmir” (the area of Kashmir seized by Pakistani troops in 1947 and divided from the rest of the State by the ceasefire line) though Baltistan and Gilgit were excluded from the election. There are only 1,06,000 voters and they had to choose both a president and 24 members of the legislative assembly. Under the new constitution devised by President Yahya Khan, decisions of the elected president of “Azad Kashmir” can be reversed only by two-thirds of the assembly membership. It is not surprising that Sardar Qayyum, leader of the Azad Muslim Conference and a former nominated president, has outdistanced his rivals. He is a man who stands for a strong centre, whereas some of the others have local support. For example, Sardar Ibrahim is based mainly on Poonch (where there was once a revolt against the centre) and Mr. K H. Khurshid draws his support from the refugee element in the State. Mr. Maqbool Ahmad Butt, leader of the Plebiscite Front, is reported to have been arrested with two of his colleagues. It seems that his party stands for the independence of Kashmir and is inclined to adopt terrorist methods to achieve its aim. It is perhaps needless to add that all the four parties who fielded 140 candidates for the assembly regard the election as one which concerns the whole of pre-Partition Kashmir and are pledged to recover the whole territory by fair means or foul.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 4:46:38 PM |

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