International

PoK legislative elections marred by violence, 2 dead

Voters in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir cast their ballots on Sunday to elect the region's legislative assembly, in an election marred by allegations of irregularities and violence that killed at least two workers of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party.

Also read: PoK will wish to be part of India; will lead to fulfilment of Parliament’s resolution: Rajnath Singh

The gates of polling stations were closed to new voters at 5pm. However, those inside the polling stations were allowed to cast their ballot. The polling started at 8am and continued till 5pm.

India has previously slammed Pakistan for its decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said any action to alter the status of the militarily occupied region has no legal basis.

The assembly has a total of 53 members but only 45 are directly elected, while five seats are reserved for women and three are meant for the technocrats.

A tough triangular competition involving Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is expected.

Earlier in the day, at least two PTI workers were shot and killed in clashes with PPP activists at a polling station in Charhoi area of Kotli district.

The two men were shot dead by unidentified persons, police said.

Also, at least four soldiers were killed while three soldiers and a civilian driver were injured when their vehicle plunged down a ravine off a curvy mountain road in Laswa area of the region, the military said in a statement.

The soldiers were part of army troops deployed to help maintain peace during the elections.

The injured have been evacuated to nearby medical facility for necessary medical care, according to the army.

In another incident, five police constables were injured after Jamaat-e-Islami activists attacked them with batons at the Dhal Chakhya polling station of Jhelum valley district.

Region’s Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd.) Abdul Rashid Sulehria condemned the killing in Kotli and said action will be taken against whoever is involved.

Voting in some polling stations of other constituencies was temporarily suspended due to incidents of violence. Several people were reportedly injured in clashes and a number of political activists were also detained by the police.

There were also reports of scuffles in Bhimber, Bagh and other areas of PoK as well as Peshawar, Gujranwala and other cities of Pakistan where polling stations were set up for refugees.


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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 5:29:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pok-legislative-elections-marred-by-violence-2-dead/article35532891.ece

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