OPINION

Conditions in Azad Kashmir

Plebiscite Front President Mirza Mohd. Afzal Beg has said in an interview here [Jammu] that conditions of life had been far from happy in “Azad Kashmir” as people there were deprived of the right to be governed by their chosen representatives. Welcoming reports that there would be elections in Pak-held territory on the basis of adult franchise, Mr. Beg hoped that the strategic area of Gilgit would no longer be excluded from the jurisdiction of “Azad Kashmir” (Gilgit which connects Pakistan with China is administered directly by the Pakistan Government). The entire territory across the ceasefire line was part of Jammu and Kashmir, he added. He was also confident that the Plebiscite Front would capture an overwhelming majority of seats in the Valley in a mid-term or the next general election. The recent panchayat elections had conclusively exposed the ruling men’s unrepresentative character, he said. Conceding that his party was less popular in Jammu and Ladakh regions, Mr. Beg did not rule out the possibility of electoral adjustments. He, however, said there could be no understanding with communalists whether Hindu or Muslim. He disclosed the Chief Election Commissioner had supplied them a panel of symbols.

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