PoJK : The Murderous Election
Pakistan, which claims to support right to Self-Determination for a section of Kashmiri people, has brazenly denied basic democratic rights to the residents of PoJK, who are yet to taste the real democracy
Deepak Zazia from J&K
Loud sounds of massive protests, demonstrations and rallies, being held on the other side of Line of Control (LoC), known as Pakistan
occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK), are very much audible in Mendhar and Balakote areas situated on the border. Other side of Mendhar tehsil of J&K is Nakyal Sub-Division of PoJK which is part of the Kotli district.
This loud sound, emanating from across the border, is against stifling of peoples’ voice and bulldozing of
democratic institutions in the PoJK where Pakistan’s ruling party— Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) has brazenly rigged polls and imposed one Raja Farooq Haider Khan as puppet “Prime Minister” of PoJK by shamelessly ignoring majority view point.
This is not the first time that elections were rigged with the help of the Pakistani Army. It is a routine affair in PoJK where democracy is only on the papers. But, unfortunately, the Kashmir Valley centric separatist leaders, who are very much aware of what is going in Pakistan, are still exploiting gullible Kashmiri youth in the name of Pakistan and Azadi. The Kashmir based separatist leaders are still instigating people to shout pro-Pakistan slogans and to raise Pakistani flags in the Valley.
By gagging voice of the people, the PML-N with the help of Pakistani Army, won 31 out of the 49 seats (direct election is held for only 41 seats) in the elections held on July 21, 2016. A total of 26 political parties and 423 candidates participated in this farcical election. The performance of other political parties was very dismal as Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won 2 seats, while All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJKMC) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had to be content with 3 seats each.
2.674 million voters had cast their votes in these assembly elections, which were held under the supervision of the Pakistani Army. Majority of the
residents of PoJK have claimed that they were not allowed to cast their votes and were stopped from entering polling booths.
After the declaration of the election results violence has erupted in many districts of PoJK, as local people came out in the streets and started widespread protests against rigging during July 21 polls. Protesters also claim that notorious ISI agency from Pakistan was
responsible for the elections being rigged. Pakistan, which claims to support right to Self-Determination for a section of Kashmiri people, has brazenly denied basic rights of the residents of PoJK, who yet to get the taste of real democracy.
Out of 49 seats in Legislative Assembly, 8 seats are filled by elected members while Kashmiris settled in other parts of Pakistan elect 12
members on the basis of fraudulent list of voters, which includes several
non-Kashmiris. Hence, election in PoJK was held only for 29 seats. Pakistan government has excluded 20 seats from election process with ulterior motive of keeping its control over PoJK.
All the candidates had to sign an
affidavit that stated, “Kashmir Banega Pakistan” (Kashmir will become Pakistan), which contradicts Pakistan’s stand on J&K where it pleads for the right of self-determination. Rejection of
nomination papers of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and All Parties National Alliance (APNA) is an eye opener for Azadiwalas of Kashmir Valley because candidates of these two political outfits had refused to sign the affidavit that “Kashmir will become Pakistan”.
The constitution of PoJK states that no one can propagate or work against the accession of Kashmir in Pakistan. The separatist leaders in J&K should compare themselves with the residents of PoJK who have no right to speak against Pakistan, while in J&K they make demonstrations, shout anti-India and pro-Pakistani slogans and even raise Pakistani flags and burn Indian flags in public places.
As elections in PoJK were held after killing of dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorist, Burhan Wani, all
political parties, especially the ruling PML-N tried to rake up this issue.
As expected, election rhetoric from all concerned political parties, including the ruling PML-N, and the opposition, PPP, PTI, and others, contained
passionate eulogies for the Burhan Wani, and reruns of the usual Pakistani litany of human rights violations in J&K. PM Nawaz Sharif chaired a
cabinet meeting on July 15 in which he declared Pakistan’s unstinting support for the Kashmiris’ “just struggle for self-determination.” Interestingly, he announced Islamabad’s intention to observe July 19 as a “Black Day”, which was swiftly postponed to July 21, to coincide with elections in PoJK. In a campaign speech in Islamabad, he asserted that Pakistan was and will
continue to be a stakeholder in Kashmir, which could not be considered India’s internal matter. After the elections Nawaz Sharif stated, “We await the day of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.”
Importantly residents of twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri of Jammu province, who have relatives living across the LoC in PoJK, have very much realised that their future is secure only in India but the some
residents of Kashmir Valley, who don’t have any links with the residents of PoJK, are shouting pro-Pakistan slogans. Most of the divided families are living in twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Their relatives from across the border usually visit this side of J&K and most of the them are impressed by the over all socio-economic growth and development in this part of J&K.
What is more shocking is attitude of Valley based leaders who have
maintained a criminal silence over brazen rigging of elections in PoJK. Nomination papers of candidates of JKLF, who advocate Azadi for Kashmir were out-rightly rejected but Kashmir based leaders did not utter even a single word for their counter-parts of PoJK.