MIRPUR (AJK)/JHANG/GUJRANWALA-Arrangements have been finalised for holding the general elections to 49 seats of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on July 21 under the supervision of Pak Army to ensure peace and fairness.

“A total of 1,817 polling stations have been set up by the AJK Election Commission in all the 12 constituencies of Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber to facilitate a total of 919,495 voters to exercise their right to elect their representatives,” said Mirpur Commissioner Raja Amjad Pervez Ali Khan while briefing newsmen in his office about the arrangements.

He was flanked by Deputy Inspector General of Police Sardar Gulfraz Khan and Additional Commissioner Tariq Mahmood who also apprised the media of the arrangements for maintaining law and order by the AJK police and the civil administration with the coordination of Pak Army and the Rangers.

The divisional commissioner said that the AJK Election Commission and the government have made excellent arrangements in connection with the elections. The voters would exercise their right without any pressure in a free, fair and peaceful environment at the polling stations.

“In the light of the strict directions of the Chief Election Commissioner of AJK and the top law-enforcement authorities, there would be zero tolerance for the violators of the law and order and the code of conduct set by the Election Commission,” he underlined.

In this connection, he referred to the conviction of about 10 persons who violated the law including the polling staff members during polling held in Mirpur division for the government employees on July 17.

Commissioner Raja Amjad Pervez Ali said that of 1,817 polling stations, 317 polling stations have been declared highly sensitive, 517 sensitive and 983 are normal. He continued that since the troops of Pak Army, Punjab police, Frontier Constabulary, KPK police and Pakistan Rangers have reached Mirpur division, a total of 18,000 troops including 11,000 army and 7,000 police personnel would remain alert to maintain peace in and outside the polling stations on July 21.

He said that a total of 4,785 uniformed men headed by DSPs and assistant commissioners/magistrates would stand alert to maintain law and order at the polling stations of their jurisdictions.

The commissioner said that the polling will start at 8:00am and continue till 5:00pm without any pause. Voters shall have to bring with them their computerised national identity card at the polling stations to use their right to vote, he said. He said that the polling material and the polling staff will reach at their respective places of duties at the polling station by the evening of July 20.

Elaborating the code of conduct, he said that the candidates will not be allowed to come at the polling stations in big convoy or processions of their supporters. Rather the candidates would be allowed to come only with their eight associates aboard only two vehicles - but not be allowed to enter the jurisdiction of the polling station in the radius of 500 meters, he underlined.

He added that only the candidate would be allowed to go into the polling stations of his constituency concerned to assess the situation. He further said that no person including voter or any member of the polling staff would be allowed to take out the ballot paper off the polling station nor anyone be allowed to take the picture of the ballot papers with a mobile phone, camera or other device. The commissioner said that divisional and district control rooms have been set up in all the three divisions of AJK including at the offices of Divisional Commissioner and the deputy commissioners in all AJK districts to supervise and monitor maintaining law and order situation on the elections day.

To a question, the commissioner said that the elections results would be available from the concerned district returning officers and returning officers of the constituencies besides the AJK Election Commission.

In Jhang, at least 480 officers of Pak Army have been deputed for the transparency of election and maintaining law and order situation. There are 4,734 voters of Azad Jamu Kashmir in Jhang. Total 13 polling stations have been established out of which 11 have been established for LA-30 constituency and 2 polling stations for LA-38 constituency.

In LA-131 Jammu II, Maqbool Gujjar of PTI, Ch Ismaeel Gujjar of PML-N, Khadam Hussain of PPP and Mirza Oman Baig independent candidate will contest. A total of 75,684 voters will cast their votes for which 144 polling stations including 44 for male, 47 for female and 50 joint have been established. The constituency consists of the areas of Gujranwala, Sialkot and Hafizabad.

In LA132 Jammu III Sialkot, Ch Ishaq of PML-N, Shoukat Wazir Ali of PPP and Hamid Raza of PTI will contest while a total of 92,133 voters will cast their votes. The Election Commission has established 132 polling stations including 24 for male, 23 for female and 85 joints. In LA133 Jammu IV Shakargarh, Mian Yasir Rashid of PML-N, Akmal of PTI and Ishtiaq Hussain of PPP will contest. The constituency has a total of 93,722 voters and the Election Commission has established 172 polling stations. In LA-34 Gujrat, four prominent leaders including Javed Akhtar o PML-N, Afzal Malhi of PTI. Amjad Gujjar of PPP and ex-minister Akbar Ibrahim will contest while over 70,000 voters will cast their votes. Ballot papers, polling boxes and other equipment will be transferred through Pak Army personnel while polling will be done on 21st July 2016 for which training of the staff has been completed.