Sarosh Rao

MIRPUR (AJK)

The AJK Judiciary will fully support and facilitate the Election Commission to hold the forthcoming general elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir scheduled to be held in July this year in a free, fair and transparent manner.

AJK Chief Justice Azam Khan stated at a seminar titled “Democratic Elections - Standard and Challenges,” hosted by the state-run Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) here on Monday.

Newly-inducted Chief Election Commissioner, who is the AJK High Court Chief Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal, MUST Vice Chancellor Dr Raja Habibur Rehman, Dr Amman Ullah of Punjab University, Prof Maj (r) Shehzada Ahmed, Station Director Azad Kashmir Radio Mirpur Muhammad Shakeel, eminent Kashmir journalist Altaf Hameed Rao and Press Club’s President Muhammad Zafeer also addressed the seminar. Speakers emphasized on the people of AJK to ensure their enthusiastic participation in the upcoming AJK Legislative Assembly elections to pave the way for the establishment of a true democratic government.

They also passed various healthy proposals for the AJK Chief Election Commissioner to ensure that the general elections are held in a free, fair and transparent manner. They applauded MUST VC for hosting the seminar.

AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Azam Khan said that in the first phase for holding free and fair elections in AJK, the process of compiling new computerized voter lists is underway. He urged the citizens to get their names registered in the new voter lists to use their right to vote in the upcoming elections. He said that the right to vote is a national obligation of every citizen - which should be performed with full responsibility, he added.

CEC Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal said that the elections schedule would be announced in all circumstances 45 days ahead of July 24, 2016, the last day of the incumbent AJK Legislative Assembly, in line with Act 1974, the interim constitution of Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

He said that free and fair elections to the 49-seat AJK Legislative Assembly is the top priority of the AJK Election Commission, adding that the Election Commission has started preparations for holding of the polls in transparent manner.

Justice Mughal said that the process of issuance of the computerised national identity cards to rest of the eligible AJK citizens is in progress by Nadra. This issuance of CNICs to the citizens will continue till April 20, 2016.

Later, addressing a news conference at PWD Rest House here Monday evening, CEC Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal said that the upcoming AJK general elections would be held within the stipulated constitutional period under the supervision of the judiciary and the Army.

He was flanked by senior officials of the AJK Election Commission and the administration on the occasion.

The CEC revealed that every candidate would be bound to spend only up to Rs2.5 million as total expenditures. Regarding basic educational qualification for the candidates, he said that matriculation would be the minimum qualification for the aspiring candidates to contest the elections to the AJK Legislative Assembly.

He said that officials of AJK Education and Revenue are actively engaged in the ongoing process for preparation of computerised voter lists across AJK and 12 AJK LA constituencies of Pakistan-based Jammu & Kashmir refugees.