MIRPUR (AJK)-After a candidate, affiliated with the AJK’s ruling PML-N, on Tuesday announced withdrawal of his nomination papers, there are 24 candidates in the run for the scheduled November 24 by-election to the vacant seat of the AJK Legislative Assembly.

Independent candidate Iftikhar Khadim, an alleged dissident of the PML-N, announced withdrawal of his nomination papers on Tuesday after he was denied the party’s candidature for contesting the scheduled by-polls.

Scrutiny of the nomination papers has started on Tuesday and last date for appeals against rejection or acceptance of the nomination papers is October 26.

Khadim, backed by the party’s alleged dissident - an ex AJK health minister Arshad Mahmood Ghazi, had announced contesting the election under the candidature of the PML-N.

Iftikhar Khadim Tuesday requested the returning officer, through an application, to accept his withdrawal from contesting the election coupled with request to return his fee of nomination - which he had deposited with nomination papers.

After withdrawal of the nomination papers by Khadim, the number of the candidates in the polls arena has reduced to 24.

A total of 25 candidates had filed their nomination papers with the returning officer by the stipulated last date of October 21 - Monday here for the scheduled November 24 bye-election to the only vacant seat of the AJK Legislative Assembly from Mirpur City - III (LA-3) constituency.

The seat had fallen vacant following disqualification of the sitting MLA and minister from the constituency and minister in the incumbent Raja Farooq Haider-led AJK government of PML-N - Ch Muhammad Saeed by the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir in a contempt of court case on September 25. The apex court had declared Saeed disqualified for contesting or holding any public office for next five years period.

AJK elections commission has, by now, announced the bye - election schedule to fill in the vacant seat to the AJK Legislative Assembly, to be held on November 24 this year.

The 24 out of 25 candidates, who have filed nomination papers with the Returning Officer / the serving Additional Session judge Mirpur Mr Muhammad Idrees Bhatti here by the last day Monday including prominent politicians including former Prime Minister and PTI AJK President Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, ex city Mayor and former Special Assistant to AJK government Ch Muhammad Ashraf, (belonging to PPP AJK Chapter), Mrs Shagufta Saeed, Sohaib Saeed Chaudhry (wife and son respectively of the immediate-past former AJK minister Chaudhry Muhammad Saeed) (belonging to PML-N AJK, Dr Amin Chaudhry (ex Director General MDA), Wasif Amin Chaudhry, Khalid Fariooq, Tamkeen Bibi, Muhamamd Basharat, Tasleem Arif, Muhammad Ikhlaq Jazbi, Muhammad Ashfaq, Muhammad Afzal Mirza, Zulfiqar Ali Bilawalk Khan, Choudhry Yasir Sultan, Muhammad Usman Arshad, Tahir Mahmood, Zaka Ullah Faiz, Raja Tanveer Hussaink, Raja Muhammad Naeeb Khan Taakher, Abdul Ghafoor, Muhammad Shafiq and Shakoor Ahmed Mughal, according to office of the Assistant Election Commissioner Mirpur.

Final list of the candidates moved to fight, will appear on the stipulated date as according to the elections schedule announced so far by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission.

The AJK Election Commission has already announced the following schedule of the by-election to fill in the above vacant seat of the AJK-LA - III Mirpur -3:-

Last date of filing of nomination paper to the Returning officer is October 21.

Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on October 22. Last date for filing of appeals will be October 26. Hearing of the appeals will be held on October 28. Last date of decisions on the appeals will be held the next day - October 29.

Last date for withdrawal of the candidature will be October 30.

List of te candidates will be published the same day - October 30.

Electoral symbols will be allotted on October 31.

Final list of the eligible candidates will be published the same day of October 31.

Polling will be held on November 24, 2019, according to the official notification issued by the AJK Election Commission.