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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has rejected the federal government's bid to "delay" the upcoming Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections or "rig it" and claimed it would hurt the Kashmir cause.

Addressing a news conference, PPP senior leader and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said his party would not let the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government steal the people's mandate.

The former prime minister questioned the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC)'s move of writing a letter to the government, asking for the postponement of the elections.

He said that the PPP rejects the decision to "delay and rig" the elections.

The PPP leader called on the AJK government not to ignore the prime minister's statements, and said that the party has decided to "reject the federal government's decision on the AJK elections."

Ashraf said that transparent, unbiased, and timely elections should be held in the AJK.

"The federal government would reap what it is sowing. The government is also weakening the Kashmir cause through its policies," he said.

He reminded the premier that he would often say that if inflation rises, then the prime minister was to blame.

"The whole country has been mortgaged to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government would try to give negligible relief to the masses in the upcoming budget."

The NCOC had suggested postponing the upcoming AJK election by two months.

In this connection, the NCOC has written a letter to the chief election commissioner of the AJK, stating that due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, the polls should be delayed.

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani also said, while addressing a separate press conference at the PPP media office, Islamabad that the elections in the AJK could not be postponed or delayed as the AJK constitution is very clear on the issue, and elections cannot be delayed.

Saeed Ghani claimed that the people are being forced to join the PTI, using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as an "arm-twisting tool".

He said that all the by-elections in Pakistan were held on time.

Now postponing elections in Kashmir means that the PTI is running away from the elections, he said.

He said that the NCOC and the government want to postpone the Azad Kashmir elections in the garb of Covid-19.

He said that according to the constitution of Azad Kashmir, postponement is not permissible.

The Azad Kashmir Assembly's term is going to complete on July 29 and it is a constitutional obligation to hold elections 60 days before the end of the Assembly's term.

Any effort to postpone the elections clearly means that the PTI is weak in Azad Kashmir.

On the other hand, President Azad Kashmir Pakistan Peoples Party Chaudhry Latif Akbar demanded the election commission to immediately issue the schedule of elections.

Meanwhile, President PPP AJK Latif Akbar and Opposition Leader in the AJK Assembly Chaudhry Yasin called on Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at the Zardari House, Islamabad, on Monday.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was also present on the occasion.

The PPP AJK leaders briefed the chairman PPP about the political situation in the Valley.

They informed the chairman PPP that the workers of the party are determined to win the coming elections.

Bilawal said that the PTI federal government wants to postpone the AJK elections as it has failed to get candidates for elections. He said that the AJK is a stronghold of the PPP.

Bilawal directed to run a full-fledged campaign for free and fair elections in the AJK. He said that the PPP candidates will win the elections in the AJK by a huge margin.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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