POK erupts in protest after Pak Army’s July 26 election fraud

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Protests in Sharda Neelam Valley, POK against Pakistan Army after the July 26 elections. (Photo: News Intervention)
Protests in Sharda Neelam Valley, POK against Pakistan Army after the July 26 elections. (Photo: News Intervention)

July 26 is the date when Rawalpindi conducted yet another fraud with the Kashmiris of POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir). This was the date when the sham elections were conducted in POK to “select” all those people who were handpicked by the top echelon of Pakistan Army to rule over the local Kashmiris. Everything was pre-decided and elections were conducted only to ratify what the Rawalpindi generals had already decided about the portion of Jammu and Kashmir still in their illegal occupation.

The number of registered voters in POK is 3.2 million. Only about 15 to 20% POK Kashmiris stepped out to cast their vote under intense pressure from Pakistan military. However, Islamabad is pegging the total vote cast at around 50%. This inflated voting percentage was achieved only because the Pakistan Army personnel facilitated bogus votes across all the centres.

Here’s some of the facts and figures about POK election results:
* The vote percentage of Imran Khan’s political outfit Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was 32.5% and it was given 25 seats. In absolute numbers PTI received 619,590 votes, despite all the systematic rigging.
* PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) got 491,091 votes. PML-N’s vote percentage was 25.65% and it was given 6 seats by the Pakistan Army.
* Similarly, PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) got 349,895 votes and their vote percentage was 18.28%. The Pakistan Army has given this political outfit a total of 11 seats.

Even if we look at the official voting figures then out of 3.2 million Kashmiri voters only about 0.6 million voted for Imran Khan’s PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf). And if the actual voting is taken into account then it becomes clear that only a tiny fraction of Kashmiri voters voted for the PTI. A large number of Kashmiri voters defied Pakistan Army and did not come out to vote, rather they flatly refused to vote.

Election Frauds

POK’s head of election commission came to the polling station in the car of a PTI candidate with ballot boxes. This PTI candidate was Sardar Tanveer, a big businessman who at present is the advisor to Chief Minister of Punjab. Sardar Tanveer had struck Rs 100 crore deal with ISI’s Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Sector Commander Brigadier Naeem Malik to be appointed as the Prime Minister of Kashmir (POK). Sardar Tanveer then paid Rs 10 crore as advance money to Brigadier Naeem Malik. But somehow this deal came out in public and then the Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa removed Brigadier Naeem Malik and replaced him with Brigadier Nadeem to win the trust of Kashmiris that he was in favor of transparent elections.

Kashmiris protest after July 26 polling

After the polling was over the Frontier Corps personnel started misbehaving with local Kashmiris women, which was strongly resisted by the locals. At Sharda, Neelam Valley these FC personnel forcibly removed women and children from local vehicles and confiscated their vehicles. When the local administration and the Kashmiris asked FC personnel to stop, the FC personnel opened fire due to which one local Kashmiri was killed and thirteen others were injured.

This incident coupled with numerous reports of molestation by the Pakistan military personnel led to massive protests. Angry Kashmiris closed the Sharda, Neelam Road by burning tyres and started shouting slogans against the Pakistan Army. Slogans against Pakistan Army and Imran Khan were also raised in other areas of POK. Kashmiris also chanted slogans for the independence of Kashmir. The administration, however, sided with the Pakistan Army and the Kashmiris were beaten up, arrested and tortured.

Kashmiri civil society has strongly condemned the killing of innocent Kashmiris by Pakistani FC and demanded immediate arrest of Pakistan FC personnel. It is for the first time in seventy years that POK has erupted in open protests against the misrule of Pakistan Army. For the first time, slogans of Pakistan Murdabad were raised in several areas of POK and in Neelam Valley.

Several Kashmiri student leaders were imprisoned before these elections (many are still in prison on different charges) so that the voice of the people could be silenced. Hatred against Pakistan Army in POK is at a historic high. Never before had POK Kashmiris been so much against Pakistan and Pakistan Army, in particular.

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