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PTI has emerged front-runner in AJK elections: FM Qureshi

The foreign minister said people of AJK have confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the front-runner in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) general elections.

In a statement on Twitter, the foreign minister said the recent Gallup survey has shown that the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir have expressed confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said PTI has emerged as a clear front runner and expressed hoped that the people “will vote for the true ambassador of Kashmir” and reject opposition politics of deceit and lies.

According to a survey of Gallup Pakistan, the PTI has emerged as the most popular party in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and is set to win the general elections.

The report states that 44 percent of people think that PTI will win the election while PML-N has 12 percent and PPP 9 percent popularity. Both PML-N and PPP have collective 21 percent popularity as compared to 44 percent of PTI, the survey said.

Over 500 people participated in the survey and all 10 districts of AJK were covered, Gallup said in its report. The survey said 94 percent of respondents are likely to vote in the upcoming election while 6 percent have no intention to vote.

Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared as the “most trusted” political leader in the survey with 67 percent positive rating. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto has 49 percent popularity followed by Shahbaz Sharif with 48 percent. Maryam Nawaz has only 44 percent popularity, the survey further said.

Moreover, 53 percent of respondents believe that the elections will be free and fair. 30 percent think that they will not be transparent while 17% are unsure.

Over 3.2 million voters are set to elect the 53-member assembly of AJK for a five-year term. More than 700 candidates from 32 political and religious parties are contesting for the 45 general seats.

There are eight reserved seats including five for women and three seats, one each for religious scholars, technocrats, and overseas Kashmiris. The members for these seats will be nominated after the elections.

Out of 45 general seats, 12 seats are reserved for Kashmiri refugees who had migrated from Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and are settled in various parts of Pakistan. Only 20 women candidates are contesting elections from general seats.