PPP performance in AJK shows promise

The Nation  |  Jul 30, 2021

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party was never expected to win July 25 polls in Azad Jammu Kashmir despite the large rallies by PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his sister Aseefa Bhutto Zardari – the reason being the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led governments in Punjab and the centre.

In fact most analysts and politicians gave no more than five seats to the PPP in the state even on the day of polling. Winning 11 seats has given the PPP the required fuel to drive to the 2023 general polls and try its luck back to power, about a decade after signing off in 2013.  The PPP has a habit of making comeback after gaps. It won the 1988 elections, more than 11 years after Ziaul Haq’s coup. Then it took turns with the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to rule. After the 1996 ouster and the following 1999 coup, the PPP waited for another decade to return to power in 2008. 

And now again, the PPP will be out of power in the centre for around a decade when the general elections are held in 2023. PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari believes the election was stolen and his party could have done much better in AJK. But even with 11 seats – and add at least one reserved which would make it 12 - the PPP has become a strong force up from its weaker position of just 5 seats in the previous Legislative Assembly. The PPP still had its leader of the opposition in the previous assembly as the PTI only had two seats and the PML-N led the government with a majority. 

Djokovic becomes first player to reach 3 Olympics singles semifinals Bilawal sensed the importance of the 11 seats. “PTI resorted to violence & (and) rigging in AJK Elections 2021. ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) failed to take action vs PTI for violating electoral rules. Despite this, PPP emerged as largest opposition party in AJK with 11 seats, up from 3 seats last time.

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