New Delhi: Locals in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have hit the streets to protest against the rigged July 21 election, which saw Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) winning 32 out of 41 seats.
Huge protests were witnessed in Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Chinari and Mirpur, after the members of the PML(N) killed a supporter of the Muslim Conference (MC) in Muzaffarabad.
The protesters maintained that they were not allowed to cast their votes, and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and others rigged the polls in favour of Sharif's PML(N).
Locals allege that elections in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have always been fixed in favour of the federal ruling party.
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 27, 2016
The disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir was split between India and Pakistan in 1948, after they fought a brief war over it. It remains at the heart of animosity between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Sharif stressed the need to improve relations with India in his successful campaign for the last general election in 2013 but the powerful army, which oversees security and foreign policies, is seen as wary of making big concessions quickly.
Last year reports had emerged that residents of PoK were openly advocating to be a part of India. They were said to be impressed with PM Narendra Modi's style of governance.
Chairman of the Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool, Moulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi, who had toured PoK had said that people residing in the region want to be a part of India.
According to Dehlavi, the people of the region are distressed with growing extremism in Pakistan and want to lead a peaceful life. Given the opportunity, they would want a referendum so that they can vote to join back India.