Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s (PoK’s) top election official announced on June 10 to hold the general election for the Legislative Assembly on July 25, despite appeals to postpone the polls for two months due to the threat of resurgence of the coronavirus.

Last year, Pakistan conducted the Legislative Assembly election in Gilgit-Baltistan.

India had slammed Pakistan for its decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said any action to alter the status of the militarily-occupied region has no legal basis.

India has also clearly conveyed to Pakistan that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of the country.

Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd.) Abdul Rashid Sulehria unveiled the schedule for the elections at a press conference in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

“The people of Kashmir [PoK] will use their right to vote on July 25 for good governance,” said Mr. Sulehria, who is head of the PoK Election Commission.

He said that the candidates can submit their nomination papers till June 21 and the final list will be released on July 3.

The elections will be held to elect 45 representatives of the Legislative Assembly, including 33 in PoK and 12 for Kashmiri migrants, ARY news reported.

“Four constituencies have been enhanced in this election,” Mr. Sulehria said.

Paramilitary Rangers and police along with civil administration will be deployed during the polls to enable over 28 lakh eligible voters to cast their franchise.

Earlier, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) had urged for postponing the election in PoK for two months due to the threat of resurgence of the coronavirus but the same was rejected by all Opposition parties.

The last general election for PoK Legislative Assembly was held in July 2016 and won by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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