New Delhi: "We are waiting for the day (when) Kashmir becomes (a part of) PAKISTAN," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday after his party PML-N swept PoK's legislative assembly elections. Addressing a public gathering in Muzaffarabad, Sharif said, "We are waiting for the day Kashmir becomes (part of) Pakistan."
In his first public address following an open heart surgery earlier this year, Sharif urged Kashmiris "not to forget those in (Indian) held Kashmir who are sacrificing their lives for freedom". The PML-N is set to form the next government in Pakistani Kashmir, whose official name is "Azad Jammu and Kashmir". "Their movement for freedom cannot be stopped and it will be successful. You are aware of how they are being beaten and killed. All our prayers are with them and we are waiting for the day Kashmir becomes (part of) Pakistan," Sharif was quoted as saying by Dawn News.
PML-N is set to form the next government in PoK as the unofficial results of the election for 41 direct seats of the legislative assembly on Thursday suggested a landslide victory for the party.
"I saw the election results at night and thought that if our victory is evident, I will travel to Muzaffarabad to congratulate my brothers and sisters. I was told to go tomorrow or day after tomorrow, but said I can't wait, I want to go tonight," he said. Sharif thanked the people of PoK for their support, conveying his gratitude to the crowd for their prayers for his recovery. He slammed those engaging in "negative politics" against the PML-N and congratulated the people for voting for the party.
Prime Minister Sharif's party emerged victorious in the assembly elections held on Thursday in which a total of 26 political parties and 423 candidates took part. Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which won the last polls, could only manage to win two seats while cricketer-turned- politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf (PTI) also got as many with the Muslim Conference bagging three. It was expected that there would be a stiff competition between the three mainstream parties — Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), PPP and Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf but the PML-N routed them, stunning political pundits.
A total of 2.674 million Pakistan's Kashmiris exercised their right to franchise on Thursday to elect members for the PoK legislative assembly, which will be the ninth since the parliamentary form of government was introduced there in 1975. While the region is spread over 14,245 square kilometres, the polling process is not restricted to this area and instead stretches to entire Pakistan because members for 12 out of the 41 directly elected seats are elected by 438,884 voters living in various parts of the country. Some 12 are reserved for refugees from Kashmir in Pakistan.