Mirpur (AJK)-At least 10 candidates have filed their nomination papers with the returning officer for the November 24 bye-election to the only vacant seat of the AJK Legislative Assembly from Mirpur City - III (LA-3).

The seat had fallen vacant following disqualification of the sitting MLA and minister from the constituency and minister in the incumbent Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider-led AJK government of PML-N Ch Muhammad Saeed by the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu & Kashmir in a contempt of court case on September 25 this year.

AJK elections commission has already announced the election schedule to fill in the vacant seat to the AJK Legislative Assembly to be held on November 24 this year.

The nomination papers could be filed by the candidates by the stipulated last date of October 21, 2019 (Monday).

Prominent among those candidates who filed the nomination papers during first two days of filing of the nomination papers (Friday and Saturday) with the Returning Officer / the serving Additional Session judge Mr. Muhammad Idrees Bhatti here on Saturday included Mrs. Chaudhry Muhammad Saeed, Sohaib Saeed Chaudhry (wife and son respectively of the immediate-past former AJK minister Chaudhry Muhammad Saeed), Ch. Muhamamd Ashraf (belonging to PPP AJK Chapter), Dr. Amin Chaudhry, Wasif Amin Chaudhry - besides five other candidates.

The candidates came to the office of the returning officer for filing their nomination papers, along with their jubilant supporters. A great enthusiasm was witnessed among the candidates and their supporters on this occasion.

Scores of candidates belonging to various political parties have started girding lions to contest scheduled November 24 bye-election to Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly seat of Mirpur-III, LA-3.

Though various impending contestant parties most particularly the AJK’s sitting ruling PML [N] AJK branch, PTI AJK Chapter, PPP [AJK Unit] AJK Muslim Conference and Jamaat e Islami AJK have so far to unofficially announced their respective candidates to jump in to the elections arena, yet some of the self-styled candidates have launched their respective election campaign for the scheduled bye polls on their own.

It may be mentioned here that serious differences in the ranks of the local unit of the ruling PML [N] AJK appeared when an alleged-dissident local leader and ex minister Arshad Mahmood Ghazi-backed local ‘N’ leader and sitting Chairman District Zakaat Committee Haji Iftikhar Khadim announced here on Tuesday to contest the scheduled bye-election from the above local constituency against the much-expected PTI AJK’s nominee Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, the PTI AJK Chapter’s President and former Prime Minister of the State.

Khadim announced to contest the election at a news conference here on Tuesday - despite the fact that the PML [N] has not so far announced the nomination of any of its candidate to jump into the elections arena to fight.

Sohaib Saeed Chaudhry, the son of the ex MLA and minister of the incumbent AJK government Ch. Muhammad Saeed, is considered to be the much-expected nominee of the PML [N] to contest the polls. AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan, who also heads AJK branch of the PML [ N ], has, by now, constituted parliamentary board of his party to nominate the party’s candidate to participate in the much-impending keenly-contested election - especially between the candidates to the close rivals - the PML [N] and PTI, AJK Chapters.

The candidates belonging to other political parties emerged so far to jump for fight included Ch. Muhammad Ashraf, ex city mayor and a former Special Assistant to the immediate past AJK Government as impending PPP AJK candidate and Shakoor Mughal, the much-expected candidate of the AJK Muslim Conference.

A couple of independent candidates are also expected to move to contest the polls. Final list of the candidates moving to fight will appear on the stipulated date as according to the elections schedule announced so far by the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Election Commission, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it under sub-section of Section 10 of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly Elections ordinance 1970 has already announced the following schedule of the bye-election to fill in the above vacant seat of the AJK-LA - III Mirpur -3:-

Last date of filing of nomination paper to the Returning officer is October 21.

Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on October 22.

Last date for filing of appeals will be October 26.

Hearing of the appeals will be held on October 28.

Last date of decisions on the appeals will be held the next day - October 29.

Last date for withdrawal of the candidature will be October 30.

List of the candidates will be published the same day - October 30.

Electoral symbols will be allotted on October 31.

Final list of the eligible candidates will be published the same day of October 31.

Polling will be held on November 24, 2019, according to the official notification issued by the AJK Election Commission.