ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party candidate Anwarul Haq on Tuesday defeated joint opposition candidate Faisal Rathore to become the Speaker of the legislative assembly of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Haq got 32 votes while Rathore secured just 15 votes in the 53-member House. Prime Minister Imran Khan's party has secured 32 seats and it became strong enough to form the government without the support of any other party.
It is for the first time that the PTI will form a government in PoK. India has rejected the recent elections in PoK, saying the "cosmetic exercise" was nothing but an attempt by Pakistan to "camouflage its illegal occupation" and that it has lodged a strong protest over the issue.
Reacting strongly on the elections in the PoK, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that Pakistan has "no locus standi on these Indian territories" and it must vacate all Indian areas under its illegal occupation.
"The so-called elections in Indian territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan are nothing but an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its illegal occupation and the material changes undertaken by it in these territories. Such an exercise can neither hide the illegal occupation by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation, and denial of freedom to people in these occupied territories," he said last week.
The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have 12 and 7 seats, respectively in the House. Both All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference and Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party won one seat each.
Chaudhry Riaz Gujjar of PTI was elected as Deputy Speaker by getting 32 votes while his opponent Nisaran Abbasi got 15 votes. Earlier, Speaker of the previous assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir administered the oath to the newly-elected members of the legislative assembly, including six women lawmakers.
The PPP and PML-N have decided to cooperate in the House to provide tough opposition to the ruling party.