After more than a year, I’ve decided to publish The Side Mirror twice a week.
Should I inform you that it was published three times a week from September 2021 to November 25?
Certainly not. Last Sunday, I received a phone call from a friend in Islamabad informing me that The Side Mirror had gone missing on Thursday. That was the only call I got. It is more than sufficient. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting any nationwide uproar over the miss.
The problem is I am getting more and more engaged with the day-to-day affairs of the publication, production, circulation, financing, government and private ad agencies, and so on. For editorial stuff, thank God, I have a team of trusted and hardworking people. In recent days, I had to say goodbye to one of my very dear colleagues. That is part of the business. Leave-taking and saying goodbye are painful moments.
I have enough to say about my work, but that will get you bored.
Instead, we should discuss politics – local government elections of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Contrary to the old belief that Azad Jammu and Kashmir always belong to Islamabad, the recent local council polls in Muzaffarabad and Neelum and Jhelum valleys have defied the notion.
I eagerly watch electoral politics – whether it is a by-poll, general elections or local government polls. These polls tell which party stands where.
My gut feeling was that the Pakistan Democratic Movement government parties would win the polls because they are the proud occupiers of Islamabad.
But the results left me stunned.
The results of the 669 wards of urban and rural councils in three districts of Muzaffarabad division were announced by the AJK Election Commission. According to the results, while the PTI was able to elect its men to the district councils of the Neelum and Jhelum valleys, the combined opposition PPP and PML-N were set to elect theirs to the Muzaffarabad District Council and Municipal Corporation.
The PPP received 16 seats in Muzaffarabad’s 41-member District Council, followed by the PTI with 15, the Muslim Conference (MC) with three, the PML-N with two, and the Jammu Kashmir People’s Party with one (JKPP). One seat’s outcome had been withheld.
After 31 years, this was the first phase of local body elections in Azad Kashmir; elections were held in the Muzaffarabad division. This division is divided into three districts. The PTI’s substantial advantage in the first phase of Azad Kashmir’s local body elections is the outcome of the existing coalition government’s completely inadequate economic policies and failure to keep promises made to the people. Previously, the PTI had considerable success in the by-elections held on October 16, demonstrating that the narrative of PTI Chairman Imran Khan has inspired the people of the entire country. The vast number of people who attended Imran Khan’s latest rally in Rawalpindi demonstrated the impact of his message.
The issue should serve as a wake-up call for the government. The current coalition government came to power by blaming public difficulties and rising inflation. Despite the passing of eight months, it has yet to deliver any respite to the people. By increasing inflation rate over eight months, the government has broken all inflation records. If the government wishes to disrupt Imran Khan’s narrative, it must provide immediate relief to the people; otherwise, Imran Khan’s narrative may cause problems for the government in the general elections.
Since the PTI has a significant advantage in the Azad Kashmir local body elections, the leaders of the government and other parties opposed to the PTI should gladly accept the results, and Imran Khan should also accept the results rather than continuing the politics of chaos in the upcoming general elections. The country cannot afford political instability at this time.