Kashmir Labour Party (KLP) will take part in the forthcoming general election of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly scheduled for June 26, said a press release of the party here on Sunday.
The 49-seat semi-autonomous house has a power to elect its own prime minister and president, however it is the Federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs that calls all the shots and wields all the powers.
Of the total members, 41 are elected directly, 12 are elected from different parts of Pakistan by the immigrant Kashmiris and eight sent to the house on special reserved seats. The 12 immigrant Kashmir members play a decisive role in the election of the prime minster and president.
“In these circumstances, Labour Party Pakistan decided not to be a silent spectator and let the rulers bulldoze the fundamental economic, political and social rights of Kashmiri people,” said the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) General Secretary Tariq Farooq.
“The formation of Kashmir Labour Party is reflection of LPP’s ideological stand on the issue of national question. We stand for the right of self-determination of Kashmiri people and for an independent Kashmir, free from both Pakistan and Indian ruling clique. That is why KLP is an independent body and not a wing of LPP in Kashmir”, he said.
LPP always supported the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and considered Kashmir as an independent national state. LPP decided to support and strengthen its sister organization with the spirit of internationalism, he added.
KLP contested the 2006 elections from one constituency and got around 2.5 per cent votes. Now after five years of struggle in building the party, we are putting up four candidates, all of them lawyers, said the LPP General Secretary, Farooq. They are: Raja Sarfraz Khan from LA-20, Poonch 4; Raja Bashrat Khan from LA-14, Bagh 2; Choudhry Mumtaz Ahmed from LA-15, Bagh 3; Nisar Shah from LA-35, Jammu 6. All of them are young, energetic, practicing lawyers under 40 and in the start of their political carrier. They vowed to promote progressive and democratic political thinking and culture in the region.
In a region, which is considered to be a bastion of Jihadi outfits and religious extremist elements, the KLP wants to offer socialistic programme as an alternative to the poverty-ridden people, said one of the candidates while talking to The Express Tribune, seeking help and vote from the progressive and peace-loving people of Kashmir.
“Our main strategy during the election campaign will be to expose the menace of fundamentalism and obscurantism.” A decent vote for KLP will lay down the basis for a stronger socialist movement in Kashmir that can strengthen liberation movement and weaken the fanatics, he added.
Meanwhile Workers Party Pakistan, Awami Party Pakistan and other left wing and progressive organisations have expressed solidarity with the KLP and extended their support to the candidates.