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Whose citizens? Counting stopped over nationality status of two north Kashmir candidates

Srinagar:  Two Pakistani brides, who contested the DDC polls have accused political parties of using influence to force the election authorities to stop counting in two constituencies of north Kashmir.

Soomia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam, who are settled in Kashmir with their ex-militant husbands, had filed nomination papers for District Development Council election from Dragmulla and Sonawari constituencies respectively.

The duo campaigned hard for the elections. However, on Tuesday, the counting was halted after authorities claimed that they have allegedly “furnishing wrong” information in Form 6.

Secretary State Election Commission directed to defer the counting of votes in Dragmulla constituency where from Sadaf is contesting.  Similarly, counting hadn’t started at Sonawari till this report was filed.

“They know that I am winning from Dragmulla constituency. People came out and cast vote for me, which has unnerved other candidates,” Sadaf said.

She claimed that she had submitted all the required documents, which were duly checked by the election authorities when she filed the nomination.

“I campaigned for one and a half months. No such complaint was filed. The government has no issues. It is the handiwork of local parties who see me as a tough competitor,” she said.

 Sadaf said local leaders fear that she might win the election. “Soon after I settled here, I have been a part of the UMEED programme. People know me and my way of public dealing. Even exit polls show that I am winning the polls. Local parties have enacted a drama to pin me down,” she said.

Sadaf, a mother of four children had settled in Kashmir in 2010 with her ex-militant Abdul Majeed Bhat.  Both had arrived in Kashmir under the Omar Abdullah government’s rehabilitation policy.

Sadaf hogged headlines for being the first women from Pakistan Administered Kashmir to take part in the political process in Jammu and Kashmir.

 Her election symbol was a laptop and there were 12 candidates in the fray.