For the first time in more than four years, opposition parties in the province will sit together on Thursday (today) to discuss problems plaguing Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the tribal belt.
The focus of the All Opposition Parties Conference (AOPC) will be the energy crisis, law and order problems in K-P, and operation in the tribal belt.
The AOPC has been called by the main opposition party in the K-P Assembly, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).
JUI-F provincial spokesperson Haji Abdul Jalil Jan told The Express Tribune that all opposition parties have agreed to attend the proposed debate.
Although the main agenda of this meeting is the energy crisis, Jan said that opposition parties will try to build a consensus on diverse issues, including military operations and security problems.
In August, opposition parties had refused to participate in an All Parties Conference (APC) called by the provincial government. Their unanimous boycott had forced the K-P government to change its name to energy conference.
However, those attending the meeting are unsure whether it will help build any meaningful pressure on the government.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial general secretary Rahmat Salam Khattak said that they were open to whatever issues come up at the meeting.
On the other hand, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) provincial spokesperson Israrullah Advocate said that the APC will be able to achieve much. “We are attending the conference because the opposition parties called us,” he said, adding that the JUI-F’s loyalties may lie with the federal government. JUI-F being the main opposition, however, can benefit from the session, he said.
Israrullah said that K-P is producing excess electricity in the region but as it is lumped together with other areas residents have to pay a higher price to receive the electricity they generate.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was initially delaying attending the conference due to tension between the PTI and JUI-F. However, the party later decided to participate. PTI’s provincial general secretary Shah Farman said they are only attending the conference to push their own point of view.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2012.
More in KP & FATARevenue officer narrowly escapes abduction