It seems Hakimullah is heading ECP: Asfandyar

Published: May 6, 2013

Asfandyar Wali hits out at poll supervisory body over relentless assaults against ANP politicians, supporters.

ISLAMABAD: His party is under siege. It has borne the brunt of Taliban violence together with other liberal political groups. He is disillusioned but outspoken. Asfandyar Wali Khan, the chief of Awami National Party (ANP), blames the election authorities for their ‘failure’ to provide security to election candidates.

“It appears that Hakimullah Mehsud [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief] and not Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, is heading the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),” Asfandyar told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

The TTP has vowed to target moderate and liberal-minded political parties like the ANP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in its attempt to disrupt next week’s parliamentary elections. So far, the group has mounted several attacks on the three parties in parts of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and tribal regions.

“It appears that Mehsud decides who should and who shouldn’t contest the elections,” said a bitter Asfandyar. “There is no hope when the referee [ECP] is reluctant to protect the election candidates against violence,” he added. His party has repeatedly threatened to take legal action against the ECP for its decision of decreasing security protocol of its leaders in the run-up to the elections.

While the political campaigns of right-wing parties are in full swing, the ANP, MQM and PPP haven’t been able to canvass for votes. “How can we campaign while our politicians and supporters are dying in targeted attacks?” asked Asfandyar. “Our hands have been bound while the killers are running amok.”

The ANP chief said that his party was being compelled to pull out of the elections. On Saturday, a senior leader of the party, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, said that the relentless strikes against some political parties would make the election result suspect.

Notwithstanding the deadly Taliban violence, Asfandyar said that he still ‘believes in peace negotiations’ with the militants. However, he blamed other political leaders for their apathy. “All our efforts to make peace with the TTP ended up in smoke, because PML-N president Nawaz Sharif, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Syed Munawwar Hassan, refused to cooperate.

In February, the TTP had said in a video message that the group was willing to enter into peace negotiations with the government if Nawaz, Maulana Fazl or Munawwar Hassan acted as guarantors. But Asfandyar complained that “none of these politicians are willing to take the initiative”.

On the political front, Asfandyar unleashes a volley of criticism against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, who dubbed him as ‘American agent’ in his speech at a public rally on April 4 in Peshawar. “If I’m an American agent, then Imran is an agent of Jews,” said Asfandyar in a bitter tone.

Incensed by Imran’s scathing criticism of top political leaders of the country, Asfandyar said that the PTI chief “considers himself Alexander the Great who would take over Pakistan”.

He accused Imran of violating all norms of politics and using indecent language against his political rivals. “Imran has failed to become a popular leader. Now, he’s desperate. And in his desperation, he’s badmouthing all his rivals,” said Asfandyar. Surprisingly, Asfandyar doesn’t agree with leaders from mainstream political parties who believe that Imran would win popular votes in the May 11 elections.

Asked about the possibility of forming a coalition government with PTI if the party wins majority in the elections, the ANP chief said, “It’s too early to talk about alliances and coalitions.

During the interview Asfandyar also spoke his mind on regional issues, especially about the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan. He advised both Islamabad and Kabul to accept the reality that peace and stability was essential for the progress of both countries. “”Peace and stability in Afghanistan mean peace and stability in Pakistan.  Peace and stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan are interlinked,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2013.

Reader Comments (16)

  • Kamran
    May 6, 2013 - 5:13AM

    Imran’s statements in Swabi and Buner shows he is falling from grace, lacks political maturity and ethics. Morover, the whole speech was a pack of lies. He said ANP did nothing in 5 years except killing thousands of Pashtuns. Honestly he he is making a mockery of himself in the world thru these statements.

    Recommend

  • asim
    May 6, 2013 - 5:18AM

    What did you do in the last 05 years? You could not control Taliban; you deserve not to be a leader of even pushtons who are brave people

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    May 6, 2013 - 6:29AM

    Had the political parties in Govt. done anything worthwhile in the last 5 years on the counter-terrorism front, we won’t have Taliban breathing down our throats. As far as his comment on IK is concerned, I will re-confirm IK’s speech, but if IK did say that, it was unfair on his part.

    Recommend

  • BILAL
    May 6, 2013 - 6:49AM

    No Fake CRYING Please.

    Recommend

  • BILAL
    May 6, 2013 - 6:50AM

    hahahahhaha ANP is claiming to be a liberal party, LOL what a joke.

    Recommend

  • Akmal
    May 6, 2013 - 6:54AM

    No doubt, ANP did some good and significantly fighting against extremist thinking. Lets acknowledge at least this service of the party.

    Recommend

  • A. Khan
    May 6, 2013 - 7:02AM

    When the Pakistani public was dying, there was no action from Afsandyar even though his party was in power in KP. Now that his own party is being targeted suddenly its the responsibility of the ECP. What planet is is he living on ?

    Recommend

  • Paratha Khan
    May 6, 2013 - 7:38AM

    @asim: You are clueless.

    Recommend

  • H.A. Khan
    May 6, 2013 - 7:47AM

    This is very unfair statement about ECP and Justice (R ) Fakhruddin Ebrahim

    Mr Wali,even in five years party was in power and your party minister ruined Railway Ministry etc you used to spend time in Dubai/USA
    Why was law and order situation not improved in last 5 years. The government ruined the Institutions of the country and made them dysfunctional

    Recommend

  • M2A
    May 6, 2013 - 8:02AM

    When did Hakimullah get transferred to ECP? I am quite sure he was running the province for the last 5 years.

    Recommend

  • Max
    May 6, 2013 - 8:06AM

    What u sow, shall u reap. You are the one who’s desperate.

    Recommend

  • khattak
    May 6, 2013 - 8:26AM

    ANP was cheated once again by establishment during their last 5 years rule. The likes of Fazalulah were let go during army operations. Smart policies of establishment killed 2 birds with one stone. ANP is left at the mercy of terrorist for supporting army operations.

    Recommend

  • Shahid Shah
    May 6, 2013 - 8:42AM

    People of KPK suffered most in ANP tenure in power. They got vote on Pashtun slogan but forgot their people during last five years. We will not vote them another hundred years

    Recommend

  • kamran
    May 6, 2013 - 1:04PM

    @BILAL:
    What is so funny about it? Do u know the meaning of liberalism?

    Recommend

  • May 6, 2013 - 2:34PM

    Till yesterday, all were shamelessly blaming RAW, MOSSAD, KGB for bomb blasts and now everybody got enlightenment to accuse the correct elements. The country would have been better had these leaders spoken truth right from beginning. The politicians and mullahs groomed those beasts and let loose on the nation. Now we cannot get the government as per our choice.

    Recommend

  • ali
    May 6, 2013 - 3:06PM

    @Shahid Shah:
    the short memory and shortsightedness of people like u is making the Taliban strong. if u anp was not in power, situation in whole kp would have been worse than in swat and bajawarr.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan