PESHAWAR: As Islamabad comes under increasing pressure from Washington, one political leader on Sunday reminded that Pakistan is a sovereign state and it would not accept any dictation from any side.
This was stated by Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Sherpao while addressing a mammoth gathering in Sherpao village, Charssada. The gathering was held on the eve of the 43rd death anniversary of his brother former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor and Pashtun leader Shaheed Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao.
Sherpao, a former federal interior minister, said that Pakistan has an independent foreign policy and had every right to protect its national interests, therefore it would not allow any power to undermine its independent status at any cost.
He also regretted the inclination of certain international powers had always been towards India, stating that it was not acceptable and it has been a source of great concern. The Pakistani nation, he said, desired good relations with all neighbouring countries based on equality.
Despite attempts by some, he said that balance of power between Pakistan and India remains essential for peace and stability in the region.
He also paid rich tributes to Sherpao for his services to the Pashtun cause, adding that he never compromised on his principles and had laid down his life for the great cause. He commended him with instilling a political consciousness amongst the people and for his sacrifices.
The QWP leader also took a swipe at Islamabad for its financial policies towards the provinces. He lamented that a sense of deprivation was developing amongst the smaller federating units due to the delay in giving the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, deprivation in the way projects have been included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), restriction on homeless tribal people in other provinces and maltreatment of Pashtuns, including the killing of South Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud in an alleged encounter in Karachi.
He demanded that all demands made by those at a sit-in outside the National Press Club in Islamabad must be accepted.
Sherpao also regretted how the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had adopted a step-motherly attitude towards the smaller provinces. He said that Pakistan is a federation and the federal democratic dispensation would only be viable if all the federating units were given equal treatment, but the PML-N leadership had always trampled upon the rights of smaller provinces.
Unless the ruling party did not change its attitude, then it would be disastrous for the federation, he warned while reiterating his demands for the early implementation of NFC awards, including Pashtun leaders while taking key decisions, policy-making and consultation process.
“The confrontation with the state institution is very harmful to the country. The focus should be on a single-point agenda for general elections in 2018. It will help continue the democratic process and bring stability to the system” he added.
Sherpao also slammed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led provincial led government for its failure to fulfil its election promises.
With its tall claims of reformation and changes proved a lie, he said that the true face of party leadership stands exposed.
He added that the inability of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to properly plead the case of the province and had increased the hardships of the province.
Sherpao also criticised the ‘meager’ package for martyrs announced by the provincial led government. Moreover, he said that the billion tree tsunami project only existed presently on paper.
Claiming that It was a serious case of irregularity and misappropriation, he invited the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to thoroughly probe it, as he termed the provincial Ehtisab Commission redundant and dysfunctional due to political manoeuvrings and interferences.
Referring to the incidents of sexual assault and murders, which he claimed were on the rise, he said that the law and order situation in the province was deteriorating. Despite all the plaudits from the government for the reformed K-P police, he pointed out that culprits of high profile cases such as the naked parade of a teenaged girl in Dera Ismail Khan and the murder of a medical student in Kohat were still at large.
“The province has no forensic lab and it has to seek Punjab’s help in every matter,” Sherpao pointed out.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2018.