Awami National Party’s (ANP) efforts to bring political parties to an all parties conference (APC) received a major blow, as opposition parties in decided against attending the moot.
On Wednesday, three major opposition parties including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Peoples Party Sherpao (PPPS) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) said they will not attend the August 9 conference convened by ANP to formulate suggestions to control power cuts in the province.
ANP leaders had visited JUI-F provincial headquarters earlier in the day to extend an invitation for the conference.
Speaking at a press conference at assembly secretariat, opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani said: “We shall constitute a committee of all opposition parties to arrange protests across the province.” He said they had talked to Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to pressurise the government through protests as well.
Durrani criticised the ANP-led coalition government, saying it had done nothing to solve the load-shedding issue in its tenure and was rather preoccupied with changing the province’s name.
“We are not going to sit with the government at this moment and share the responsibility for their sins,” he said, adding that the opposition would frame its own strategies. Durrani also said it was strange that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was nowhere to be seen in the APC discussion.
PPPS Parliamentary leader Sikandar Sherpao said the ANP-led government was not serious about solving people’s problems. Terming K-P the province worst-hit by the crisis, he said that the prolonged electricity cuts were affecting the province’s economy as well.
Meanwhile PML-N general secretary Rehmat Salam Khattak maintained the power crisis was an issue for government to solve, not the opposition.
JUI-F spokesperson Jalil Jan told The Express Tribune that the power crisis issue should have been brought to the table four years ago. He said the proposed APC was of little interest to the people now and would be more of a ‘political show’.
PTI leader Shah Farman termed the APC a ‘political gimmick’. PML-N stalwart Rahmat Salam meanwhile, termed it a ‘post-dated cheque for a failing bank’.
On Tuesday, while ANP approached JI leaders to ensure their presence at the conference, both PML-N and PTI announced their intentions to not attend it. Following the K-P assembly session, it appears JUI-F and PPPS have followed suit. JI maintained it will decide after consultation with other opposition parties.
However, JI provincial spokesperson Israrullah said the party held ANP equally responsible with the federal government for the apathy shown towards the power crisis over the past four years.
PML-Q Information Secretary Nighat Orakzai said her party will attend the APC. However, she said that APC should have been called at the central level instead of a provincial level. Her party also believed that it should have been held earlier. Also Pakhutnkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUIS) said that they will attend the proposed moot.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.