RAWALPINDI: The Awami National Party (ANP) has expressed serious reservations over the withdrawal of security cover of the ANP leadership by the election authorities.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the judiciary and other political groups have ignored the warnings issued by terrorists immediately after the election schedule was announced,” ANP spokesperson Senator Zahid Khan told The Express Tribune in an exclusive chat.
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has warned that its fighters will target politicians from secular parties, especially the ANP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Peoples Party, in the run-up to next month’s elections.
“ANP’s top leadership is on the hit-list of terrorists. Several attacks have been made [by terrorists] on our leaders since the security cover was withdrawn,” Senator Zahid said. “Our leaders are being targeted in Bannu, Swabi, Charsadda and Swat,” he said referring to the recent attacks on ANP politicians.
He claimed that a conspiracy has been hatched to sideline the ANP and bring in ‘fundamentalist political parties’. However, he would not name the conspirators. “Free and fair election is not possible if the environment is not conducive and people are barred from exercising their right to vote,” he added.
Senator Zahid said his party has decided against holding public meetings in view of the increasing frequency of Taliban attacks. Instead the party decided to go door-to-door to muster support for election.
“We will write a letter to the chief election commissioner to convey our reservations. I will also raise the issue on the floor of the Senate,” he said. “We’ll work out a future course of action after the CEC response.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2013.
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