The Awami National Party (ANP) has decided to contest by-elections on all national and provincial assembly seats, according to a statement issued by the ANP provincial secretariat on Tuesday.
“A committee has been formed, chaired by former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti to discuss ANP’s participation in the by-polls,” the statement said. ANP will not step back from elections and leave the field open for political rivals, it further read.
Prior to the statement being issued, ANP K-P President Senator Afrasiab Khattak alleged in a meeting of the party’s provincial cabinet that foreign elements were involved in covert efforts to prevent the party from carrying out its election campaign.
“From March 30 till May 11, a total of 31 attacks were carried out against the ANP, killing 62 workers,” Khattak said.
He claimed his party had found strong evidence of security officials and returning officers interfering in the polling process and trying to rig the elections in favour of specific parties.
“Despite widespread irregularities, our central leadership has accepted the result for the sake of continuing the democratic process,” the senator said.
Khattak further added the fact-finding committee, formed earlier to investigate ANP’s defeat, will present its findings within two months, following which, action will be taken against those found responsible.
The leader also promised action against those activists who had opposed the party’s nominated candidates during the election campaign.
Several diehard ANP workers who could not succeed in getting party tickets such as Abdullah Baitani from NA-41, Nisar Mohamand and Gul Nawaz Khan from NA-36, Imran Mohmand from PK-27 and Atifur Rehman from PK-5 had contested elections independently against ANP candidates, leaving a bulk of activists disgruntled.
Talking about internal differences regarding the leadership of the party’s president, Khattak said “ANP is united under Asfandyar Wali Khan’s leadership and those who are trying to create rifts within the party will not succeed.”
ANP achieved many successes during its tenure such as the 18th Constitutional Amendment, renaming the province and standing up to militants. Defending K-P caused the deaths of over 800 workers too, Khattak stated.
The cabinet members also decided to form the long overdue ANP Youth Wing within the next two months, with the first youth convention to be held in the city.
ANP Provincial Secretary Arbab Tahir Khan Khalil, Provincial Secretary Information Malak Ghulam Mustafa, the fact-finding committee chairperson and its members Bashir Khan Matta, Haroon Bilour, Sardar Hussain Babak and Mian Iftikhar Hussain were all present at the cabinet meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2013.
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