PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) leader and former chief minister of Khyber-Pakhunkhwa (K-P) Ameer Haider Khan Hoti on Thursday said his party accepts the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) mandate in the province, adding the latter had a right to form the government.
Addressing party members at a reception held at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Hoti warned the emerging political force that if it failed to secure a majority, other parties would seek to take control of the legislative assembly.
He also expressed his desire to vacate the PK-23 Mardan seat in favour of the NA-9 seat – the ANP’s sole victory in the National Assembly.
The former chief executive, however, lamented his party was not allowed to contest the polls freely. “It was a dreadful situation. Party leaders and workers were targeted mercilessly. How could we contest elections in such conditions?”
In a bid to underscore the ANP’s fighting spirit and benevolence, Hoti said his party accepted defeat even though it believed the elections were rigged. He added ANP would play its due role in the opposition, claiming had other parties been in ANP’s place, they would have left the field open for the government.
But even though Hoti accepted the mandate, he did not refrain from voicing misgivings. “The Pukhtuns act first and think later. This is why the ‘change’ could only come in K-P. In other provinces, people stand firm with their own parties.”
He maintained that at the present time, Pukhtuns must support their own leadership instead of “doing new experiments.”
Also speaking on the occasion, ANP Provincial President Afrasiab Khattak admitted his party had its faults which needed to be rectified. “Rigging at the hands of the government and other elements in the elections notwithstanding, the ANP also has some faults of its own,” he said, adding the party would fix these shortcomings “at any cost”.
Khattak said ANP had already constituted a committee to investigate these faults along with all those responsible for its dismal performance in the polls. He added the party would never retreat and was waiting for the committee to unveil its report.
Khattak maintained the political landscape was changing and that some people were of the opinion the ANP was sidelined as it had no place in the current setup.
Turning his guns on the winning party, Khattak said, “The PTI’s bubble is much weaker than that of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s (MMA) and it too will burst soon.”
He claimed all decisions regarding the province were now being taken in Lahore, adding the PTI had not even held a meeting of its parliamentary committee over the formation of the government.
Khattak said there were internal rifts within the PTI’s ranks and MPA-elects had already started squabbling over ministries. “The day of elections has passed by, but its results will not be very different from the elections of 1971,” said Khattak, referring to the separation of the western and eastern wings of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2013.