Hitting out at PPP, ANP pulls out of PS-94

Published: October 17, 2010
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 The spray-painted message ‘Pathan-Mohajir bhai bhai: Aman Committee’  [Pathans, Mohajirs are brothers: Peace Committee] in Orangi Town is a good indicator of how dire the situation is ahead of the by-elections today for PS-94. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

The spray-painted message ‘Pathan-Mohajir bhai bhai: Aman Committee’ [Pathans, Mohajirs are brothers: Peace Committee] in Orangi Town is a good indicator of how dire the situation is ahead of the by-elections today for PS-94. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: 

In a last-minute surprise, the Awami National Party (ANP) in Sindh announced that it will boycott the PS-94 by-election today if it is not postponed.

The ANP boycott comes after the official withdrawal date. This means that the ANP is still officially part of the by-election and it’s candidate’s name is still on the ballot papers.

The party said it would observe a “Black Day” on October 17, Sunday, and has asked the residents of Karachi to stay at home in protest against the polling in Orangi Town. This decision was taken after consultations with party workers and other supporters in the constituency, said ANP Sindh president Shahi Syed at a press conference at Mardan House Saturday evening. The government is not serious about conducting the elections and wants to sabotage the peace in the city indirectly, he said.

“Pir Mazharul Haq and other Pakistan Peoples Party ministers visited my house several times with an agenda,” said Shahi Syed. “The minister tried to persuade me to withdraw from the elections to favour the other major candidate.”

Shahi Syed said that as the government’s duty is to ensure that the voters are provided security on the day of the election, it should have also called upon the army for help. “They wanted us to surrender so that peace is restored in the city”.

“Why did the ruling party in the Sindh coalition government not deploy army officials to maintain peace in the constituency instead of asking one party to withdraw?” he asked.

Shahi Syed said that the ANP had waited till the last minute, but as the army had not been called in for additional security at the polling stations, the party had decided not to participate in the by-election.

Pillion riding

Shahi Syed also criticised the government’s decision to permit pillion riding (double-sawari) in the city just one day ahead of the polling in Orangi Town.

“It is a sensitive constituency. Even the law-enforcement agencies have declared it one of the most dangerous constituencies in the city,” he said, adding that, “lifting the ban on pillion riding means that the government wants to sabotage peace in the city.”

When Shahi Syed was told that the ban on pillion riding would actually be lifted on Monday, He said that in Pakistan, no one waits for the actual notification. “Such decisions are implemented from the time a minister makes an announcement. No one really waits until a notification is issued,” he said, adding that the PPP had not played a positive role in the whole episode.

Rangers and police

The Rangers have been given no powers, said Shahi Syed. “They have been deployed at a distance of 100 metres from the polling stations and are not allowed to interfere in the [law-enforcement] affairs. How can we contest in such a scenario?”

The ANP president said that the provincial government spends millions of rupees on the Pakistan Rangers but never allows them to operate freely. “They are maligning the name of the institution [Pakistan Rangers]. People will not trust the Rangers in future if the situation continues like this,” he said.

Target killings

Shahi Syed said that the recent wave of target killing was aimed at dissuading people from going to the polling stations so that the “Tappa Mafia” could freely operate. Miscreants have prepared plans to sabotage the elections through terrorism, he said.

“Why is it that whenever elections or such events come up in the city, target killings start in the city?”

More than 100 people were killed in August and 15 more were killed in September, he added. “Now, just days before the election, target killings have started once again.”

Quoting law-enforcement agencies, Shahi Syed said that miscreants have planned to create violence at polling stations. “We are peaceful and do not want to play with the lives of innocent people, so if the army is not deployed, we will boycott the elections,” as some polling stations are set up in the “no-go areas” of the constituency.

“Even the police and political workers cannot enter these areas, so how would voters go there to cast their votes?”

He said that the miscreants had even lodged fake FIRs against the ANP, the Sindh Dost Party and the Peoples Peace Committee workers.

Ballot boxes

Shahi Syed said that the ANP had reports that “the other party” had already filled the ballot boxes with votes and the elections were nothing more than “a drama”. “They appointed their own people as polling officers and the ballot boxes have already been filled with votes,” he alleged.

Sindhi Dost Ittehad candidate Zeenat Yasmeen also announced that the party would boycott the election.

Violence across the city

At least four people were killed and more than 20 others were injured in separate incidents of violence across the city, soon after the ANP made its announcement.

Two people were killed in Bukhari colony, Orangi Town, when unidentified armed men on motorcycles opened fire at a minibus. Three people were injured in the incident, police officials said. A sweet shop was also attacked by armed men in Timber Market, Baldia Town. The shop was packed with customers when two suspects opened fire. The owner of the shop, 26-year-old Waqas, was killed, while four customers were injured.

Separately, a man was killed when a restaurant was ambushed near Maskan Chowk, Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The restaurant owner, thirty-year-old Allah Daad, was killed. There were reports of firing from Banaras Chowk, Sohrab Goth, Safoora Goth, Pehalwan Goth, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and North Nazimabad.

According to the police, three vehicles were also set ablaze by rioters.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Oct 16, 2010 - 6:52PM

    But.. rangers are deployed already.. what’s the problem?Recommend

  • Ammad Hafeez
    Oct 16, 2010 - 6:56PM

    Due to fear of Lost in By-Election of PS-94, ANP boycott the election while rangers and Police all are deployed before a day of election. Thumbs up for MQM ;)Recommend

  • Oct 16, 2010 - 7:01PM

    oh that’s kind a shame, winning and losing is a part of democracy, what made them to run away like this when their demand of Rangers was fulfilled, oh yes may be the people’s power display by MQM through election campaign
    http://www.mqm.org/English-News/Oct-2010/news101015.htmRecommend

  • Tauseef Asghar
    Oct 16, 2010 - 7:42PM

    offcourse they dont have any true representation in Karachi. I can only laugh on them nominating a candidate even in a strong hold of mqm like orangi townRecommend

  • Hamza Baloch
    Oct 16, 2010 - 8:25PM

    Ali Raza

    Rangers in karachi from last so many years.

    even yesterday, 5 men killed :(Recommend

  • Oct 16, 2010 - 9:43PM

    Warning from Shahi Syed

    Syed added that ANP will be observing
    a black day tomorrow and requested the
    people to stay home to ensure peace in
    the city.

    3 MQM men injured and 1 died so far.Recommend

  • shakeel
    Oct 16, 2010 - 10:18PM

    It is very unusual that the sindh goverment has lift ban on pillion riding just a day before the election.The rangers should have been deployed by the goverment to ensure peace full electionRecommend

  • Oct 16, 2010 - 10:24PM

    Latest: 5 killed 21 injured… Dunya TV.Recommend

  • Ibad ullah baber
    Oct 16, 2010 - 10:46PM

    A N P bycoot of election : ANP leder did not that rangers and Police all are deployed before a day of election. It seams that ANP afraid to lose of election of PS-94. But every one know by-election will not be fair in presens of MQM.Recommend

  • A Citizen
    Oct 17, 2010 - 1:14AM

    Election commission of Pakistan has also expressed the concerns over security arrangements and demanded of deployment of the military. Government was also agreed to depute the military personnel but after last night meeting in Governor House between leaderships of MQM and PPP, the decision of deployment the military was cancelled.
    it is clear that despite the military’s presence, ANP couldn’t win the seat but the MQM also couldn’t the votes near 79 thousands by casting fake votes but its factual votes like 12 to 13 thousands. Recommend

  • ny desi
    Oct 17, 2010 - 4:16AM

    its dosnt take a guiness to guess why the MQM administration would lift ban of pillion riding a day before elections.Recommend

  • Hamza Baloch
    Oct 17, 2010 - 10:09AM

    Tanzeel

    3 Mqm men killed…. other all from anp?Recommend

  • Oct 17, 2010 - 1:38PM

    Hamza, you didn’t read “SO FAR” and timings of my post. Recommend

  • Oct 17, 2010 - 8:33PM

    I seems that it does take a genius to realize that this is not the MQM government. It is the PPP government.Recommend

  • Oct 18, 2010 - 1:31AM

    ANP is the most ideologically coommitted party of this country , ANP nevers likes to get his workers murdered for a seat.Recommend

  • Oct 18, 2010 - 1:37AM

    Asfand Yaar Wali Khan to me a very very great politician , a man with a vision, far sight, whch seldom is found here, for the sake of this country such men wth their liberar party must be tolerated.Recommend

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