The provincial capital will be caught in the middle of the fallout between politicians as the government’s last ditch efforts to woo opposition parties into negotiations failed. The city is likely to remain shut on the tripartite alliance’s call on Wednesday (today) – to lodge their protest against alleged rigging and mismanagement of local government polls.
Following the moot held at the Chief Minister House on Tuesday to parlay talks into actionable results, the government sent a delegation comprising cabinet members Inayatullah Khan, Shahram Khan Tarakai, Atif Khan and Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani to Bacha Khan Markaz late in the evening, to convince Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl to call the protest off.
However, negotiations failed. Talking to the media, alliance president Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the opposition is prepared to continue sit-ins for months at length.
Protesters will gather in designated areas in the morning and then proceed to Saddar.
However, those in the business of earning a living were not all too happy about shutting down the provincial hub. Peshawar Chamber of Small Traders and Industries, jewellers and goldsmith associations addressed separate press conferences and opposed the protest call. Traders’ leader Ahtesham Haleem said the parties should sort out differences and not proceed on a collision course at the cost of the people. However, the traders remained split between the government and the tripartite alliance.
Furthermore, PPP Charsadda parted ways with the alliance’s plans. Talking to the media, PPP Charsadda President Khanamullah Khan said protests a cover-up for own failures.
After an exchange of fiery statements on Monday, few guests turned up at the APC. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s coalition partners Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan – although up in arms over alleged rigging – were represented at the moot.
Apart from the ruling parties, only Qaumi Watan Party and PML-Q honoured the invitation. The ANP, PPP and JUI-F camp as well as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had already distanced themselves from the talks.
The government nonetheless went on with the APC and following the meeting, CM Pervez Khattak shared its minutes with the media.
“We are willing to go to any extent to extinguish the LG blaze,” he said. “All attendees have agreed upon a judicial enquiry of alleged rigging,” he said, adding the government will consult the Peshawar High Court in this regard. “Its verdict will be irrevocable and accepted by everyone,” he added.
Defending his government’s position, Khattak said the attendees agreed that under the LG legislation of 2013, the Election Commission of Pakistan was responsible for conducting polls in the province. An administrative enquiry committee headed by the K-P chief secretary will take to task those found guilty of rigging or disrupting law and order.
Khattak said whoever has evidence or information regarding irregularities should bring it to the committee and the government will ensure necessary action is taken. “The government is also evaluating poll proceedings and gathering evidence,” he added.
PK-I – Government College Chowk
PK-II – Chowk Yadgar
PK-III – Namak Mandi and Qissa Khwani Bazaar
PK-IV –Fawara Chowk
PK-V and PK-VI – University Road
PK-VII – Warsak Road
PK-VIII – Charsadda Road and Bacha Khan Chowk
PK-IX – Dalazak Road
PK-X and PK-XI – Kohat Road and Dabgari Garden
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2015.
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