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No free election possible sans level playing field to all: ANP

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) Central General Secretary and former Information Minister KP, Mian Iftikhar Hussain here Thursday said level-playing field to all political parties was pre-requisite for free, fair and transparent election and urged Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Government to ensure foolproof security to politicians in this regard.

“Assassination attempt on Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal ahead of general election campaign was symbolic and an eye opener for the ECP to ponder over provision of level playing field to the political players participating in the polls,” he told APP during an exclusive interview here today. He demanded thorough investigation into the assault to expose the mastermind behind it.

If such incidents of high profile continued to happen in the country before the possible would certainly created doubts over fairness of the polls on the part of ECP.

The ANP leader was pessimist about transparent polls as he observed that efforts was underway to give free hands to a political party of choice while others were being pushed to wall through NAB cases and targeting their leadership.

He recalled that ANP was not provided level playing fields in the last general elections as it workers and leaders including Bashir Bilour were targeted by the terrorists and as such others political forces cashed on the opportunities.

The ANP feared that if such attacks continued unabated, there is every possibility of postponement of the general elections and such development would not be in the country’s interest.

“From Day one, ANP wants holding of general election on time and would not support any delay,” he said, adding free and transparent election was panacea of all problems.

The ANP leader said Pakistan can move on road to progress and development only through free, peaceful and transparent election by accepting mandate of people.  He said problems of people could be addressed and economic prosperity can be achieved only if all state institutions worked under its constitutional domain.

Hussain said anti corruption slogans of PTI Chief have proved merely a political gimmick as he could not further mislead people on this issue as the ground reality was totally different in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

He said Imran Khan had included elimination of corruption in its 11-points election manifesto at Minar-e-Pakistan’s show but PTI has failed to control this menace during last five years in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mian Iftikhar said PTI had made its own created KP Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) toothless by incorporating several amendments in it.

He said PTI’s good governance and merit-based policy in recruitment has been further questioned when NAB has taken serious notice of alleged illegal appointments in KPEC. He claimed that not a single person was brought to book by KPEC, thus exposing PTI’s claims of good governance and across the board-accountability in the province.

He said anti corruption slogans of PTI Chief was further exposed when Qaumi Watan Party (QWP)’s ministers were ousted on charges of corruption by Imran Khan and were again allowed to join government in the province.

Mian Iftikhar said Chief Minister KP, Pervez Khattak has started appearance before NAB in mega corruption scandal such as leasing of 275 acres of Forest Department land in scenic Malam Jabba in Swat and alleged use of KP government’s helicopter by PTI Chief Imran Khan and resultantly, the confidence of masses on PTI’s anti corruption campaign has been shattered.

He accused PTI of betraying KP people on the name of change, adding PTI had overburdened province of billion rupees loans obtained for financing what he called the futile Peshawar’s metro project, which the coming regime will handle and the generation will have to pay heavy price for it.

“Peshawar is converted into ditches and trenches, and environmental and traffic chaos continues due to ill planning of metro project by PTI,” he remarked.

Iftikhar claimed KP province had owed around Rs37billion loan in 65 years while about Rs356b record loans were taken during last five years and people would face its brunt in the upcoming years.

He said recent remarks of Chief Justice of Pakistan about poor services in social sectors including health, education, potable water and deplorable condition of jails and psychiatric hospital in KP have exposed the good governance’s claims of PTI.

The ANP leader said CM KP had lost majority in Provincial Assembly after parting ways by Jumat e Islami and will unlikely to pass the KP budget 2018-19. “From where the Govt. employees would get salaries and pensions besides fulfill developmental and non developmental expenditure if the budget was not passed,” he said, PTI Govt was morally and constitutionally bound to pass the budget for fiscal year 2018-19.

Foreseeing no future for MMA in upcoming election,  the ANP leader said people knew that two of the major parties in the five parties religious alliances with different ideologies were making politics primarily to reach power corridors in Islamabad and Peshawar.

The ANP leader said increase in polling stations, special training to election staff, computerization of polling process, bio metric system and adaptation of a comprehensive mechanism for oversees Pakistanis facilitation would help pave way for free and transparent holding of general elections.

He said election was around the corner but not solid progress was made for introduction of bio-metric system and we have no other option but to go for general election through previous procedure.

The ANP leader urged political parties, institutions and people to get united for general election 2018 the only way forward to take the country to new height of progress and development.

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