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September 10, 2018

ANP leaders say govt silence demoralising society

National

September 10, 2018

PESHAWAR: Criticising the government for not taking concrete steps for eliminating the threat to Awami National Party (ANP) central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the party leaders said the government's silence was demoralising the society.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain told The News that a fresh alert has been issued to him about the possible attempt on his life. The ANP leader said that he had been told that the attacker had entered Pakistan to target him.

He said that he had been advised to restrict his movement and enhance his security. "I have been given seven policemen so what else should be done for my protection," he said. He added that he had already left his home. "I don't visit my home, cannot pray in a mosque and have restricted my interaction with my people," he said.

ANP's provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak said the government has restricted its role to that of the post office as it only informed citizens about the threat to their lives.

He said the government was not taking concrete steps to eliminate the menace that was demoralising the society. "It is lamentable that a senior leader of the ANP was being held incommunicado. It is a kind of house arrest," he said.

Another ANP leader and former senator Afrasiab Khattak said that when the institutions had got such comprehensive information about the attackers they should have arrested the attackers or eliminated the threat to Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

He said that alerts could be diversion or deflection but are not convincing as the ANP leaders demand concrete steps for putting an end to such threats.

Afrasiab Khattak said that there was a pattern in the terrorist attacks. He said the attacks on ANP leaders and workers started from 2008 and have continued even after a decade.

Around 800 ANP activists were martyred during this period, he said, adding the attacks on the activists of a party that believed in non-violence and stood for peace raised many questions. "If you look at the target of the terrorism on both sides of Durand Line you will notice that Pakhtuns are being targetted on both sides," he added.

He said the state claimed that 60,000 people had been killed by terrorists in Pakistan. "But they do not give the breakup of the death toll as it would disclose that the absolute majority of the victims are Pakhtuns," he argued.

He said Mian Iftikhar Hussain was among the people in the forefront against the rigging in the recent election. "It showed that the non-state actors wanted to silence political dissent. The so-called non-state actors always had the state patronage or support," he maintained.

Afrasiab Khattak said earlier Pakhtun nationalists faced imprisonment or were forced into exile to disconnect them from their people but now terrorism was being used as an instrument for this purpose.

He said it would be appropriate to say that the state has failed to protect Pashtuns in general and Pashtun nationalists in particular because its hasn't arrested killers of even eight persons among the 800 martyrs.

"It is a multiple failure. The state could not provide security. It could not arrest the killers. If the state didn't take the issue seriously than we would be justified to say that this was happening in connivance with the terrorists or it is incompetent," he added.

Afrasiab Khattak said that ANP demanded the state to ensure security to all citizens including politicians. "All eyes were not on the terrorists but all eyes were on the state as leaders like Mian Iftikhar Hussain has been on the hit-list for a very long time and suffered a huge loss following his son's martyrdom," he said.

Afrasiab Khattak said that ANP was a political party and cannot take up arms against such elements. "The ANP would ask the state to fulfill its responsibility and take action against such elements. But if the state continues its policy of no-action then ANP would ponder as to how to deal with this problem," he added.

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