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ANP condemns arrest of party leaders in South Waziristan

By Bureau report
June 28, 2019

PESHAWAR: Condemning the arrest of his party leaders in South Waziristan, the Awami National Party (ANP) on Thursday asked the chief election commissioner to step down for failing to provide level playing field to all parties contesting the elections in merged districts.

In a statement, ANP provincial President Aimal Wali Khan said that raids on the party office and arrest of the workers was pre-poll rigging but the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had kept a mum over the government’s illegal steps.

The raids under the pretext of Section 144 were being conducted to pressure the political opponents, he said, adding, his party would not hesitate to take extreme step if the government continued the policy.

He warned the government was setting a dangerous precedent by using state machinery in the election campaign of its candidates. The ruling party candidates were running their political campaigns while the opposition parties were barred from holding public meetings, he maintained.

He asked the ECP to play its role to stop violation of the election code of conduct. He said the chief election commissioner to resign if he could not fulfill his constitutional responsibilities.

The arrest and intimidation of his party workers has continued in the area and the ECP’s silence was meaningful, he said, adding, the ECP allowed army personnel inside the polling station despite reservation from political parties.

He said these steps would give a message to the residents of erstwhile Fata that merger was a futile exercise as the situation had not changed in merged districts.

The ANP leader warned of repercussions if the mandate of the people in merged districts was stolen. He added that ECP, government and powers that be would be held responsible for the consequences if the elections were rigged.

The government incited people to violence and then labelled them as traitors, he argued.

He reminded that 22,000 Khudai Khidmatgars had presented themselves for arrest during the Quit India Movement, adding that ANP had a history of offering sacrifices.