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February 12, 2020

Aftab Sherpao demands fresh elections: 45th death anniversary of Hayat Sherpao marked


February 12, 2020

CHARSADDA: Demanding the holding of a free and fair election, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) head Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said on Tuesday that controlled democracy had been imposed on the country.

“The selected ones can't take the place of the truly elected leadership. Therefore, a free and fair election should be held to give the people the chance to elect their true leaders,” he said.

“Replicas cannot take place of originals as controlled democracy cannot take place of real democracy, and selected cannot take place of elected. Kaptan cannot take place of politicians that's why we demand fresh election,” he elaborated.

He expressed these views while addressing a well-attended gathering at Sherpao village here to mark the 45th death anniversary of his elder brother Shaheed Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao. A large number of QWP workers wearing party caps and holding party flags were present on the occasion. They also chanted slogans eulogising the services of the martyred leader.

National Party’s Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo and the leaders of all the components of the Pakhtunkhwa Jamhoori Ittehad were also present on the occasion. QWP provincial Chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao also addressed the gathering. Paying rich tributes to the martyred leader, Aftab Sherpao recalled that he had always raised voice for the rights of the oppressed people and worked for their wellbeing throughout his life.

“Shaheed Hayat Mohammad Khan had entered the politics as a challenger to the status quo forces. He inspired political consciousness in Pakhtuns and played a leading role in socioeconomic development of Pakhtuns at the time,” he added. Criticizing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for its flawed policies, the QWP supremo said that his party wanted a true democracy to take root instead of the controlled one which has stifled the growth of the democratic institutions.

He added the PTI rulers had been unable to deliver on pledges keeping in view the 18-month rule of the party. He said the country was going through the worst economic crisis due to the ill-conceived policies of the incumbent rulers. The QWP leader said that record Rs11 trillion loans had been added to the national debt in the last 18 months.

“This is 40 percent increase in overall debt of Pakistan with Rs200,000 per head debt,” he maintained. Aftab Sherpao said the Finance Division and economic policies had been outsourced to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Inflation is at its highest. The prices of flour, ghee, sugar and other daily use items have registered a sharp increase.

The electricity and gas tariff as well as the prices of the POL products have been increased repeatedly. Even the prices of medicines have gone out of reach of the common man,” he said.

He said that the policies of the PTI government witnessed a change on a daily basis. He added that about 20 lakh people have become unemployed instead of creating the promised 10 million jobs. “The federation is not being run like a federation and it seems unannounced centralized government or unitary government has been imposed on the country,” he said. The QWP leader said the way the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments were being run it seemed that they were being controlled through a remote control from the centre.

“The talk of reversing the 18th Amendment, the recent changes in the Civil Procedure Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, the way the local government laws were passed are clear examples that the KP government is being run by a remote control from the centre,” he said, adding that his party supported the lawyer community in their straggle. He criticised the government for failing to convene the meeting of the Council of Common Interests which was mandatory under the constitution.

Turning to the merged districts, he said the people had attached high hopes to the merger of the former Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but now attempts were being made to reverse the process and the recent laws were a case in point. He said the people of merged districts had high hopes regarding the merger but now it seemed attempts were being made to reverse the merger.

“We struggled for the merger and will defeat and oppose any attempts to reverse it,” he vowed. Aftab Sherpao added no nation could prosper without achieving economic growth as a strong and stable economy determined a nation’s value.

“A person waving a gun in Islamabad was national news but deaths of hundreds of Pakhtuns are not. Because Islamabad and Punjab are the economic backbone of this country and they care about them, they protect them even at the cost of Pakhtuns,” he said, adding that it was the reason that the QWP proposed a vision of nationalism of 21 century.

He said the QWP was striving to unite the Pakhtuns and help them get their due rights. Aftab Sherpao said his party would also raise voice for the rights of all the oppressed segments of the society. He also announced that his party would launch a movement against the burgeoning inflation and wrong policies of the PTI government.

On Afghanistan, Aftab Sherpao said his party wanted good relations with Afghanistan. “A prosper and stable Afghanistan is our strategic depth,” he remarked, adding that all trade routes with Afghanistan should be opened for trade around the clock. He added that Afghanistan should be given access to India through the Wagah border. “Relations with India should also be improved because if any mishap happens, Indo-Pak war will be through proxy in our Pakhtuns and Baloch lands. We can't afford more wars,” he declared. He maintained that the world and regional powers had fixed their eyes on Pakistan due to its geostrategic importance, but due to the incompetence of the rulers the country had become weak and vulnerable. He added the situation in Afghanistan was alarming and the Iran-US conflict was another potential danger to the regional peace and security.

The QWP leader said the situation in the occupied Kashmir was also volatile and relations were India were at lowest ebb. He stated that due to the incompetence of the PTI rulers, the work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had slowed down while relations with China were not smooth. He said the western corridor of CPEC should be built on priority basis and all Pakhtuns lands should be integrated with it.