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August 11, 2020

ANP demands fresh, fair election

Peshawar

August 11, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party (ANP) on Monday said that an in-house change was not the solution to the problems, demanding a free and fair election without any interference.

Talking to reporters after a meeting of the party’s central office-bearers at Bacha Khan Markaz here, ANP central vice-president Ameer Haider Hoti asked the opposition parties to set aside their differences in an effort to address the problems facing the country. He said the ANP was part of the opposition and would make efforts to unite the opposition on a single agenda. The ANP leader said the government could not hide behind the coronavirus pandemic as the economy was in shambles even before the pandemic. The former chief minister said the government statistics showed that the economy had shrunk before March, increasing poverty and joblessness. He added that the official figures for gross domestic product (GDP) showed no area of the economy was left unscathed due to poor governance. Haider Hoti said the Federal Bureau of Revenue faced a shortfall of Rs900 billion, non-tax revenue Rs102 billion while the revenue target for the fiscal year had been set at Rs4,963 billion on the directives of International Monetary Fund.

He said the revenue generation target was unrealistic and could not be achieved which would force the government either to borrow more money or stop development projects. Haider Hoti recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan used to term allocation of development funds for lawmakers as political bribe but the government members were still receiving funds while the opposition members had been left out. He said the funds that had been given to the members should be spent on education and health sectors.

The ANP leader said his party would defend the 18th Constitutional Amendment and provincial autonomy at every forum. He said despite the fact the PTI was in power in the province and Centre the government had failed to get net hydel profit. The ANP leader demanded the release of the National Finance Commission award forthwith. He also asked the government to resolve the legal, administrative and financial issues of the merged districts. Haider Hoti said that ANP supported the Afghan Loya Jirga and asked the government to act as a friendly facilitator for the Afghan peace process. He also urged other international powers to play their role in the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.

On the issue of Pak-Afghan trade, he said that the closure of border and terror acts on the border were the hurdles between the cross border trade, adding that certain forces were against the friendly relations between the two countries. These forces were not in favour of removing the distrust between the two countries, he said, adding that traders should be facilitated for the cross border trade between the two countries. He said that media freedom should be ensured and political victimisation stopped. The arrest of Jang/Geo Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and abduction of journalist Matiullah Jan was an attack on media, he added.