Pashtun leader Asfandyar Wali Khan seeks joint session of parliament on Pak-India tension

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should rush back home and hold a joint session of parliament to discuss ways of defusing tension between Pakistan and India.

“The recent statement issued after the corps commanders’ conference regarding readiness to give a befitting response to India’s threats shows something is cooking,” Mr Khan said at a press conference held at Bacha Khan Makraz here on Wednesday.

Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, while chairing the conference on Monday, had said the Pakistan Army was “fully prepared to respond to the entire spectrum of direct and indirect threats”, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations. The ANP chief said the prime minister should come home and consult all parties on the challenges the country was facing internally and externally. “If there is any need to make changes in our internal and external policies to meet the challenges, the PM should consult all parties on the matter without wasting any time.”

He announced that the ANP would hold demonstrations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh on Oct 4 to protest what he called economic deprivation of Pakhtuns and denial of due share of the militancy-infested provinces in the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. He regretted that Prime Minister Sharif had not fulfilled the promises he made about the corridor’s western route on the media after holding a multi-party conference.

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The ANP chief said the KP government should explain and share details if the federal government had removed their reservations.

In reply to a question about the recent wave of attacks in Quetta, Mardan and Mohmand Agency, he said terrorists were changing their modus operandi and were now targeting “Pakhtun intelligentsia”. He termed it a conspiracy to push the Pakhtuns to the wall.

The ANP chief, who earlier survived a suicide bombing in his hometown of Charsadda, called upon the federal government to take concrete measures to implement the National Action Plan against extremism and terrorism. He said military operations had eliminated terrorists, but implementation of all points of NAP was needed to end terrorism. “Only Operation Zarb-i-Azb is not enough to win fight against terrorism; there is a need to implement the entire NAP.”

Mr Khan was of the opinion that the interior minister and the entire federal government machinery did not seem to be serious in implementing the plan, adding that even the Chief Justice of Pakistan had pointed this out.

He said that if attacks continued to target people in a specific part of the country, it would create a sense of deprivation and encourage extremist thought.

Answering a question about Afghan refugees, the ANP chief criticised the KP government for forcing the Afghan refugees, who were once invited here as families of Mujahideen, to leave the province. “Yesterday they were welcomed with garlands and now they are being forced to leave,” he regretted. -DN

BY SADIA QASIM SHAH

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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