PESHAWAR: Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan on Friday said the federal government should merge Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before the 2018 general elections otherwise it should be ready to face consequences.
“If the government doesn’t give tribal people representation in the KP Assembly in the upcoming elections, our party will not tolerate it,” he warned while addressing a public meeting in connection with the death anniversary of former minister and senior party leader Bashir Ahmad Bilour here in Wazir Bagh area.
Bashir Bilour and nine others were killed when a suicide bomber targeted an ANP rally in Peshawar on Dec 22, 2012. The attack left 18 people wounded, while Bashir’s elder brother, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, narrowly escaped it.
The ANP has lost over 800 leaders and workers in suicide attacks and targeted killings over the years.
With the place decorated with party flags, the people and senior ANP leaders attended the death anniversary function in large numbers.
Asfandyar Wali Khan said the merger of Fata with KP was inevitable and that his party would not tolerate any delay in that respect.
“The ANP wants the representation of tribal people in the provincial assembly in the next elections at any cost,” he said, adding that the country was currently in deep crisis.
The ANP chief said a federal minister had claimed that 24 points of the Fata reforms package had been implemented and only one point had been awaiting implementation.
“I ask the minister to ensure action on the remaining one point as soon as possible,” he said.
Mr Asfandyar urged Pakhtuns to forge unity to restore durable peace in the region. He said Pakhtuns had badly suffered in the four decades long war fought on their lands.
“It is my strong desire to see durable peace on this land,” he said, adding that Pakhtuns should be vigilant otherwise they would be ruined.
The ANP chief said his grandfather, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and his companions had made a struggle for peace and that the party would continue furthering their mission.
He criticised ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan for ‘not accepting’ the disqualification of party secretary general Jehangir Tareen by the Supreme Court in the assets declaration case.
“When a court disqualifies the leader of other political party, Imran Khan declares the entire party corrupt but now as the Supreme Court has disqualified Jehangir Tareen, Imran doesn’t accept it,” he said.
Mr Asfandyar said the court had declared Imran’s ‘ATM’ (Tareen) dishonest and corrupt but the PTI chief wasn’t accepting its ruling.
He claimed that the KP ministers became approvers against his own chief minister.
The ANP chief urged the people to wipe out the PTI from the province in the next general elections.
“The people should throw bat (PTI’s election symbol) into the Bara River in the next elections,” he said.
ANP central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain told participants that Bashir Bilour had sacrificed his life for peace in the country.
He said Pakhtuns had rendered huge sacrifices before and after the Partition.
The ANP leader said Ghaffar Khan fought for the freedom of his nation, while his son, Wali Khan, made a struggle for democracy in the country.
He regretted that peace had not been restored in the country though hundreds of ANP leaders and workers had scarified their lives.
Mr Hussain blamed both federal and provincial governments for the resurgence of militancy and alleged that the ruling parties had supported and sympathised with terrorist groups.
He said the PTI had offered militants to open offices in the province, while the federal and Punjab governments were reluctant to take action against 70 terrorist outfits.
The ANP leader said he was optimistic that his party would win the coming elections to form the next government in the province. -DN