People gather at the site of an explosion outside an election office of a candidate in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, April 28, 2013. — AP Photo.
A man removing ANP stickers outside the party’s election office for PK-4 due to continual attacks on his party. — Photo by INP
PESHAWAR: The defeat of Awami National Party in Saturday’s elections has disappointed its workers, who feel voters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should have thought about the party’s sacrifices against terrorism and massive social sector development during its five-year rule in the province.
ANP, which had secured 48 provincial assembly and 12 National Assembly seats during the 2008 elections, got only five provincial assembly and one National Assembly seats in the May 11, 2013 polls.
According to ANP workers, their party didn’t run electoral campaign due to terrorist threats but had thought the people would realise the gravity of the situation and vote for its nominees, but all that proved wrong on May 11.
“It is a great disappointment to lose the polls despite establishment of schools, colleges and universities and massive infrastructural development. The people’s vote against us is really worrying,” said ANP activist Sarfraz Khan from Mardan.Mr Sarfraz said ANP lost in PK-29 constituency though its government had constructed and widened many roads and carried out massive development work there but all that didn’t work.
“ANP hadn’t won this seat in the last elections but despite that, the constituency had seen tangible development over the last five years. We feel the local residents failed to recognise either massive development done by the ANP government or the killings of ANP activists by the Taliban,” he said.
Mohammad Javed, a campaigner for the embattled party, in Peshawar said ANP leaders avoided public meetings amid militant attacks but later stopped holding the same to safeguard the people.
“In Karachi, militants killed Sadiq Khattak, a candidate for a National Assembly, along with his six-year-old son in an attack but even then, the party didn’t get sympathy votes.
“The people in Sindh and Punjab have woken up but Pakhtuns are still sleeping. ANP secured provincial autonomy and a proper name for the province, but the people didn’t pay it back,” he said.
In some constituencies, like NA-2, Peshawar, ANP candidate Arbab Najeebullah Khalil bagged 12,126 votes and remained third in the contest. Last time, he had received 23,992 votes and finished second.
“Despite losing the seat in 2008, Najeebullah has actively been serving the people of his area. Be it repairs and change of electricity transformers, problems with police, pavement of streets and other crisis, the people immediately received his help when he was called,” Mr Javed said.
ANP workers in Mardan feel embarrassed at the huge election defeat of their party.
“We hadn’t expected such a defeat but we were sure of sweeping the polls due to massive development work done by our government over the last five years,” ANP activist Mohammad Abdullah said.
He said former chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti had spent around Rs5 billion for development in Mardan’s urban and rural areas but the election results brought ANP activists a great deal.
Mr Abdullah said the people had betrayed those, who had restored peace in the province at the cost of their lives.
“It was because of the ANP government that kept the Taliban away. The Taliban would have established their police stations and courts if ANP government hadn’t stopped them,” he said.
According to him, before 2008, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government had shut its eyes to the execution and slaughtering of the people in Swat but it was ANP that smashed the Taliban network and provided much-need peace to the valley residents.