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Moment of truth: ANP’s electoral rout


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ANP CHIEF Asfandyar Wali Khan has offered a mature, forthright analysis into his party’s failure to perform on May 11, highlighting the party’s own weaknesses as well as the bloody campaign the TTP conducted against the ANP. Addressing a news conference on Thursday, the ANP leader showed grace in defeat, saying that his party accepted the poll results, though with reservations, and would sit in the opposition. The party has been reduced to one seat in the National Assembly, while it has gone from ruling KP to four seats in the provincial legislature.

There is much weight in Asfandyar Wali’s claim that TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud set the election agenda as far as disallowing the ANP to freely campaign is concerned. The party has paid with blood for its opposition to the militants. While other parties the Pakistani Taliban deem ‘secular’ were also targeted, clearly the ANP’s cadre bore the brunt. According to Asfandyar Wali, 61 party activists were killed between March 30 and May 11. Nevertheless, poor governance over the past five years was a major factor in the drubbing the party received at the ballot box. For the voters, corruption and the ANP government’s failure to maintain law and order in a province on the frontline of the battle against militancy overshadowed the party’s sacrifices. Which is why the ANP has done right by forming committees to look into the reasons behind the party’s electoral rout. There are lessons here for other parties who were also sent packing; they too must identify their flaws and take action where needed as the ANP plans to do, for instance, by expelling any member found to have prevented women from voting.

The party’s internal issues aside, the ANP chief’s comments on the larger picture of militancy must be considered by all parties. Asfandyar Wali focused on drone strikes, saying that while his party condemned them, he considered suicide attacks a worse violation of national sovereignty. While drone strikes invoke strong emotions and the ‘collateral damage’ caused by the strikes cannot be ignored, even the fiercest critics of these unmanned killers remain quiet on suicide attacks and the many innocents religious militants kill. There is no realisation by these parties that their silence will save neither them nor democracy should the militants expand their list of ‘undesirable’ political targets. The bloodshed witnessed over the past five years should propel the incoming rulers towards taking decisive steps to tackle militancy, even as they concentrate on other aspects of good governance.

Comments (8) Closed

Syed Ahmed May 19, 2013 12:14am
ANP failure to perform on May 11 is solely because of Ghulam Ahmed Bilour who ruined Pakistan Railways.
pathanoo May 19, 2013 06:00pm
Atis, The Mullas, JUI-F, Nawaz Sharif and the Taliban Khan would make sure that this dichotomy is NEVER RESOLVED.
nasreentufail May 19, 2013 05:29am
Peace prevails when outsiders do not interfere in the others internal affairs. To indulge in ones homeland shows enmity. Enmity is contrariety to peace. One could look in his home, when outsiders decide their internal affairs, anarchy spreads out, if it is not stopped, it means suffering allot.
SachBol May 18, 2013 05:54pm
Bottom line is that ANP got what they deserved. They were the most corrupt and ineffective government in the history of PK. All their leaders made tons of money for themselves and they have properties and bank accounts in Dubai where they will be hibernating for next few years.
NASAH (USA) May 18, 2013 04:38pm
One day a secular anti terrorist party like ANP under the brave leadership of Asfandiyar has to triumph in a gentler kinder Pakistan. And that will happen in the next election after 5 years of misrule by Khattak supported by Hakeemullah.
atis May 18, 2013 07:58am
Yes, it is true that many personalities are quick to condemn drone attacks,the same are silent on attack by suicide bombers.Unless this dichotomy is resolved, Pakistan shall continue to face the problem of terrorism,
Zak May 18, 2013 09:23am
Am amazed and disappointed at the views expressed in the write up. ANP was thrown out of power by the people because they were inept, corrupt to the core and totally oblivious to the issues at hand and the problems being faced by the people. There was not even a mention about the scale of corruption carried by ANP leaders particularly Haider Hoti, Asfandyar himself, the late Bashir Bilour, his brother Ghulam and son Haroon and hundreds others. It is known fact in KPK. Their loss cannot in any way be linked to their so called fight against terrorism. The people had decided three years ago to get rid of them and their equally corrupt partners.
Razzaq May 19, 2013 03:42pm
I am really surprised no one have mentioned the fact that ANP were focusing on Karachi instead of their own province beside minting money by means of corrupt practices.