PESHAWAR, March 26: A group of dissident workers of Awami National Party (ANP) has decided to contest elections independently against the party’s candidates in Peshawar.
The dissident workers, led by a former MPA, have also made it clear that they will support other candidates across Peshawar district against those, who have been nominated by ANP.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, former MPA Ateefur Rehman of Tehkal said that he had applied for party ticket to contest election from PK-5 Peshawar-V and NA-2 constituencies but ANP parliamentary board ignored his sacrifices and awarded the ticket to provincial general secretary Arbab Tahir.
ANP district president Arbab Najeebullah Khan and Haroon Bilour rushed to the press club to pacify the disgruntled workers but they failed to stop them from addressing the press conference.
“We also held a meeting at the residence of Haroon Bilour. The leaders tried to keep me away from media but it is my right to express my reservations about the decision of the parliamentary board of the party,” said the former MPA.
He said that ANP leaders were asking him to file an appeal for consideration of his application. However, he said that he couldn’t file an appeal as the decision taken against him was kept secret and not issued to media.
Flanked by other applicants including Ijaz Seemab, Abdur Rahim and Shabana Saifullah and ANP district general secretary Malik Naseem, district senior vice president Kamran Siddique, vice president Faridullah and Razaullah Khan, he alleged that tickets were awarded to landlords as ANP was no more following the philosophy of Bacha Khan.
ANP was no more a party of Bacha Khan as Arbabs of Peshawar had captured it, Mr Rehman said. He added that they would not resign from the basic membership of the party because they had spent their lives in strengthen it in their areas.
“I can’t think of leaving the party because we are followers of Bacha Khan but it is my appeal to the leadership to take decisions on merit,” he said. He said that as a member of provincial assembly, he worked hard and initiated several development schemes in his constituency.
“There is no corruption case against me, then why I have been rejected by the ANP parliamentary board,” the former MPA questioned.
Speaking on the occasion, Ijaz Seemab, who had applied for ANP ticket to contest election from PK-8 constituency, said that they would not leave the party but the parliamentary board disappointed them badly and forced them to come forward as independent candidates.
“We also have the right to support all independent candidates on different seats against the party’s nominees,” he said. He added that their differences with the party leadership would last only till holding of elections.
Similarly, Shabana Saifullah, who wanted to get a seat reserved for women, demanded of ANP central leadership to allot tickets to those people, who had rendered sacrifices for welfare of the party.
Meanwhile, ANP office-bearers in PK-5, PK-7, PK-9 and PK-10 constituencies resigned form their offices as a protest against the central leadership of the party.