PESHAWAR: Awami National Party has finalised draft of its manifesto for the upcoming general elections, which would be announced soon.

The party’s manifesto committee headed by its general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain and including provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak, central vice-president Bushra Gohar and deputy general secretary Aimal Khattak finalised the manifesto after a review. The manifesto was prepared with the feedback and consultations with different professionals, youth and political workers across the country who were associated with the party, and their recommendations were incorporated in the draft, said a member of the committee.

Mr Hussain, who would soon be announcing the manifesto to kick-start electioneering activities, told Dawn that after Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa they had tried to include steps that would ensure basic rights of the people of now defunct tribal areas.

He said that in the previous manifesto they had promised to achieve provincial autonomy on local resources and actualised it, but for the upcoming election they would be working to actualise all those powers that the province had yet to exercise to reap the benefits of the 18th Amendment that gave autonomy to the provinces.

He said that tribal areas that had become new districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa offered an opportunity as well as challenge for ANP as it needed to assure them with basic rights.

“Peace will be our top-most priority and we have kept this on top of our election manifesto,” said Mr Hussain, adding that recently in a meeting with officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan he demanded that ANP should be given level-playing field in the upcoming election and ECP should fulfil its responsibility of holding free and fair elections.

In 2013 general elections, ANP was on the hit-list of terrorists and its candidates and workers were unable to take part in campaigns or hold public rallies while other political parties freely took part in the election campaigns.

Mr Hussain said that he also reminded the ECP that ANP was not allowed to freely take part in 2013 general elections and despite filing complaints the commission did nothing then. He hoped that this time things would be different and his party would be provided with a level-playing field.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2018

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