PESHAWAR: Demanding free and fair elections in the country, the Awami National Party (ANP) has said the ‘premier’s selectors’ should realise that Pakistan and PM Imran Khan can’t go together.
“No doubt, [PM] Imran was a good cricketer, but he is not a good ruler,” ANP senior vice-president Ameer Haider Khan Hoti told a rally held here on Saturday in connection with the death anniversaries of freedom-fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and party founder Khan Abdul Wali Khan.
Criticising internal and external policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led federal government, the ANP leader said the ‘selected prime minister’ had borrowed record loans from international agencies but even despite that, the country’s economy was in bad shape.
“Economy has been ruined,” he said.
Mr Hoti said a friendly country had impounded a plane of Pakistan’s flag carrier on account of nonpayment, while European countries had placed a ban on PIA flights.
He also said high inflation had badly affected common man and business communities.
Party leader Hoti demands free, fair polls in country
The ANP leader said the country had lost its time-tested friends due to the immature policies of the sitting rulers.
He said Premier Imran Khan had admitted misappropriation in the PTI foreign funding by his agents.
“I tell [PM Imran’s] selectors that his selection was wrong as he has badly failed to deliver,” he said, adding that only free and fair elections could steer the country out of the current political and economic crises.
He said the ‘selectors’ should save Pakistan and not PM Imran.
Expressing concern about the prevailing law and order situation in the country, especially forced disappearances and target killings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Mr Hoti said his party would continue protesting the kidnappings and forced disappearances of Pakhtuns.
He said ANP information secretary Assad Khan had gone missing in Balochistan.
The ANP leader said the party would file a writ petition with the Balochistan High Court against the disappearance of its office-bearer and would use political platforms to ensure his safe recovery.
Paying rich tribute to the struggle of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Khan Abdul Wali Khan, he said Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan, had started a struggle for the rights of oppressed Pakhtun nation around 100 years ago.
Mr Hoti said British rulers had deprived Pakhtuns of their fundamental rights and the right to vote.
He said Bacha Khan not only fought for the rights of Pakhtun nation but also created social and political awareness by establishing schools.
The ANP leader also praised Bacha Khan over his philosophy to discourage violence in society.
He said like Bacha Khan, Wali Khan also made serious efforts to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution and strengthen democracy in the country.
Mr Hoti said that the country might not have 1973 Constitution if Wali Khan when he was the opposition leader did not sign it.
“Despite rendering great services for the nation and country, both Bacha Khan and Wali Khan were declared traitors and agents of Russia and India,” he said.
ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain urged newly-elected US President Joe Biden to focus on the holding of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.
He said if peace talks failed, then it would further ruin Afghanistan.
The ANP leader also urged Pakistan to play a sincere role in making the peace process successful.
He said unless peace was restored in Afghanistan, peace in Pakistan would remain elusive.
ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan demanded the formation of a truth commission to probe the war against terrorism and fix responsibility.
He also called upon the federal government to open all trade points with Afghanistan and take steps for facilitating traders.
Mr Aimal demanded the return of the internally displaced persons to their homes in the merged tribal districts, rehabilitation of the damaged properties, and recovery of all missing persons.
He said even after the passage of 25th Constitutional Amendment, socio-economic conditions of the people in tribal districts hadn’t improved.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021