PPP, ANP thrash out plan to contest KP local govt polls

Published January 24, 2022
A photo of PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi. — Photo courtesy Business Recorder/File
A photo of PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi. — Photo courtesy Business Recorder/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) have agreed to cooperate in the second phase of the local government elections to be held in the remaining districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari, who had a telephonic conversation with ANP’s KP president Aimal Wali Khan on Sunday, told Dawn that Mr Khan had assured him that his party would support PPP’s Faisal Karim Kundi in the election for the mayor of Dera Ismail Khan for which polling is scheduled to be held on Feb 13.

The PPP leader said that Mr Khan had assured him that the ANP would even openly run the election campaign for Mr Kundi.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) earlier postponed the election in Dera Ismail Khan, which was included in the first phase of the local government elections held last month, after the ANP’s mayoral candidate Umar Khitab Sherani was shot dead a day before polling.

Kundi to be joint candidate for D.I. Khan mayor’s seat

Unidentified attackers opened fire on Mr Sherani outside his residence in the limits of the Model Town police station and fled.

Mr Bokhari said he had talked to the ANP leader on the directive of his party leadership and both sides had agreed to continue the talks to see the opportunities of cooperating with each other during the second phase of the LG polls in KP scheduled to be held in March.

It may be recalled that ANP leaders Aimal Wali Khan and Amir Haider Hoti had called on PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at his residence in Islamabad. During the meeting, the PPP formally sought the ANP leadership’s support for its candidate.

Mr Bokhari said that since both the PPP and the ANP were progressive parties, they had cordial relations with each other. He said the two parties had also remained coalition partners when the PPP was ruling the country.

While talks between the two parties had so far been focused on the Dera Ismail Khan election, they had also agreed to discuss the avenues of cooperation in the second phase of the local government polls in KP, the PPP leader said.

To a question, he said there could be seat adjustments between the two parties in some constituencies.

When contacted, ANP’s information secretary Zahid Khan as usual expressed his ignorance about the development, saying that he was not aware of any “understanding” with the PPP. It may be recalled that he was also not aware of the last week’s meeting between his party leaders and Mr Bhutto Zardari in Islamabad, thus exposing the total lack of coordination within the party.

On Jan 3, the ECP rescheduled the second phase of local body elections in the 18 districts of KP from Jan 16 to March 27 at the request of the provincial government and political parties, who feared harsh weather could affect voter turnout.

The applications had been submitted to the ECP for the election rescheduling by different political leaders, including Abbottabad MNA Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Mansehra MPA Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, Sadeedur Rehman of Shangla, Ihtisham Khursheed of Mansehra and Ajmal Khan of Battagram.

They sought the postponement of elections until April 2022, insisting that in light of the topographic and weather conditions in the districts Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan, Torghar, Swat, Shangla, Chitral, Lower and Upper Dir and other hilly areas, it would not be possible for voters to come out and vote for the candidates as the entire region is covered with snow.

According to the ECP, the applicants had stated that due to blockage of roads and other communication modes, elections might be affected and about 80 per cent of registered voters may be deprived of voting due to a lack of transportation and other communication modes.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2022

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