PESHAWAR: Awami National Party central senior vice-president Ameer Haider Khan Hoti on Monday said his party was committed to fighting for the rights of Pakhtuns.
He also demanded an immediate halt to power and gas outages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa insisting that the denial of electricity and natural gas to the residents is both unfair and unconstitutional.
“We [ANP] are making a struggle to claim rights for Pakhtuns and will continue doing so. We have never fought for power and won’t do so in future as well,” Mr Hoti told a workers’ convention in the PK-81 constituency here.
The ANP leader said the Constitution declared that the area producing gas would have the first right to it, but Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was denied gas despite more production than its requirement, according to a party statement issued here.
He said if Punjab had the first right to the wheat it produced, then the first right to electricity and gas produced by Pakhtuns was theirs.
Mr Hoti complained that whenever Pakhtuns talked about their resources and control on them, “their ways” were blocked.
He resented gas and power cuts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa declaring them “completely unfair and unconstitutional.”
The ANP said authorities in Islamabad were trying to portray Pakhtuns as power thieves.
“The real power thieves are those, who are selling electricity of Rs4 per unit to us for Rs40. If the actual electricity price is collected from the people, power theft will go away by itself,” he said.
Mr Hoti said Pakhtuns were killed and defamed in the war of war but they won’t allow that to happen again.
“For us, going to assemblies is the solution to unrest and restoration of peace on our soil,” he said.
The ANP leader said when PTI chairman Imran Khan was in power, he used to humiliate innocent people by arrests.
He said the ANP was subjected to excessive “atrocities” in the past.
“Before the 2013 elections, Bashir Bilour was taken away from us, while ahead of the 2018 elections, Haroon Bilour was eliminated. We’re denied entry to the assemblies sometimes through terrorism and sometimes through poll rigging,” he said.
Mr Hoti said his party never incited its workers to violence against the state and sympathised with the PTI workers, who were in trouble over the May 9-10 riots.
On the occasion, several political activists announced the joining of the ANP.
Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2023