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Rules of game for polls in Khyber finalised

December 01, 2012

PESHAWAR, Dec 1: Political parties and the political administration in Khyber Agency have agreed on the rules of the game for the next elections in the tribal region in view of the prevailing security environment and implementation of the amended Frontier Crimes Regulation, a government official said.

The agreement came at a meeting presided over by Khyber Agency Political Agent Mutahir Zeb and attended by presidents and general secretaries of all political parties in the region, including Pakistan People’s Party, Awami National Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, the official said.

The official said the meeting, which was convened on the directives of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar, held threadbare discussion on issues related to elections and the implementation of FCR.

He said security environment and its impact on public mobilisation during election campaign were cited as the number one issue by the participants.

According to the official, the political administration assured them that appropriate security arrangements would be undertaken to ensure full protection of participants of election rallies and candidates.

The administration sought cooperation from political parties and suggested that information regarding public rallies be shared with it at least three days in advance to enable it to make appropriate security arrangements.

The participants agreed to provide all information about their public rallies and public mobilisation campaigns to the administration for protection.

They raised the issue of delay in convening of jirgas under the amended FCR to expeditiously dispose of cases, the official said, adding that assurances were held out that punitive action would be taken against officials employing delaying tactics in this respect.

The administration assured the participants that no arrests would be made in cases of civil nature under the amended FCR and that a hotline had been established to enable political and human rights activists to inform political administration through phone call and text message for immediate redressal if there is any violation in this regard.

“There was full agreement on all issues and all sides agreed to cooperate with the authorities to ensure free and fair elections in the tribal region and also to implement the amended FCR in its true spirit,” the official said.