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Delimitation proposals create unrest among political parties

NOWSHERA/PESHAWAR/SWABI: The proposed delimitation of the constituencies has caused unrest among the local chapters of political parties, prompting their leaders to call a multi-party conference on the issue.

“The local leaders of all opposition parties have been invited including the dissident group of PTI to the APC that will be held on Wednesday,” Ikhtiar Wali, the provincial deputy general secretary of PML-N, told this scribe.

He said that leaders of the PTI dissident group had assured them of their participation in the conference. He said that PPP, ANP, JI, JUI-F and dissident MPA of PTI Qurban Khan and MNA Siraj Ahmad Khan were invited to the conference.

Mr Wali said that it was need of the hour to oppose what he called illegal, unjust and politically- motivated delimitation of constituencies in the district.

Multi-party conference to discuss the issue in Nowshera today; QWP rejects ECP move

Former MPA Baseer Ahmad also criticised the proposed changes in his constituency. He said that the residents of the entire area known as ‘Khwara’ consisting of 38 villages raised voice against the proposed changes.

“We are not ready to accept any kind of decision, which is against the unity and historical identification of the area,” he said. He alleged that Chief Minister Pervez Khattak wanted to disturb unity of the area.

The former MPA said that all political parties in the constituency were united to oppose the delimitation.

Malik Juma Khan, the district president of ANP, said that their party would attend the conference as they had reservations over the delimitation of the constituencies. He said that future line of action would be chalked out to avoid illegal and unjust delimitation of constituencies in the district.

Former federal minister and PPP leader Mian Muzaffar Shah said that he was invited to the conference.

The delimitation of the constituencies has confused the would-be candidates for the upcoming general elections. “We have worked and spent time on our constituencies. How the change can be accepted at the time when elections are round the corner,” questioned a would-be candidate for a provincial assembly seat.

In Peshawar, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao rejected the proposal of the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding delimitation of constituencies, describing it against the ground realities and fearing that the move will create problems for the candidates in the upcoming general elections.

In a statement issued in Peshawar on Tuesday, he said the ECP had prepared draft of the delimitation of constituencies without taking the political parties on board which was against the democratic norms and principles.

The new delimitations, he said would give a bad impression of favouritism which would create further complications and misunderstandings among the people. The proposal, he said would also confuse the voters and candidates.

The best way for solution of the issue, Mr Sherpao suggested was to cancel the notification and consider it afresh in consultation with the political parties. Meanwhile, the Awami National Party leaders in Swabi said that the party leaders had strong reservations about reducing the number of provincial constituencies in the district from six down to five. However, the two National Assembly constituencies have been kept intact.

The sources said that ANP was the only party which had awarded party tickets to six candidates in the district for contesting the 2018 general election and applied from the then existing six constituencies, delimited for election 2002 and maintained for two general elections of 2008 and 2013. Now, the party would have to make the difficult decision of withdrawing one of the six contesting candidates.

A prominent ANP leader said that withdrawal of ticket from one of the candidates would mean annoying the entire leadership of that constituency.

When contacted, a number of leaders said that ANP had committed a mistake to award tickets to the party candidates in advance. “We have strong reservations about the delimitation. For example, Adina is situated in north Razaar tehsil, but it has been included in South Razaar,” Mohammad Ishfaq advocate, who handles the ANP court affairs, told this correspondent.

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