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Monday, 25 March 2013

Peaceful Pakistan: ANP manifesto puts premium on security

Peaceful Pakistan: ANP manifesto puts premium on security

PESHAWAR:  With a new slogan of ‘Puraman Pakistan’ (peaceful Pakistan), the Awami National Party’s (ANP) 2013 election manifesto puts security as its topmost priority.
Unveiled on Sunday, the new ANP manifesto envisages establishing peace and security in the country as its first and foremost concern. This contrasts sharply with the salient points of its previous manifestos which prioritised political, legal and administrative reforms, with the slogan ‘khpala khawra, khpal ikhtiyar’ (our land, our authority).
ANP Senior Vice President Senator Haji Adeel, while presenting the party manifesto here at the Peshawar Press Club, said that their priorities will be ensuring peace and stability in the region and bringing Fata into the mainstream. He said meaningful representation will be given to tribal representatives in the provincial assembly by making necessary amendments to the constitution.
He added that the tribesmen remained victims of poverty and the ANP government would change that.

“Terrorists have made strong networks throughout the country where more than 45,000 people have lost their lives in terrorist incidents. The upcoming government has to deal with it and we will support them,” he vowed, urging the federal government to equally compensate militancy-scarred tribal people the way they are compensating people in the settled areas.
“We believe women have the right to take part in elections and if any party leader or representative support any such deal that prohibits women from casting votes, they will be expelled from the party,” he said.
He said a process of review of security and foreign policies will be initiated both within parliament and outside to enable the transformation of the state, with the belief that security and foreign policies are the primary responsibilities of the public representatives.
According to the manifesto, the ANP will ensure that the state implements its writ in Fata and purges it of all sorts of terror networks. It will seek negotiations with all those who recognise the writ of the state and renounce violence but those who are not prepared to do so will face action.
The document says the party will evolve a consensus to urgently determine and settle the administrative status of Fata in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people. This position is in contrast with its former stance where it wanted to merge the area with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The manifesto also pledges to establish a Martyrs Cell in the province and Fata in order to ensure the well-being of terror-stricken families.
Under the ‘political, legal and administrative’ chapter, the manifesto states that ANP will continue its struggle against religious extremism, security will be guaranteed to religious and ethnic minorities, discriminatory laws will be repealed, freedom of association and of speech shall be guaranteed, as shall the freedom of and right to information in letter and spirit.
The document calls for the pursuit of social and economic policies along the following lines: new royalty rates to be negotiated with the federal government to generate more resources for the development of the province, especially in view of new oil and gas discoveries. It also lays emphasis on alternative sources of energy including coal, run of the river, solar and wind and states that 6 percent of GDP will be allocated to education and health sectors each.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2013.
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