Monday, April 12, 2010

Disgruntled elements behind campaign against renaming, says ANP

PESHAWAR: The people protesting over renaming of the NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtoon-khwa have resorted to violence against the Awami National Party in Abbottabad but the party’s local and provincial leadership said they were a group of ‘defeated people’ and ‘cronies of former dictator’ General Pervez Musharraf and insisted that the people in Hazara had no issue with the new name.

The ANP said it would not react in a violent way as the campaign was led by a group aligned with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid that didn’t represent the people of Hazara. “The violence will be countered with peaceful means,” said the provincial information secretary of the party, Arbab Tahir Khalil.

The protesters had pelted the offices of ANP in Abbottabad and Mansehra with stones and pulled down signboards inscribed with pro-Pakhtoonkhwa slogans. A clash was averted as the ANP leadership asked its local chapters in Hazara not to react or take out rallies in favour of the renaming.

“After passage of the 18th Amendment by the Parliament, we had made arrangements to take out a rally. The local administration’s request to postpone it was turned down but it contacted our provincial and central leadership which directed us not to stage the rally,” said the Hindko-speaking ANP president of its Abbottabad chapter, Humayun Khan. However, locals said the party workers celebrated the renaming in parts of Battagram and Mansehra. The ANP also countered the protest movement by placing advertisements in the local dailies. It was learnt that deputy general secretary of ANP in Battagram, Naseem Khan Dawar, reserved the front half-page ads in the local dailies for five days to congratulate the people on the renaming of the province.

Humayun said the ANP had no need to counter the protesters. “They have no concern with Khyber-Pakhtoon-khwa but want to settle scores with the PML-N as it had defeated the PML-Q candidates in the 2008 elections,” he claimed.