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Nawaz protecting Punjab’s interests at the cost of smaller provinces: ANP

“It seems that some quarters [in Pakistan] have re-adopted their previous policies regarding Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is inevitable for peace and prosperity in Pakistan. Afghanistan had changed and that the time had gone when the Taliban or any other force was imposed on Afghan people,” says Asfandyar Wali Khan.

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party central president Asfandyar Wali Khan said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and some other quarters were interested in protecting interests of Punjab at the cost of small federating units.

“The message is being given that Pakistan is Punjab and Punjab is Pakistan,” he said, warning consequences of such policy would be dangerous for the country as the ANP would protect rights of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Pakhtuns.

Asfandyar was addressing the ANP provincial executive council here at Bacha Khan Markaz the other day, said a statement.

He spoke on various issues including Kalabagh dam, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, changing scenario in Afghanistan, terrorism, and reforms in tribal areas.

The ANP leader came down heavily on the federal government for ‘changing’ stand on Kalabagh dam and CPEC, saying like Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif was also in the habit of making U-turn on policy statements and announcements.

“Besides external challenges, Pakistan is facing internal threats too. Unfortunately, our rulers and some institutions are desirous to build Kalabagh dam,” the statement quoted Asfandyar as saying.

The ANP leader also said some quarters including Nawaz Sharif had developed consensus on the CPEC and adopted policy to protect interests of Punjab.

Expressing serious reservations about the CPEC, he said Nawaz Sharif had changed his stand and that the federal ministers were violating unanimous decisions of the All-Party Conference held in Islamabad.

Asfandyar said it was the unanimous decision of the APC to start construction of western route of the CPEC to protect interests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but that decision was being violated.

About the issue of Kalabagh dam, he said very powerful and authoritarian regimes could not build the dam, then who they (Nawaz Sharif and his team) were to put up the controversial water reservoir.

The ANP leader said his party had a very clear policy and stand on Kalabagh dam, Fata, terrorism and National Action Plan, and would protect all constitutional rights of the province and Pakhtuns at all costs.

About the situation in Afghanistan, Asfandyar said Islamabad and Kabul were on the path of reconciliation after the visit of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan, but that spirit was not maintained.

“It seems that some quarters have re-adopted their previous policies regarding Afghanistan,” he said, adding that peace in Afghanistan was inevitable for peace and prosperity in Pakistan.

The ANP leader said Afghanistan had changed and that the time had gone when the Taliban or any other force was imposed on Afghan people.

He said it was imperative to abandon the policy to use force and soil against each other.

Regarding Fata, Asfandyar said the ANP was in favour of drastic and genuine legal, political and administrative reforms in the country’s northwest tribal region.

He said his party’s policy was to merge Fata with KP and bring the neglected belt to the mainstream politics.

The ANP leader called for the implementation of National Action Plan in letter and spirit in order to eliminate terrorism and extremism from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the entire region.

He said his party did not support violence and negative politics and believed in political struggle.

Asfandyar also criticised policies of the coalition government in KP and said bad governance was one of the serious issues in the province.

He said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had expelled the Qaumi Watan Party from the government over corruption but recently accommodated the latter in the ruling coalition.

The ANP leader said Imran Khan didn’t accept defeat and began hue and cry about rigging when his party lost polls.

He said when the PTI won polls, only then he (Imran) termed the process transparent and fair.—(Dawn)

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