Shangla by-poll KP govt says army’s help sought without its consent

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has expressed its reservations about holding by-elections on a provincial assembly seat in Shangla under the supervision of army and said the decision has been taken without its consent.“Before the provincial government could submit its comments on by-elections in Shangla, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced to have decided to call in army,” information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a press conference here on Wednesday.By-election on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seat PK-87, Shangla, will be held on January 29. The seat fell vacant after the demise of MPA Muhammad Zahir Shah of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q).“We are bound to accept the ECP decision, but we also want to put it on the record that the decision of involving military in the by-elections has been taken without our consultation,” said the minister.

He said that the provincial government had always complied with the ECP instructions. He said that the government also stopped use of development funds in
the constituency on the commission’s advice.Mr Hussain claimed that the decision to hold by-election under the army supervision had been taken on the request of a PML-Q candidate through its provincial.president Amir Muqam. He complained that other candidates had not been asked in this regard.He said that the ECP could have called military for by-elections in Swat, but it relied on the civil administration and police. He pointed out that the military was already engaged in various areas to fight militancy and engaging it for elections was not a wise step.Referring to setting up of Darul Qaza in Swat, the information minister said that the government had fulfilled its commitment to enforce Shariah laws in the region.“Now, nobody has the justification of fighting with the state because all the commitments have been fulfilled and it is time for the militants to shun their armed struggle against the state,” he said and added that the judicial system in Swat was working efficiently and the number of pending cases had been reduced
significantly – Dawn