Iftikhar fears attacks on politicians before polls

Mian Iftikhar Hussain
Iftikhar fears attacks on politicians before polls

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain said here on Tuesday that general elections would be held in the country without any delay.

However, he feared that terrorists could target some of the important politicians to force the government to delay the general elections.The minister was addressing the concluding session of a training workshop, organised by Women Media Centre (WMC) on election reporting. The workshop was attended by journalists and students of journalism department, University of Peshawar.“If the elections can be held in Afghanistan and Iraq then why not in Pakistan,” Mr Hussain questioned. He said that the nation was politically aware and would not allow anyone to delay the general polls.

The government, he said, would complete its constitutional term by March 16 and elections would be held within 60 days. He said that some elements were killing innocent people to pave the way for delaying elections. However, he said that terrorists would not be able to fulfil their nefarious designs.The minister said that delay in holding elections would not be in favour of the nation. The elections, he said, must be held timely to resolve the prevailing crises.“The provincial government still gives priority to negotiations (with Taliban) because we want resolution of all the issues on permanent basis. But it does not mean that we are frightened,” Mr Hussain said.

He said that the provincial government made attempts, including holding negotiations with Taliban and convening an all-parity conference, to restore peace in the province.He said that it was a compulsion for the government to launch a military operation against terrorists in Malakand division as they had established a parallel government there and violated the peace agreement, inked with the authorities.Mr Hussain said that Awami National Party had been struggling since long for restoration of peace in the province and sacrificed its 750 workers and some top leaders including former senior minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour.

He said that ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan was attacked while party’s legislators Alamzeb Khan and Dr Shamsher Ali were killed. The relatives of MPAs from Swat Waqar Ahmad and Wajid Ali were also targeted by the terrorists, he added.On the occasion, the minister distributed certificates among the participants of the training workshop.Earlier, Fauzia Shaheen, executive director of WMC, highlighted the aim and objectives of the workshop. She said that 2013 was election year in the country as a democratically elected parliament would complete its tenure. – Dawn