<![CDATA[By Zulfiqar Ahmad ISLAMABAD, May 4: The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Chitral chapter on Saturday turned down its central leadership’s decision to boycott the upcoming general elections, saying staying away from the polls at this stage will be tantamount to surrendering as the party is poised to make a clean sweep in Chitral. The valley which is considered to be a stronghold of former military strongman Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf for his services to the area especially opening of Lowari tunnel – a lifeline for socio-economic growth and prosperity of the area – has visibly pushed his political opponents against the wall, forcing them to spend sleepless nights. The opponents of Musharraf were upbeat when an election tribunal of Peshawar High Court (PHC) disqualified him from contesting elections from Chitral but it could not make any significant impact on the minds of people. The people of Chitral belonging to both the communities stood like a rock to give a tit-for-tat response to Maulna Abdul Akbar Chitrali of JI and Abdul Lateef of PTI for challenging Musharraf’s nomination papers and afloat the ship with Prince Iftikharuddin – a brand-new foreign qualified budding politician – at the wheel. The opponents of Gen Musharraf were over the moon once again when his party announced to boycott the elections in the aftermath of cases pending before different courts, but a timely decision taken by the local leadership not to leave the ground open for anti-Musharraf forces in the elections, shattered down their sweet dreams to win the polls without any tough competition. Talking to chitraltpoday.net over the phone from Chitral, APML National Assembly candidate Prince Iftikharuddin made it crystal clear that they had already crossed the bridge and there was no way to withdraw when the elections were hardly five-day away. “We’re not going to lose this [golden] opportunity as there is no doubt the election tempo has quickened in recent weeks…we’ll take part in the elections at any cost. No way to stay away [from elections] [as] it’s of no use. The [political] parties which boycotted the elections in the past still repent”, he declared. However, sources within the APML said the decision to boycott elections at the last minute was taken by three retired colonels of the party and its secretary general Dr Mohammad Amjad without consulting the candidates contesting elections from the platform of APML. They said the APML candidates across Pakistan had decided to take part in elections. When asked about the legal complications, if there is any, former secretary Election Commission (ECP) Kanwar Mohammad Dilshad said after issuing election symbols the commission cannot bar any candidate from participating in the elections. He said the candidates can take part in elections without giving any heed to the decision of their party central leadership. Meanwhile, background interviews with people from different walks of life revealed that despite Musharraf’s disqualification, the APML was still the most popular political party in Chitral. According to them, Jamiat Uleme-e-Islam (JUI-F) has successfully emerged as the second popular political party after APML while Jamat-e-Islami is now believed to at number three. The PPP is also in serious trouble after its senior leadership was ignored while awarding tickets for provincial and national assembly seats. Haji Ghulam Mohammad, an all time powerful millionaire professional contractor, had reportedly offered Rs20 million to Sardar Hussain, a PPP candidate from upper Chitral to withdraw his nomination papers in his favour but a straight no from his side compelled the wealthy guy to roll up sleeves against him by bribing the voters in elections. The sources said the ruthless supporters of the contractor led by Abdul Rehman of Muzhodur (Mastuj) have launched a vigorous campaign in subdivision Mastuj particularly Laspur, using the dirty slogan of biraderi and igniting people in the name of caste. Despite a ban on seeking votes in the name of castes, sects, candidates of APML, PPP, JI, JUI-F and other small parties including independent candidates are also busy in their election campaigns violating the ECP code of conduct and the concerned departments are acting as silent spectator. The Syed and Zondrei tribes are believed to be up in arms against each other. The sources also said the contractor-turned politician had distributed a large number of cellphone sets in Laspure valley to woo the voters, besides giving special tasks to drivers in Torkho and Murkow tehsils.]]>
One Reply to “No way to leave the field, says Prince Iftikhar”
1st rebellion in budding APML in just 5 weeks of its existence. Good and timely decision by young, well educated Shehzada Iftikhar, who is guided by his highly experienced great father that ”why they should sit in a sinking boat”. Mr Zulfiqar has very rightly exposed the corrupt people who have changed their technique for current election using mobile sets to purchase vote as in previous elections they were using cooking oil to purchase poor people’s vote.Insha Allah in next election they will also give Laptops to poor Chitrali youth from their plundered money.