Ajmal Khattak demands removal of restrictions from political activities

KARACHI: Chairman of National Awami Party (NAP) Ajmal Khatak has demanded the government to remove restrictions from political activities and announcement of election schedule so that politicians may make preparations for election.

Ajmal Khatak said shortage of water in Sindh should be taken care of. He added that objections of Sindh on Greater Thal Canal should be removed before constructions and if they could not be removed the plan should be given up. He appreciated the government decisions on joint electorate and condition of graduation for the candidates participating in forthcoming election. He was of the opinion that educated people in the parliament would perform better.

About the role of his party in election he stated that NAP was in contact with some other parties to form an alliance. "At least seat adjustment will surely be made", he maintained.

About Afghanistan, he said that only Loya Jirga could deliver good in the country and "this fact is constantly being ignored".

He expressed concern over the situation of law and order and asked that government to take concrete measures so that confidence of the investors was not shattered.

Pashtunistan's politicians oppose changes in constitution

PESHAWAR - Leaders of major political parties in the North-West Frontier Province have opposed the government's constitutional amendment proposals and said that changes made in the constitution by an individual, and not by parliament, may deepen the crisis now being faced by the country.

Participating in a seminar on the amendment proposals, organised by the Peshawar centre of Pakistan Television, most of the politicians were of the view that if the constitution needed to be amended the matter should be addressed in accordance with the constitutional procedure.

The two-hour discussion, fourth of a series organised by the PTV, was compered by Mohammad Malik. Those who spoke at the seminar included Barrister Masud Kausar of Pakistan People's Party, Awami National Party's Qazi Mohammad Anwar and Bashir Ahmad Khan Matta, Anwar Kamal Khan of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Nisar Mohammad Khan of PML (QA), Jamaate Islami's Professor Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, National Awami Party's Latif Afridi, Dr Adnan Sarwar Khan, chairman of International Relations Department of the University of Peshawar, Jan Alam of Pakistan Maqsad Hemayat Tehrik, and Additional Advocate General Musarrat Hilali. The NWFP government was represented by Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Athar Minallah. Dr Adnan Sarwar said that such seminar would serve no purpose unless views expressed by participants were taken into consideration by the National Reconstruction Bureau while finalising the proposals, and not ignored as happened in the case of the devolution of power plan. He was backed by PML Anwar Kamal Khan, Barrister Masud Kausar and others. Law Minister Athar Minallah defended the government move to present the amendment plan for public debate and said that the purpose was to seek public opinion on the issue before preparing a final draft. Besides, he said, the government of Pervez Musharraf had got a mandate from the Supreme Court to carry out necessary amendments to ensure stability and continuation of his reform policies. He said the proposals meant to introduce a sustainable democratic process. The minister's opinion was challenged by outspoken rights leader Barrister Baacha who said that the Supreme Court verdict directed the president to remain within limits of the 1973 constitution and to change its character.

Additional Advocate General Mussarat Hilali supported most of the proposals, particularly those which aimed to enable women, constituting half of the national population, to have greater access to parliament and provincial legislatures.

NAP Pakistan's Latif Afridi supported the constitutional package saying that it would allow tribal people, for the first time in the history of Pakistan to be represented in the provincial assembly. Leaders of ANP and PPP said that the package sought 73 amendments which would completely change the character of the 1973 constitution and introduce the presidential form of government in place of the federal parliamentary system enshrined in the constitution.

ANP's Bashir Khan suggested a parliamentary committee be set up after the October elections to study if the constitution needed to be amended and to draft proposals for determining powers and of the president and the prime minister and checks and balances. Dr Adnan Sarwar said all issue, including that of a system of checks and balance, must be decided only within parliament.

Jamaate Islami's Professor Ibrahim Khan urged the government to avoid changing the character of the constitution.

NAPP leaders rejoin ANP,Asfandyar welcomes old colleagues

PESHAWAR:May 22, 2005 Prominent nationalist leaders Abdul Latif Afridi and Shahabud Din Khan Saturday parted ways with National Awami Party Pakistan (NAPP) and re-joined Awami National Party.

Both the nationalist leaders along with other colleagues announced their re-joining here at Bacha Khan Markaz, where ANP central president Asfandyar Khan Wali, veteran politician and former president Ajmal Khattak, senior vice president Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, provincial chief organizer MPA Bashir Ahmad Bilour, Azam Khan Hoti other leaders and a large number of party workers were present.

Abdul Latif Afridi and Shahabud Din Khan, who were central general secretary and provincial president of the NAPP respectively, one by one came to the stage and formally announced their re-joining in the ANP. They reposed full confidence over the party leadership and vowed that they would utilize their energies for the betterment of the party as well as its struggle to unit the Pukhtoon nation.

ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, while welcoming the re-joining of the old party men, said it would strengthen the party efforts for uniting the Pukhtoon nation so that it could get its due rights. He said that presently the Pukhtoon nation was in most critical phase of its history and it could be pulled out from the prevailing crises only when it became united and follow the philosophy of Bacha Khan. "We have come out to bring all the Pakhtoons under one platform and our efforts would continue till their complete unification because they have to fight the war of their survival," the ANP chief remarked.

He maintained that the party would be run in a democratic way and all the party institutions would be free in their decisions so that it could achieve its goals of uniting Pukhtoon nation. While acknowledging the political struggle of Abdul Latif Afridi and Shahabud Din Khan, the ANP chief appointed them as members of the party central committee.

Earlier, senior party leader Ajmal Khattak in his speech expressed concern over the prevailing political situation of the country, however, he was of the view that the ANP was a sole political party that can steer the country from the existing internal and external crises.