PESHAWAR - The Awami National Party (ANP) announced Saturday that it would not field any candidate in bye-elections on the seats of those MPAs who were martyred during incidents of terrorism.

This was decided in a meeting of the ANP provincial cabinet held under the chairmanship of Provincial President Afrasiab Khattak here. Leader of ANP Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Senator Baz Mohammad Khan, Syed Aqil Shah, Malik Ghulam Mustafa, Mian Mushtaq Ahmad and other party officer-bearers were present on the occasion. The meeting took important decisions regarding the upcoming bye-elections on various constituencies and announced names of candidates for various constituencies.

The meeting decided to award party ticket to Ghulam Bilour on NA-01, Dawood Khattak NA-05, Sitara Ayaz NA-13, Ahmad Bahadar Khan PK-23, while no candidate will be fielded against relatives of Farid Khan on PK-42 and PK-27, which fell vacant after the death of Imran Mohmand.

The meeting also decided to constitute provincial contact committee for the upcoming bye-elections under the leadership of Mian Iftikhar Hussain while other members included Sardar Hussain Babak, Parliamentary leader of ANP, Taj-ud-dine Khan, Arbab Mohammad Tahir Khan Khalil, Mian Mushtaq Ahmad and Shagupta Malik. Another committee was constituted for NA-01, which includes Ghulam Mustafa, Haroon Ahmad Bilour, Kamran Sadique, Niaz Momand, Malik Naseem, Sartaj Aziz Khan, Munawara Farman, Shabana Saifullah and Sakina Rahman. The provincial contact committee will be handed over responsibility to launch an effective campaign for the upcoming elections in all districts.

The meeting strongly condemned the role of establishment and agencies in the defeat of Awami National Party and vowed that the party would uncover those elements in case they repeated the mistake. They also vowed that workers of ANP would take to streets if any government agency was found guilty for rigging the poll.

The meeting expressed concerns over deteriorated law and order situation in the province and also criticised the attitude of PTI leadership regarding condemnation. The participants on the occasion vowed to restore public trust in ANP leadership. They said that PTI- led coalition government was faced with severe differences and instead of resolving public problems they were striving for ministries and portfolios.

They also criticised the role of Speaker KPK Assembly. They said speaker is considered an impartial personality for maintaining the decorum of the house but PTI has introduced another culture by keeping two offices at the same time.  It is worth mentioning here that Speaker Provincial Assembly Asad Qaiser is the chief of KPK PTI chapter. They said that immature and inexperience politicians would not be able to bring any change in the province, as they are not aware even of the basics of Constitution.

Aziz seeks US investment, greater market access

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Senator Bob Corker, Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, called on Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, a press release said on Saturday.

The United States Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson accompanied the American dignitary during the meeting. Both sides discussed matters of mutual interest pertaining to bilateral relations and regional issues including the situation in Afghanistan, the press release added.

The senator expressed satisfaction over the current trajectory of relationship between Pakistan and the US and hoped that bilateral relations would be further strengthened and deepened on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect.  The adviser underscored the need for greater market access for Pakistani goods in the US market and increase in US investments in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector including construction of large hydro power projects," the statement said.

He emphasised that it should be the joint endeavour of both sides to double bilateral trade in the next few years, it added.

Senator Corker also expressed appreciation for the comprehensive briefing given by Sartaj Aziz and assured him that the US Congress would continue to support democracy in Pakistan. He remarked that Pakistan had huge potential for economic resurgence. The senator reassured that the US Congress would continue to support Pakistan in its three priority areas of energy, economy and trade.