ISLAMABAD

President of the Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Thursday said that despite serious reservations his party has accepted the election results and decided to sit on opposition benches in Centre as well as KP Assembly.

Talking to media after party's CEC meeting here, the ANP chief advised PML-N and PTI to stop indulging in blame game over election results. He said his party would cooperate with the government on issue-to-issue basis particularly in tackling challenges relating to terrorism.

Asfandyar said his party suffered 31 attacks during the elections and was targeted in pre-poll campaigning. “We were forced to contest elections at the cost of our lives and in face of terrorist threats, while the election commission merely sat on the sidelines ". He said he initially thought that CEC Justice (r) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim was supervising the elections but later it transpired that it was actually TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsood who was calling the shots.

The ANP president said he would step down if the party finds failure of policy and consequent defeat in elections, adding that committees were being set up to make objective assessment of their defeat. He was upbeat that his party would regain in future elections the mandate it lost in the general elections.

On the occasion, he saluted ANP activists for participating in elections wearing their (ideological) red caps, and warned that any effort to dislodge 18th amendment would be strongly resisted. Replying to a question, he strongly rejected accusations against some ANP activists that they discouraged women voters to exercise their right to vote. Anybody found doing such act would be expelled from party ranks, he declared.

To a question about the drone attacks, he said ANP was the first to condemn drone attacks. "We condemn drone attacks but we believe suicide attacks are more condemnable than the drone attacks and a graver violation of country's sovereignty," the ANP chief said. He warned that if Pakistan, Afghanistan and US-led forces failed in devising a concrete exit policy for the international forces from Afghanistan, situation would become worse after 2014.