SWABI -  Awami National Party (ANP) Central President Asfandyar Wali Khan said on Sunday that his party leaders and workers would continue their struggle for strengthening democratic institutions in the country, calling upon leaders of other political parties to give up the practice of destabilising the country.

The ANP president was addressing a gathering at Yar Hussain village in connection with the first death anniversary of former MPA Shoaib Khan, who was shot dead by unidentified militants on July 18, 2016 inside his hujra.

Senior party leaders Sardar Hussain Babak, Sikandar Irfan, district president Ameer Rehman, Shoaib’s sons and others were present on the occasion.

Asfandyar said that ANP leadership would continue their work with complete determination and concentration to strengthen the democratic system in the country because they were democratic people and knew about the importance of democracy. He said that his party had worked with complete determination to restore Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution in their original form.

However, former premier Nawaz Sharif who was ousted by Supreme Court in the Panama leaks case was against the idea, he said. “We wanted that these articles of the country’s Constitution should be restored in their original form, but Nawaz Sharif had opposed the idea at that time,” Asfandyar said in reference to the Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Sharif.

The ANP president advocated that articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution had historically been used against the politicians. He called for their amendment in a bid to restore them in their original form.

However, in the same breath he said that despite numerous reservations they did not want to challenge authority of the Supreme Court, accepting the apex court’s verdict. “We do not want tussle among the institutions of the country,” he said.

About the MNA Ayesha Gulalai’s allegations, he said that if PTI Chairman Imran Khan was innocent, then he should prove that he was not involved in what was alleged by the former PTI leader. When Khan accused leaders of other political parties, he said it was true but when he was blamed, he claimed that it was a conspiracy of the PML-N to malign him but he was not involved in any activity and was totally innocent, Asfandyar said.

He supported the continued struggle of the tobacco growers and urged the companies to purchase all products from the growers.

Asfandyar paid glowing tributes to late Shoaib Khan for his political struggle spanning over a period of 45 years. He recalled his services for the cause of the party and contributions for its strengthening in the district during his lifetime. “Late Shoaib Khan was born and died as an ANP leader, never changed his loyalty and stood in thick and thin with the party leadership with complete determination and devotion. We are proud over his tremendous contribution,” he said.

He said that Shoaib would always be remembered for his patience, tolerance and selfless social service to the people and party.

Addressing the gathering, Sardar Hussain Babak said that the leaders of various political parties who failed to visit the people to know about their problems during the last four years had now started arriving to their residences because they knew that general election 2018 was approaching fast. “Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and various others had planned to deceive the people/voters once again,” he said.

However, he said that right now they could predict that dreams of the people would shatter because the people know that only ANP leaders could fight for the rights of Pakhtuns who face the menace of terrorism and host of other problems, he claimed.

In all political parties, PTI is expected to test an ignominious defeat in upcoming election in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where its leaders had made hollow slogans and failed to deliver or fulfil the pledges made during the election 2013, he added.

The ANP parliamentary leader in KP assembly said that keeping in mind the confronting challenges and difficulties faced by Pakhtuns across the KP and tribal belt, there was great unity in their ranks and they were united in their struggle to emerge victorious and save future of our children, he said.

Ameer Rehman, district nazim, Shoaib’s son, Ayaz Khan and other leaders of the party also addressed on the occasion.