PESHAWAR - Azad Group, an alliance of 35 independent candidates for provincial assembly constituencies from across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, has raised a slogan of ‘Pehly Ehtisab Phir Intikhab’ (first accountability, then elections) and vowed to contest elections against the influential politicians.

Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday, Nishtar Khan, chief of the new alliance and candidate for PK-52 Mardan, said that so far 35 independent candidates had joined the group and the number was increasing with each passing day.

Accompanied by members of the alliance, Nishtar said that all his associates belonged to middle class, who had promised to avoid spending lavishly on elections and would focus attention on electing people of their own status, who had never been involved in any type of corruption. He said that the group was going to be an organised force in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Its objective was to raise voice against corrupt elements, who had been in possession of national wealth through unfair means, he added.

“We are against mafias, which include politicians and manage to reach power corridors through unfair means and then loot the national wealth with both hands. We are determined to unmask such corrupt people who always prefer accumulating money to materialise their manifesto,” he said.

Referring to the long awaited demands of the people pertaining to healthcare, education, clean drinking water, communication, security and employment opportunities, he said none of the rulers had focused attention to resolve these issues and thus those politicians lost respect in the society.

 The independent candidates, he maintained, would try their best to run door-to-door election campaign and seek support of voters so that the influential, rich candidates could be taught a lesson about the importance of middle class in the society. Senior members of the alliance including Aurangzeb Nasim, Noor Rahman, Adil, Noor Shaad Khan, Jahanzeb Khan, Humayun Bacha, Sareer Ahmed, Dost Muhammad and Aslam Khan were also present on the occasion.