Violence restricts Pakistan’s election campaign
Pakistan, Apr 29 – Attacks by the Pakistani Taliban are forcing the main party in the country’s restive northwest, an important battleground in the upcoming general election, to campaign in the shadows. The Awami National Party (ANP) ruled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for the past five years, but it is now bearing the brunt of a wave of Taliban violence as the country heads towards the May 11 general election. The umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction has vowed to target the country’s three main secular parties which formed the outgoing national government — the ANP, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Pakistan People’s Party of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Since the TTP assassinated his younger brother Bashir, the number two in the provincial government, in December, Ghulam has carried the fight and is determined to carry on. But I am a Pashtun: I’ll face death and won’t surrender,” he told AFP.
But in the face of Taliban threats, the ANP has abandoned large meetings and only meets activists and supporters in small secure places. Haroon Bilour, Bashir’s son and a candidate for the provincial assembly, says the threats have hampered the party’s ability to campaign.
His rivals from the conservative right — religious parties and ex-cricketer Imran Khan’s PTI party — already boosted by a desire for change among voters, have had no problem organising large meetings. Haroon complained that his rivals “are not even condemning Taliban attacks against us”.
The TTP is opposed to secular democracy in principle, viewing it as incompatible with Islamic belief, and their dislike of the secular PPP, ANP and MQM was intensified by the federal government’s backing of military operations against militants in the northwest.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at CapitalFM