ANP threatens to quit coalition govt if by-polls further postponed

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ISLAMABAD: Part of the ruling coalition, the Awami National Party (ANP) threatened to leave the government if by-polls in the country are further postponed.

The recent development comes a day after the federal government asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to delay the upcoming October 16 by-election, as a “political party” was planning to “besiege” the capital later this month.

The by-elections were originally scheduled to be held in September, but the ECP put them off, citing the unavailability of security personnel in the wake of catastrophic floods — that have left over 1,700 dead.

“Based on credible reports from Intelligence Agencies, it has transpired that a political party is planning to besiege the federal capital between October 12-17 […] which coincides with the [election] date,” a letter from the Interior Ministry to the ECP said in an apparent reference to the PTI.

Taking to Twitter, ANP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Aimal Wali Khan said that his party has communicated to the Shehbaz Sharif-led government that if by-elections are further postponed, then his party will not only withdraw from by-elections but also leave the alliance that has formed the government at the centre.

“ANP would withdraw from the election and will be quitting the alliance. We won’t let the RBM run away this time,” said the ANP leader. 

Govt seeks 90-day delay in Oct 16 by-elections 

The ECP had announced October 16 as the date for the by-elections after eight National Assembly seats were vacated following the acceptance of PTI MNAs’ resignations.

The elections were scheduled to take place in eight constituencies — NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-45 Kurram, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, NA-237 Malir and NA-239 Karachi.