ANP’s shallow, promotional politics


The politics pursued by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa based Awami National Party (ANP) are reflective of the party’s stance of not paying attention to public grievances while vigorously pulling ego-driven and hollow “stunts” which bring about no real positive change. ANP seems to be doing the latter without much regard to the ideological and communal divisions such acts may engender amongst the populace of KP.
The party- led by Asfandyar Wali- has all but refused to pay attention to the accumulating public grievances and problems. In 2010, while the province was undergoing an onslaught of terrorist attacks, ANP ignored the plight of terror victims and instead zealously pursued the petty issue of renaming NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The party succeeded in renaming the province through the 18th amendment, but in effect the province only changed its clothes as the scars underneath remain unaddressed and unhealed.
The ruling party of KP has for long been turning a deaf ear to the demands of the marginalised Hazarawal and ignored them completely when they asked for a recognition of their identity- as a significant part of the province’s population- in the new name of the province. Taken at a high-level parliamentary forum, the decision to rename the province after the Pukhtuns was tantamount to bulldozing the aspirations of the Hazarawal and disenfranchising them completely. Dozens of people in the Hazara belt lost their lives while protesting against the province’s new name as the ANP provincial government used brute force to quell the protests.
The people of the province were right in asking the KP government what difference the change in the name of the province had really brought in their lives; they are still reeling under the unchecked typhoon of terrorism, poverty, inflation and a worsening law and order situation. The renaming might have satisfied the ego of the rulers of the province, but ordinary citizens of the province are still suffering just as before- or probably worse than before. All that the act of renaming did achieve was the deepening of communal divisions amongst the populace of the province and the further alienation of marginalised communities. These effects can be seen in the recent demand for a separate Hazara province.
The latest shockingly lame demand ANP made to the federal government was to ask for the naming of Peshawar Airport after Bacha Khan. The KP government seems to have become oblivious of the problems the masses are mired in, such as gas load-shedding, the energy crisis, terrorism, and corruption.
Another recent ego-driven demand from the KP government- which had ironically rejected the demand for the ‘Hazarawal’ province – was to ask for the inclusion of FATA in KP. This demand earned the provincial government nothing but ire from FATA parliamentarians. Whether it is the demand for renaming the province or an airport or foolish demands for the inclusion of autonomous territory into the province, all one can really infer is that the actual problems faced by the province and the nation remain a secondary priority for the ANP-led KP government while party promotion and retention of power seem to be their first priority.
ANP must utilise its energy for welfare of the people instead of indulging in petty issues which have no direct positive impact on the life of the common man if it wishes to earn the goodwill of the masses.