No justification for holding referendum on NWFP renaming: ANP
* Party president says PML-N ‘enemy’ of Pushtuns
By Zakir Hassnain
PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) said on Wednesday there was no justification for holding a referendum on the NWFP renaming issue as demanded by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and thus the ANP rejected it, saying only the constitutional committee of the parliament could decide the issue.
The ANP said the Nawaz League’s criticism of the ANP and its attitude towards Pakhtuns was condemnable. “Nawaz League is the enemy of Pakhtuns and still following the policies of Ranjeet Singh,” said ANP Provincial President Afrasiab Khattak while addressing a press conference along with party leaders Arbab Tahir Khalil, Arbab Najeebullah, Arbab Tajuddin and others.
Khattak said the renaming of the province was an important issue and the provincial assembly had already unanimously passed a resolution demanding the province be renamed Pakhtunkhwa.
The ANP leader said the issue was under consideration in the parliament’s constitutional committee working for constitutional reforms. However, he added, the PML-N leaders made the issue public instead of solving it within the constitutional committee and started giving public statements on issue.
Khattak said NWFP, FATA and PATA were no names. “It’s only Pakhtunkhwa but attempts are being made to make it controversial,” he said. Khattak said the PML-N made a demand for a referendum on the issue. “I propose referendums be also held on the name issue in Punjab and Sindh as only one language is not spoken in a province,” he said. He said there are a large number of Seraiki speaking people in Punjab and therefore referendum should also be held there.
Khattak said no referendum was held when Lyallpur was renamed to Faisalabad and Montgomery to Sahiwal.
The ANP leader said the largest political parties had also acknowledged the name Pakhtunkhwa and the name is no longer controversial. Khattak said the people of the province supporting the Nawaz League should review their party affiliation as “PML-N is the enemy of Pakhtuns.” He said the name Pakhtunkhwa was the demand of the people of the province.
Khattak said the name Afghania was also acceptable as it was given to this region by the founders of Pakistan. The ANP leader said Abasin was the name of a river and Khyber the name of an area and therefore could not be accepted as name of the province.
“We can only accept Pakhtunkhwa or Afghania,” he said. Khattak said the ANP is cooperating with the parliament’s constitutional committee and wants to solve the problem within this constitutional body. “And if it could not solve the issue, we’ll stick to our stand and demand,” said the ANP provincial president.
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