NWFP backtracks on law and order stance

Posted in Pakistan | 08-May-08 | Source: dawn.com (Pakistan)

NWFP Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, May 7: The NWFP on Wednesday backtracked on its stance on the law and order situation and said it would be willing to hold by-elections earlier than the date set in the latest Election Commission’s notification if other provinces also agreed to.

In a letter to the federal government, the NWFP Home Department acknowledged that while the law and order situation in the province had improved considerably it was still not exemplary.

This volte-face has come in the wake of severe criticism of the Election Commission’s decision to postpone bye-elections to August 18.

The NWFP has claimed that it had to dish out an ‘all-bad law and order situation’ letter on the persistent prodding and cajoling of Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Rehman A. Malik.

The ANP-led government said that it agreed to the postponement only after Mr Malik had assured it the other provinces too had consented to the delay.

In order to reverse the decision, the federal government again approached the NWFP government to modify its statement to enable it to seek the rescheduling of the by-elections, according to one official.

NWFP Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Dawn that his government had sent a letter to the federal government saying that if the Centre and the three provinces agreed to hold by-elections earlier than last scheduled, it too would have no problem and would agree to it.

“But we also mentioned that although the law and order situation has shown considerable improvement, it is not exemplary and, therefore, it would need the cooperation of the federal government to maintain security during the by-elections.”

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