- Threat alerts mar election campaigns in North and South Waziristan regions
- PTM members face threats from pro-government militants besides admin’s restrictions
PESHAWAR: Amid security threats that are affecting electioneering in North Waziristan, the imposition of section 144 has limited the campaigning of political players in the adjacent South Waziristan Agency.
As per the details, the administration of South Waziristan had imposed section 144 in the first week of June following the clashes between Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and pro-government militants. While under section 144, no one is allowed to hold public rallies and gatherings without the permission of authorities concerned, district magistrate, through a notification, has allowed limited political activities – permitting the contenders to address corner meetings.
Sources informed that the candidates of different parties were bound to seek permission to hold rallies and processions. “The candidates of different parties have opened election offices in both the tribal agencies. In rest of former tribal regions, the candidates are allowed to hold election rallies and gatherings, but officials from time to time are issuing threat alerts, that rather than stopping the political players, are causing fear and unrest among common people,” they said.
Malik Ghulam Khan, candidate of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from North Waziristan confirmed that his party’s political activities were being limited owing to section 144. He, however, said that the situation was improving day by day now.
PTM’s Abdullah Nangyal, contesting from the frontier regions said, “There are no restrictions on rallies in the frontier regions but the situation is very critical for my fellows who are contesting from North and South Waziristan Agencies.”
Both candidates lamented that, with limited activities, it was hard for them as well as other candidates to convey their manifestos to the electorates. In this connection, they said the government needed to provide maximum opportunities to the candidates so that they run their campaigns without any fear or hurdles.
It merits mention that two of PTM founding leaders, Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, are contesting from South and North Waziristan Agencies. Ali Wazir, besides government restrictions, is also facing threats from former militants who are now a part of the government-patronised peace committees.