ANP Central President Asfandyar Wali Khan addresses a press conference after party meeting in Peshawar on Tuesday. CM Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and Afrasiab Khattak also seen.

Central President Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali Khan has
said that although negotiations were needed for lasting peace in the Pakhtunkhwa
there would be no retreat in the face of threats and coercion.

Addressing a press conference at the Frontier’s House Peshawar on Tuesday, 
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Mr. Asfandyar Wali Khan
said Bacha Khan had suffered a lot at the hands of foreign rulers, but he never
surrendered. The ANP, he said, would continue to follow Bacha Khan’s principles.
“Even dictators have not been able to sway the ANP from its principled political
stand.”

Central President Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali Khan has said that
although negotiations were needed for lasting peace in the Pakhtunkhwa there
would be no retreat in the face of threats and coercion.
He said he would never negotiate at gunpoint.

Mr Asfandyar was accompanied by ANP’s senior vice-president Haji Mohammad Adeel,
central information secretary Zahid Khan, provincial president Afrasiab Khattak,
Provincial General Secretary Tajuddin Khan, Pakhtunkhwa’s Chief Minister Ameer
Haider Khan Hoti, provincial ministers Bashir Ahmed Bilour, Mian Iftikhar
Hussain, Syed Aaqil Shah, Stara Ayaz, MNAs Bushra Gohar, Jamila Gilani, MPA
Shagufta Malik, Hasham Babar, Baz Mohammad Khattak and Peshawar High Court Bar
Association president Abdul Lateef Afridi.

The chief said that like his elders, he was an ardent advocate of peace, but it
should not be construed as weakness.

He said despite everything that happened, he still believed in negotiations. “It
is the way of the civilised manner. It is the only path that must be adopted by
a person who loved peace.”

Asfandyar, who survived a deadly attack on October 2, said whether he remained
alive or not, the ANP would never tolerate terrorism on this soil.

“This is my motherland and we have sworn to defend the honour of our mothers,
sisters and daughters against all those who are out to disturb the peace by
attacking innocent civilians and bombing mosques and killing those offering
prayers,” he said.

He said the insurgency in the tribal areas was not a matter of simple
lawlessness, adding that whoever believed it to be so was either trying to
mislead others or was naïve. He said Bacha Khan and his followers had fought
empty-handed against oppressors. “We too have no weapons, but we will not relent
in our fight against evil forces.”

He said Pukhtunkhwa was part of the region which was experiencing an insurgency.
“We have to see the problem in its proper perspective, otherwise things will
remain entangled,” Mr Khan warned.

Stressing the need for urgent and concrete political and economic reforms in
Fata, he said the tribal areas were being used as a launch-pad for a broader
insurgency.

Thanking President Asif Ali Zardari for his support, Mr Asfandyar said the ANP
would continue to struggle for provincial autonomy and its proper share in net
hydel profits.

He said the main theme of his party’s election campaign was peace and after
coming into power, it had concluded two peace agreements: one with Sufi
Mohammad, chief of the defunct Tanzeem Nifaz Shariat-i-Mohammadi, and the other
with the militants in Swat. He said the agreement with Sufi Mohammad was still
intact, but the militants were not keen to honour their promises and were
indulging in acts of violence and destruction. “Some hidden forces are also
opposing the peace deal with the Swat militants.”

He said that militants involved in subversive activities in Kunar province in
Afghanistan had taken refuge in Swat.

He said ANP’s consultative committee had asked the Chief Minister to contact all
lawmakers irrespective of their political affiliation and invite them to an
all-party conference. He said the committee had asked Afrasiab Khattak to
contact the political parties and invite them to the conference.