ANP protests snatching of postal ballots in Swabi

Awami National Party (ANP) leaders and electoral candidates organized a demonstration on Sunday night denouncing the seizure of postal ballots intended for government employees from a post office in Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate on Friday. The incident unfolded in PK-49.

During the protest outside the office of the returning officer for PK-49, ANP candidate Shahnawaz Akhunzada from NA-19 demanded action against the perpetrators. Sohail Khan, another ANP candidate from PK-49, urged the Supreme Court and the election commission to intervene and address the rigging tactics.

The protest persisted late into the night, prompting law enforcement to intervene. District Police Officer Haroon Rashid Khan reported the arrest of two individuals affiliated with JUI-F and the filing of an FIR against them under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Although the police stated that 345 ballot papers were snatched, ANP leaders claimed a higher number. The DPO identified Shahid Khan Jadoon and Amjid Khan Jadoon as the individuals involved in the ballot snatching, with Shahid being the nephew of former provincial minister Ghafoor Khan Jadoon, the JUI-F candidate from PK-49.

The motive behind the ballot snatching appears to be linked to Ghafoor Jadoon’s candidacy. Despite the incident occurring on Friday, the post office officials remained silent, failing to report the matter to the election commission or the district administration. Pressure from ANP leaders and social media eventually led to police action.

ANP activists denounced the ballot snatching as a form of pre-poll rigging. According to DPO Haroon Rasheed, postal employees reported being threatened by two men to hand over the ballots. Conversely, JUI-F leaders claimed that the ballot papers were discovered in a shop and retrieved by Shahid and Amjid, alleging reluctance from the postmaster to deliver them to the designated public sector employees.

Political analysts view the incident as detrimental to Ghafoor Jadoon’s electoral prospects in the constituency.