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Partial shutdown observed in KP over strike call by tripartite opposition

Partial shutdown observed in KP over strike call by tripartite opposition

PESHAWAR: A partial shutdown is being observed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinceon Wednesday over a call for a strike, in protest of alleged rigging during the May 30 Local Government (LG) polls, given by the Awami National Party (ANP), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP),

All major cities in the province remained open for the most part, although some shops were closed for a short while early morning.

ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain has accused the provincial government of using the police against traders and shopkeepers.

Speaking to the media, Mian Iftikhar said that the police, under pressure from the provincial government, was harassing traders and shopkeepers asking them to keep shops and markets open.

The ex-provincial information minister said that last night a provincial government delegation had requested for a peaceful observance of strike but the government today was using police to harass the shopkeepers in order to keep their businesses open.

He warned the government that it would take only a few minutes to bring the province to a standstill.

Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani condemned the forcible closing of shops and markets by the tripartite opposition, and invited the tripartite opposition for talks on the issue of rigging.

Meanwhile, forcible closure of shops was reported in parts of Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera, where opposition workers patrolled the city encouraging traders to observe the strike.

Television footage showed workers belonging to the tripartite opposition alliance and protesting at Peshawar's Ashraf Road and manhandling shopkeepers.

Workers threw the goods of a shopkeeper out of his shop, and were seen using flagstaffs in order to coerce the closure of shops.

Read more: KP opposition rejects APC proposals over rigging allegations

The tripartite opposition alliance on Tuesday rejected the proposals made during an all parties conference (APC) convened by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.

The KP chief minister on Tuesday had said that the formation of a judicial commission to probe rigging allegations during the recently-conducted LG polls in the province was agreed upon in the APC.

The APC, however, had been boycotted by the tripartite opposition who also rejected the chief minister's proposal of the formation of a judicial commission.

"It has been proved that the LG polls were rigged, hence there is no need to form a judicial commission for investigation. The government should step down and announce elections under a caretaker set up," said ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Tuesday.

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