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Pak militant group sets conditions for candidates

world Updated: May 03, 2013 15:54 IST

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A pro-government militant group in Pakistan's restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan has set "stringent conditions" for candidates contesting the May 11 polls to ensure "trouble-free balloting", according to a media report on Saturday.

The Taliban faction of Mullah Nazir, who was killed in a US drone strike in January, has assured candidates that it will not interfere in the voting process.

However, it laid out stringent conditions for candidates contesting the general election in South Waziristan Agency.

Salahuddin Ayubi alias Bahwal Khan, the current leader of the group, said all candidates will have to hold their public rallies in an open place outside Rustam Bazaar, the main market in the region, due to "security concerns".

Candidates with "no popular vote bank" should not contest the polls, Ayubi said during a meeting with candidates on Friday.

The candidates should avoid "indecent criticism" of rivals in their speeches, Ayubi was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

The candidates of three parties - Pakistan People's Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party - were told about "security threats they might face in the region", the report said.

The leaders of these parties were told to avoid open election campaigns and using party flags and banners in public places.

The ANP was also advised not to hold public meetings, the report said.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had recently warned that it would target the election rallies of the PPP, MQM and ANP.

It has already carried out several attacks targeting the ANP in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

However, Ayubi said his fighters would not interfere with the election process in the tribal region.

The meeting convened by Ayubai in Wana town was attended by over 50 candidates contesting polls for a parliamentary constituency in South Waziristan.

Local tribesmen would be free to vote for the candidate of their choice, Ayubi was quoted as saying.

Earlier, the Mullah Nazir group distributed pamphlets in Wana asking candidates to attend the meeting called by Ayubi.