Asfandyar Wali Khan
Elections 2013 : Former MNA, Asfandyar Wali Khan lost elections to Maulana Muhammad Gohar Shah of Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (F)
"Allowing someone else to use your land has its implications" - Asfandyar Wali Khan
Asfandyar Wali Khan, s/o Khan Abdul Wali Khan was born on 19th February 1949 at Wali Bagh, Charsadda. He is done MBA, hails from a distinguished family of politicians, is the leader of Pakistan’s Awami National Party (ANP) and a nationalist at heart.
Charsadda, the political nerve centre of the NWFP, is an area where religion, nationalism, Khanism and the violent peasant movement of 1970s, still have a deep mark on the local politics. The ‘Walis’ are one of the two important political families of the district; ‘Sherpaos’ being the other. Charsadda is the traditional stronghold of Awami National Party, heir to the political legacy of Khaudai Khidmatgar Movement of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan. Asfandyar Wali’s father, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, was the party’s second President.
Asfandyar Wali Khan has served as Member of Provincial Assembly, Member of National Assembly, and Senator in Pakistan's Parliament. In the recent 2008 elections he has been elected as ember of National Assembly member from NA-7 Charsadda-I with 56,950 votes, which is 72.77% of the total vote.
He served as leader of the Pakhtun Student Federation prior to being elected to the Provincial Assembly in the 1990 election, while in the 1993 election he was elected to Pakistan's National Assembly - a seat to which he was re-elected to in the 1997 election. He was defeated in the 2002 election, when tactical alliance was formed by all the anti-ANP groups against him. After Asfandyar Wali’s defeat he resigned as President of his party, only to be re-elected unopposed in the subsequent party election. In 2003 he was elected to the Senate as Senator for a six year term.
The Government’s operation in South Waziristan makes him feel real bad. He firmly believes that Al-Qaeda is not, by any means, a product of the Pukhtoon society. It's a foreign element. What is strange about this operation is that those who offered shelter have been arrested, and those who took refuge remain elusive. He believes that it’s better to see who is responsible for bringing them here. They come from countries ranging from Morocco to Indonesia. Who harbored them for so long? All this must have certain consequences. He feels that allowing someone else to use your land has its implications. That is why; Pakistan today is facing those political and geographical consequences. He feels that when Pakistan brought these aliens here and looked after them for so long, we had in fact invited trouble.
Asfandyar Wali Khan believes that “As you sow, so shall you reap”. He detests the false notion of the tribal areas being all bad. He says that all the Al-Qaeda leaders have been apprehended from Faisalabad and Karachi. The whole region has been affected. This is not about the tribal areas alone.
Ever since its inception, the ANP has always had a representation in the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan. ANP has never called for a separate homeland. What it has asked for is more provincial autonomy, which is within the restraints and provisions of the federal constitution of Pakistan.
Asfandyar Wali urges the world community that they should take on board the Pukhtoons if they desired peace and stability in the region. Terrorists are killing journalists, religious scholars, tribal elders, doctors, engineers and common citizens, but the movement of Baacha Khan was against terrorism; this feeling makes Asfandyar Wali proud of his grandfather whose legacy he is carrying forward. He is for the Pakhtun cause; and wants the world to respect and regard Pakhtuns as a respectable entity.
Nevertheless, the establishment feels that Asfandyar Wali and the ANP are probably not contributing their bit towards the true national cause; for in the establishment’s opinion ANP is potentially capable of reversing the Talibanization trend in the tribal areas. Even if the establishment’s viewpoint is true, it is the handling of any situation that matters. Anything mishandled is in fact ruined. The problem at hand can only be solved if the establishment acts sensibly enough to recognize the high stakes involved, such as the growing influence of religious extremists in the region and the increasing number of suicide attacks within Pakistan itself.
Asfandyar Wali has a rightful claim when he tries to make the establishment realize that ‘Pakhtuns’ are something to be owned up, as dearly as the people of any other province. He and his party – ‘The Awami National Party’ have an ideology that they hold dear, and it gives them a sense of belonging to what they are.
(Profile by: Talha Abbasi)