Profile: Who is Abdul Khaliq Khan Achakzai, Balochistan’s speaker?

Abdul Khaliq Khan Achakzai hails from the border town of Chaman and has served in the Pakistan armed forces

By Aimen Siddiqui
March 01, 2024
Captain (r) Abdul Khaliq Khan Achakzai. — x/abdulha36423999

KARACHI: Captain (r) Abdul Khaliq Khan Achakzai, a lesser-known name in the political landscape of Quetta, has taken charge as speaker of the Balochistan Assembly after winning the spot unopposed.

Abdul Khaliq Khan Achakzai hails from the border town of Chaman and has served in the Pakistan armed forces. He holds a bachelor’s degree in arts. Achakzai does not have a political background nor is he an heir of any political family in Balochistan. Political observers see him as an electable, mostly supporting the ruling party in the province.


It was in 2008 when he was first elected to the Balochistan Assembly. He contested from PB-11 Killa Abdullah-I as an independent candidate and bagged 11,378 votes. He later joined the PML-N and helped the PPP make a coalition government. In the 2008-2013 Balochistan Assembly, he served as the minister for youth affairs.

In the 2013 election, he once again contested as an independent from PB-11 Killa Abdullah-1 but failed; he came third in the race. Post 2013, he continued to act as a provincial member of the PML-N.

This association came to an end in May 2018 when he formally announced in a press conference held at the Chief Minister House that he was joining the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). He remained unsuccessful in the 2018 elections as well.

In December 2023, he quit BAP and contested the Feb 8, 2024 election as an independent candidate for PB51. He won the election by securing 20,390 votes.

But his victory remained mired in controversies. According to Quetta-based journalist Shahzada Zulfiqar, in the days leading up to the Feb 8 election, “local journalists had predicted that the election battle from the PB51 constituency would be tough between the ANP and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party candidates. They also saw the JUI-F as the third big contender.”

But Achakzai’s victory came as a shock for many. Zulfiqar further adds that Achakzai did not have any significant political activity in his constituency. However, he was quite “confident” about his victory. He also says: “His nomination for the speaker seat was also a surprise. In a meeting held by the PML-N in Islamabad, it was decided that former speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Rahila Durrani would be the PML-N’s nominee. However, Rahila herself was surprised when the party submitted Achakzai’s name; she also recorded her dissatisfaction.”