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November 20, 2016

Death anniversary of Afzal Khan Lala marked


November 20, 2016

MINGORA: The first death anniversary of veteran Awami National Party (ANP) leader and former federal minister Mohammad Afzal Khan was marked with reverence here on Saturday.

Commonly known as Khan Lala, the Pakhtun nationalist leader had died in November last year.

A large number of ANP workers, local political figures, well-wishers and commoners were present at his hujra in Bara Drushkhela village to observe his death anniversary.

District Nazim of Swat Mohammad Ali Shah, ANP Swat chapter’s head Sher Shah Khan, Brigadier (R) Mohammad Salim Khan, Ibrahim Khan, Haroon Rasheed Khattak and others spoke on the occasion. 

They paid glowing tributes to the services of Afzal Khan Lala and said he was a man of principles and a true democrat. 

The speakers said Afzal Khan wanted the unity of Pakhtun people and was a steadfast proponent of “lar ao bar, yaw Afghan” which meant that people living on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border belonged to the same Afghan race.

Afzal Khan began his political career from the platform of the erstwhile National Awami Party (NAP). On the NAP ticket, he was elected Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) in the 1970 general election from his native Swat.

Being a close confidant of late nationalist leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan, he was one of the three ANP ministers who served in the short-lived provincial government under the then chief minister Maulana Mufti Mahmud.

Afzal Khan was arrested in 1975 in connection with the Hyderabad conspiracy case along with other prominent NAP leaders such as Khan Abdul Wali Khan, Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo, Khair Bakhsh Marri, Sardar Attaullah Mengal,

All of them were released by General Ziaul Haq in 1978 as he ended the treason cases against them. Afzal Khan was elected the provincial president of the ANP the same year.

However, he along with some others quit the ANP in 1990 after developing differences with the party leadership and formed the Qaumi Inqilabi Party. 

In 1997, he joined the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement and advocated giving provincial autonomy to various provinces and ethnic groups in the country. However, he rejoined the ANP in 2005 and remained loyal to it until his death. During the insurgency, Afzal Khan refused to leave his village in Swat despite severe threat to him by the Taliban. He survived attempts on his life and his house also came under attack.

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