The Awami National Party-led government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has finally decided to officially observe the death anniversary of acclaimed Pushto poet and intellectual Abdul Ghani Khan who passed away on March 15, 1996.
Ghani Khan was the son of Khudai Khidmatgar Tehreek (Red Shirts Movement) founder Khan Abdul Ghaffar, popularly known as Baacha Khan, and an uncle of ANP’s incumbent chief Asfandyar Wali Khan. He is one of the most popular Pashto poets of the 20th century.
However, both father and son have had a rocky relationship with the region’s religious scholars. They have often been criticised for their secular views, controversial works on religion and anti-political views. Ghani was arrested by the government in 1948, and remained in prison till 1954. He was in incarceration when his first book was published.
Speaking at a news conference, K-P Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that Ghani Khan was not being celebrated the way he should be.
He said the ANP-led government has not been able to observe Ghani Khan’s anniversary during its first four years because of security concerns, but the government would mark his 16th death anniversary in a befitting manner.
The minister said the KP government would arrange a two-day festival in honour of the poet either in Islamabad or in Peshawar. The event would be open for everyone and people from all over the world will be invited.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.
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