Face of K-P Assembly, Bilour pays the ultimate price

Published: December 23, 2012
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PESHAWAR: 

True to his words, Bashir Ahmed Bilour paid for his political ideals with his life.

Though a soft-spoken and popular politician, Bilour had a potent voice, which he used to publicly denounce the scourge of terrorism.  And while it earned him the ire of the Taliban, he never shied away from his duties. Be it inspecting the scene of a suicide attack or consoling families of victims, Bilour was always the first to rush to the scene.

It was for this reason that he was twice targeted in suicide attacks during the past few years. His residence also came under attack when militants fired rockets at his house.

Bilour was born on August 1, 1943, in Peshawar. He passed out from the Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS) No 1, Peshawar Cantonment in 1958, and in 1965 graduated from the prestigious University of Peshawar with an LLB degree.

In 1969, he married the daughter of Haji Gul Mohammad popularly known as Gul Babu, a prominent personality of Peshawar.

The Bilour family is widely regarded as ANP’s strongest political fort in Peshawar. Its political clout in the provincial capital is undisputed. So, it is little wonder that Bilour was inclined towards politics since his earliest days.

“It was in 1952, when we were studying in 5th grade, he used to tell me ‘I will become a big name in the future,’” Bilour’s cousin Ishtiaq Ahmed recollects.

Bilour started taking a keen interest in politics in the early 1970s from the now defunct National Awami Party (NAP) platform. Interestingly, Bashir Bilour was imprisoned along with his three brothers after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government banned the NAP in 1975. Bilour rose to prominence in 1977, when he was appointed Awami National Party’s general secretary. Later, he was also made party’s senior vice president.

000-PHOTO-Express-Muhammad Iqbal

People carry the coffin of senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MUHAMMAD IQBAL

He served as the party’s acting president twice – once after the resignation of Begum Nasim Wali Khan and the other time, after Afzal Khan Lala stepped down.

Bilour has also served as the provincial president of the ANP two times in his career.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Bilour’s political career was his unbeaten track record in electoral politics. His family did not participate in the 1985 elections, but Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and Bashir Ahmed Bilour contested the 1988 general elections. While Bilour lost to Pakistan Peoples Party member Syed Ayub Shah, the defeat would prove to be uncharacteristic of him. He won the provincial assembly constituency PK-III five times in a row: in 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2008 elections.

Ishtiaq Ahmed

Interestingly, he was among the few ANP stalwarts who held their fort when the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) swept the 2002 elections in the province, then known as the North West Frontier Province.

Bilour has held several portfolios as a minister. Following the 2008 elections, he was expected to be made the chief minister, a post later offered to Amir Haider Khan Hoti. Instead, he was made the parliamentary leader of ANP in the K-P Assembly and senior minister for local government and rural development.

Many took him to be the face of the provincial assembly and he actively voiced concerns in all matters of legislation.

Bashir Bilour is survived by two sons and three daughters.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Mirza
    Dec 23, 2012 - 10:27AM

    While the secular, elected, nationalist leaders particularly of ANP and PPP are eliminated one after the other not a single unelected rightwing leader is harmed! Everybody know who has the actual power in Pakistan and who has been nurturing and protecting these terrorists. From ZAB, Bugti, BB, Taseer, Bhatti, and now Balour have systematically been eliminated by the rightwing forces without any accountability in any court of law!

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  • KarachiBaby
    Dec 23, 2012 - 10:35AM

    RIP Great Man is lost.

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  • Islah M
    Dec 23, 2012 - 10:49AM

    Salutations. Perhaps over shadowing the heroics done by Aziz Bhatti or Rashid Minhas etc…

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  • bhkhattak
    Dec 23, 2012 - 12:50PM

    A Great Pashtun. One of the most distinguished sons of the soil.Your sudden demise has grieved us to the core.You were among the those bravest Pashtuns who dared to take on the war from front. This was somehow a befitting death for you as a person of your stature does not deserve to die on bed. You deserved to have been killed in the battlefield as we have witnessed.Rest in Peace, Bashir Kahn. Rest in Peace.We will remember you in our prayers. May ALLAH bless you.

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  • Raza Khan
    Dec 23, 2012 - 1:24PM

    There were very few brave leaders like Bashir Bilour who openly criticized Talibans! Sir you will be remembered. Imran Khan learn something from late Bashir Bilour. Whole of Pakistan is mourning your death. May God have his curse on the killers of Bashir Bilour!

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  • blithe
    Dec 23, 2012 - 1:30PM

    great personality that was persistnent in helping teror victims. May he rest in peace. He was the most refined amongst the Bilour brothers – that is for sure.

    The only blot in his career was his party’s role in renaming NWFP to KPK and increasing ethnic fissures in the country.

    Even though Bilor was a HIndko speaker, he and his brothers tried to be more loyal than the king in renaming from a neutral name to an ethnic name.

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  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Dec 23, 2012 - 1:52PM

    I am a Urdu speaking karaciite and admire Bashir bilours courage and sacrifice

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  • ahmad
    Dec 23, 2012 - 1:54PM

    Another corrupt politicians embraces shadat, while symbols of change,military and mullahs carry on with day to day activities like nothing happened…….

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  • Amer
    Dec 23, 2012 - 2:11PM

    Inalliahi wa inna ilyhi rajioon.

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  • Socko
    Dec 23, 2012 - 11:43PM

    If I compare the whole pakistan for secular beliefs and respect for humanity, I dont see any other region comes anywhere near to the people from Khyber Pashtoon Khwa. The irony is punjabi Establishment & other powerful ppl kinda doubt their patriotism. I hold a very high respect for ppl & leaders from KP & Fata.. RIP Bashir Ahmed Bilour Saab… We in India need more leaders like you in India as well…

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