Disillusioned by the Awami National Party, veteran politician Begum Nasim Wali Khan on Saturday announced that she would launch a new party to struggle for the rights of Pakhtuns.
“The failed policies of the ANP have compelled me to carve out a new party,” she told a news conference in Peshawar. “After consulting likeminded senior [ANP] members, I have decided to launch a new party at a ceremony to commemorate the deaths of our leaders – Bacha Khan and Khan Abdul Wali Khan.”
She said the date of the ceremony would be announced after consultations with ‘disgruntled’ ANP workers. According to Irshad Tandar, an ANP leader sympathetic to Begum Wali’s cause, it would most likely be held on Jan 27.
Although she had not settled on a name for her party, Begum Wali said it would be named after Bacha Khan and Abdul Wali Khan. She added that torch would be the election symbol of the new party.
Inviting ‘likeminded’ ANP members to her new party, Begum Wali said: “There will be no place for corrupt leaders in my party.” She hit out at the ANP leadership, saying its policies had brought the party to the verge of collapse.
“ANP’s tenure was dominated by corruption and nepotism, compounding the sense of alienation among the Pakhtuns,” she said. “Their failure to restore peace [in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa] combined with its policies has caused much devastation on Pakhtun soil.”
Singling out her stepson, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, for criticism, Begum Wali accused him of striking a $35 million deal with the US in exchange for ‘the blood of Pakhtuns’. She also accused Asfandyar of receiving Rs120 million from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement to stay silent over the killing of ANP workers in Karachi and ruled out any compromise with him.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2014.