History repeated itself for the fourth time after Asfandyar Wali Khan was elected unopposed as the central president of the Awami National Party by the general council on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the party’s provincial general secretary and former K-P Information Minister, Mian Iftikhar Hussain was elected as the central general secretary, after two political heavyweights—Senator Afrasiab Khattak and Latif Afridi—merged their support and backed him for the slot.
Haji Ghulam Bilour, Mian Iftikhar Hussain. PHOTO: FILE
ANP’s MNA from Peshawar, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour was re-elected as senior vice president. Former MNA Bushra Gohar, Baz Muhammad Khan, Lala Aurangzeb, Dawood Khan among others were elected as vice presidents.
Senator Zahid Khan was elected information secretary, Arbab Tahir finance secretary, Bashir Matta as foreign affairs secretary, Wajid Ali Khan as additional general secretary, Tajuddin Khan as deputy secretary, and Amir Nawab Khan as labour secretary. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also extended his congratulations to Asfandyar Wali Khan and appreciated the democratic credentials of ANP in his message.
Party vice president Bushra Gohar said while talking to The Express Tribune that each of the five provinces—since the Seraiki belt is also counted according to the party manifesto—is given a minimum number of party memberships to reach, and allotted 60 councillors each. If the party memberships exceed the minimum requirement, the province is also given more councillors. It is these members that then elect the ANP’s central cabinet, she explained.
While speaking to a gathering after being elected as party president, Asfandyar said if the democratic process in Pakistan was derailed, the responsibility would lie with Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri. Emphasising that ANP will never support any undemocratic act, he added the parliament should decide how many favour inqilab as opposed to democracy.
Speaking of the K-P government, Asfandyar said most of its ministers are negotiating with the National Accountability Bureau on plea bargains, but they have not been removed because they are PTI members. Criticising the double standards of PTI, the ANP leader said the chief minister was dancing in Islamabad while Pukhtuns were dying at home. PTI’s mandate was to end terrorism in K-P, not arrange long marches, he added.
“We have fulfilled Bacha Khan and Wali Khan’s goal of provincial autonomy and given K-P its name,” said Asfandyar. “Some forces now want to bring changes to the 18th Amendment, which we will resist.”
The party chief saluted ANP leaders like former K-P president Afrasiab Khattak and Latif Afridi for withdrawing their names from the general secretary race for the good of the party.
“I am merely a party worker,” said re-appointed general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain. “I want to thank the leadership for mandating this task to me and assure them that I will not let them down.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th,2014.
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