Mir Afzal Khan

پښتو :: پښتانه :: پښتونخواه :: پښتونوالی

Mir Afzal Khan, Nadeem Yaqub
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)

Latest Updates

Frequent Keywords

history marwat afghanistan pashto india peshawar geneology afghan culture british afghans khyber kabul folklore baloch

Mir Afzal Khan

Nadeem Yaqub

Publishing Date: Friday, September 16 2005

Mir Afzal Khan, one of the most influential politicians the NWFP has ever had, epitomized the blend of feudal and capitalistic politics in the Frontier Province. He belonged to a family, which wielded influence even across the western borders of the country. His father, Sarfraz Khan, had married the grand-daughter of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan, the Afghan ruler who posed a serious challenge to British empire in India.

The political identity that Mir Afzal inherited from his father, a leading landlord of Mardan, is still playing an active role in the national politics even after Mir Afzal's death. The family diminished the political influence once enjoyed by the Hotis of Mardan - the Nawabzadas of this Pakhtoon-dominated second largest urban centre of the NWFP.

Mir Afzal Khan, whose political manoeuvres had a significant impact on the political developments of the country in the early 1990s, was a man with many traits, his friends believe. He could sway people to his wishes. Undoubtedly, money also played a key role in the political wheeling-dealing of the family.

The man, who once enjoyed close friendship with Z.A. Bhutto, got elected chief minister of the NWFP on the Pakistan Muslim League ticket when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister, in 1990.

The political dynasty, which blossomed with Mir Afzal's manoeuvring skills, is well entrenched. Its diverse political ideology has helped it in its quest for power.

His nephew Abbas Sarfraz is holding a ministerial assignment in the present government at the federal level. Earlier, he had got elected to the Senate in 1997, as an independent candidate at a time when the ANP-PML alliance was dominating the NWFP Assembly - the electoral college for the NWFP Senate seats.

In spite of having a feudal and Pakhtoon background, the family never discouraged its female members from taking part in active politics or in other spheres of life. With the family influence, Mir Afzal's sister Begum Zari Sarfraz, a social worker who actively participated in the Pakistan movement, got elected to the reserved seat for women in the National Assembly.

Another nephew, Haji Mohammad Yaqub, entered politics at his behest and was elected to the National Assembly on PPP's ticket in the 1993 general elections. Yaqub's father, Salar Mohammad Ayub, had been a minister in the cabinet of Ayub Khan. Mir Afzal, who entered politics, when he got elected to the West Pakistan Assembly in 1956, always put his bet on the winning horses and kept friends in all political parties. It was mainly due to this reason that he could pull strings when the time came.

He won all the polls that he contested. He got through to the Senate, the NWFP and National Assemblies twice in each. It was purely because of political expediency that in the 1970s he served as federal minister in Z.A.Bhutto's cabinet, whereas in 1990 he won elections on the IJI ticket - the political alliance formed against the PPP.

He remained chief minister of the Frontier province twice - once as caretaker in the interim government of Moeen Qureshi and again as an elected one during the first Nawaz Sharif government, in the early 1990s. That was the time when he managed to bring the Muslim League and the ANP closer, notwithstanding their divergent ideologies.

Later, he was instrumental in bringing down the first Nawaz Sharif government in league with the then president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan. He had developed differences with Nawaz Sharif over the question of renaming the Frontier province as "Pakhtoonkhawa" a popular demand of the ANP - the party he joined in 1997.

The winning horses he drew with him in the ANP folds were left at a loss with his sudden demise which brought an abrupt end to his plans to contest on two constituencies of the provincial assembly on the ANP's ticket.


Comments powered by Disqus

Mir Afzal Khan, Nadeem Yaqub
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)