ANP’s internal turf war reaches student wing

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The ongoing turf war inside the Awami National Party (ANP) has trickled down to its student wing, the Pukhtun Students Federation (PkSF), and divided the student body into two groups.

The factions at odds support either ANP chief Asfandyar Wali or his stepmother Begum Nasim Wali Khan, the widow of late ANP chief Wali Khan.

On Tuesday, PkSF President Bashir Sherpao announced the removal of Asfandyar Wali Khan and son Aimal Wali Khan from the posts of central and provincial advisers to the PkSF, respectively.

In their place, Sherpao announced the appointment of Begum Nasim Wali Khan and her grandson Lawangeen Wali as central and provincial advisers to the PkSF. The student president also announced the dissolution of all chapters of the PkSF, and fresh elections.

Earlier this week, the two opposing groups – supporting Asfandyar Wali Khan and Begum Nasim Wali Khan, respectively – addressed separate news conferences at the Peshawar Press Club claiming to be the real representatives of the student wing.

The pro-Asfandyar group led by PkSF Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Organising Committee Chairman Imtiaz Wazir termed Bashir Sherpao’s announcement of sacking Asfandyar Wali and his son, and dissolving the PkSF’s country-wide chapters as ‘invalid.’

Wazir said Sherpao’s announcements amounted to a serious breach of PkSF and ANP discipline and had no value. “Advisers to the PkSF are appointed by the party (ANP) and no individual has the right to appoint them,” said Wazir.

According to Wazir, the PkSF’s provincial cabinet was dissolved on September 17 and Bashir Sherpao’s presidential tenure was also over.  “Bashir’s supporter Riaz Marwat (former PkSF K-P general secretary) is not a part of PkSF now,” said Wazir.

He further termed the departure of both student leaders as a good omen for the student body and said they were ‘traitors’ to the ANP.

“A fact-finding committee has also revealed that Bashir Sherpao and Riaz Marwat have caused damage to the student body and their recent moves were aimed at saving themselves from accountability,” Wazir claimed.

He rejected Sherpao’s announcement of dissolving the PkSF in all four provinces saying he had no right to make such announcements. “Bashir is using Azam Khan Hoti’s language against Asfandyar Wali Khan and we condemn his remarks against the ANP chief,” he added.

The student leader expressed confidence in Asfandyar’s policies and leadership.

Meanwhile, Bashir Sherpao along with his group also addressed a news conference to defend Sherpao’s decision of dissolving PkSF and appointing Begum Nasim and Lawangeen Wali. The group also rejected Imtiaz Wazir’s allegations.

Sherpao said they would fully support Begum Nasim because she was the real heir of Baacha Khan and Abdul Wali Khan, while Asfandyar had damaged the party’s image.

“Asfandyar and his son have hijacked the whole party,” claimed Sherpao.

He further added the ANP would ask youths to appoint their leaders through the grand jirga Begum Nasim intends to hold.

Source: Express Tribune.