Khan Abdul Wali Khan, son of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan passed away last Thursday. A report and a tribute to one of the few people of historical importance who walked the patchy road of mutual goodwill between Pakistan and India till the “thaw” in recent years. Among others was of course Faiz Ahmed Faiz who is as much loved in India as in Pakistan. Among the politicians it was the Khans- both father and son.
It is said that nothing grows under a banyan tree. The same is believed to be true of a towering leader, whose progenies are generally no patch on his greatness. There are glorious exceptions though, and veteran politician and leader of Pakistan’s Awami National Party, Abdul Wali Khan, who died at a ripe age of 89 last Thursday, was one of them. He was the son of as tall a leader as Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar and yet became an undisputed leader in his own right.
A longer and more critical remembrance by Rahimullah Yusufzai:
One could argue that the ANP’s declining popularity was due to extraneous factors and on account of manoeuvrings by the all-powerful military and the use of money and religious agendas. But political parties and their leaderships should be adapting to changed circumstances and strengthening their organisations to meet new challenges. In any case, refusal to move beyond the single-point agenda of Pakhtun nationalism at a time when other issues had become important and relevant wasn’t going to fetch more votes.