ANP leader Bashir Khan joins PkMAP
By Zakir Hassnain
PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party (ANP) had a great setback on Sunday when one of its senior-most central leaders ditched the party and joined the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).
“I resigned from the ANP with which I have been associated for the last 38 years and joined the PkMAP as a worker,” announced Mr Bashir Khan Matta at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club.
He said he had quit the ANP because he was disappointed with the party leadership’s inability to reform and restructure the nationalist party and not because of the differences over Senate ticket.
Others who also announced joining the PkMAP included PPP (Sherpao)’s Akhundzada Abdul Manan and ANP’s Haji Zareen Khan Afridi.
The PkMAP’s chief and Member National Assembly (MNA) Mr Mahmood Khan Achakzai, party senior vice chairman Abdul Rahim Mandokhel and a large number of followers of the PkMAP were present at the press conference.
Mr Matta said despite being one of the country’s biggest ethnic community, Pakhtuns were in disarray. “I consider the PkMAP a better platform to protect the rights of Pakhtuns. I now offer my services to them,” he said.
He denied he left the party over differences on Senate ticket. He said he had on several occasions called for a reform of the party but no one cared about that. “Because of being disorganised the party suffered the worst-ever defeat in the October general elections,” he said.
PPP (S) defector Abdul Manan agreed with Mr Matta and said he joined the PPP under the leadership of the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Later, he added, he joined Mr Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao’s faction.
He said to protect the rights, culture and traditions of Pakhtuns he was ready to work under Mr Achakzai leadership.
Haji Zareen Khan Afridi supported the two senior speakers. Mr Achakzai thanked Mr Matta and others for joining his party.