Awami National Party

Pakistan Table of Contents

The Awami National Party (awami means "people's"), which depends on Pakhtuns of the North-West Frontier Province and northern Balochistan as its political base, won six seats in the National Assembly in the 1990 elections. In the 1993 national elections, the party won three seats in the National Assembly. The Awami National Party was formed in 1986 by the merger of several left-leaning parties including the Awami Tehrik and the National Democratic Party. Khan Abdul Wali Khan was appointed its first president. Wali Khan's political career had been built on the tradition of intense Pakhtun nationalism inherited from his father, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Both men were opposed to the creation of Pakistan, and after partition they were imprisoned. In 1956 Wali Khan joined the National Awami Party (NAP), led by a charismatic Bengali socialist, Maulana Bhashani. In 1965 the NAP split into two factions, with Wali Khan becoming president of the pro-Moscow faction. In 1972 the party was strong enough to form coalition provincial governments, with its partner the Jamiat-ul- Ulama-i-Islam (JUI) in the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan. These governments were short lived. Wali Khan was again jailed, and his party was barred from politics when the Supreme Court upheld the finding of Bhutto that the NAP was conspiring against the state of Pakistan. General Zia subsequently withdrew the charges against the NAP. Wali Khan was released, joined the National Democratic Party, and ultimately formed the Awami National Party.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress