Loyalty to the family of Baacha Khan and the Pakhtun
Rahimullah Yousafzai – The News
Peshawar: “Nek Amal Khan was a true Muslim and a true Pakhtun”, declared a
cleric as several thousand people turned up at the funeral of the 85-years old.
Awami National Party leader in his native Sakhakot town on Monday.
Tributes were aplenty and from people belonging different walks of life for
the veteran nationalist politician who passed away after protracted illness on
Sunday. His sincerity, honesty and simplicity had endeared him to all and
sundry, including clerics belonging to rival religious parties. That is the
reason that one of the clerics publicly acknowledged that Nek Amal Khan was not
only a true Pakhtun but also a practicing Muslim.
Through the deceased lost some of his electoral contests, he remained a man of
the masses and enjoyed popular support. He was often defeated by narrow margins
by his rivals from the PPP, which has retained a solid, vote bank in Malakand
Agency since the 1970 general election.
Defeats did not dampen his spirits and he would be ready the next election with
renewed vigor and high hopes. On two occasions in 1990 and 1997, Nek Amal Khan
was elected member of the Provincial Assembly from one of the two seats in
Unlike most lawmakers, he did not make any money. This was evident from his
lifestyle and his simple hujra, male guesthouse, and house in the Sakhakot
bazaar. The locality where he lived in Sakhakot is known as the Khanano Killay,
or the village of Khans. Surely it was the abode of landowning Khans, but Nek
Amal Khan was a Khan only in name as he was not a big landlord and did not have
a large income. Even then he welcomed and entertained any one who came to his
Nek Amal Khan was more than 80 years old when he fought his last electoral
battle in 2008. He needed help to walk but his mind was sharp and his speech was
clear and sweet as ever. Despite his old age and failing health, he ran a robust
campaign and polled more than 13,000 votes. The seat was won by PPP’s Syed
Mohammad Ali Shah Baacha, but Nek Amal Khan had put up a brave fight and lost
honorable. His was a life spent in constant struggle. He was a freedom fighter
who had been to jail and had offered sacrifices for democracy and all the right
causes. He struggled for Pakhtun rights under the leadership of Khan Abdul
Ghaffar Khan, his son Khan Abdul Wali Khan and grandson Asfandyar Wali Khan.
Loyalty to the family of Baacha Khan and the Pakhtun nationalist cause was the
hallmark of Nek Amal Khan’s politics. His funeral in Sakhakot on Monday was
stated to be one of the biggest in the history of the area.
The number of mourners was stated to be several thousand and one estimate said
there were almost 8,000 people at his Nimaz-Janaza. Among them were ministers,
lawmakers, government official, elite of the area and commoners. Workers of all
political parties were in attendance. It was evidence of the popularity of this
old man who struggled all his life for the rights of his people.