The Awami National Party (ANP) has shelved a proposal to elevate party President Asfandyar Wali Khan to the post of Rahbar and appoint a new leader in his place – just to keep the party intact and avoid any internal divide and breach of the party constitution.
The ANP is now set to follow PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who had got himself elected for a third term in violation of party constitution. As per the decision, Asfandyar will be elected the party president for a third consecutive term in the upcoming party polls scheduled in April.
A source told Pakistan Today on Monday that most of the party leaders had raised a proposal to replace Asfandyar, whose movement had been restricted after a life attempt on him by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) at Charsadda.
“After the suicide attempt on his life, Asfandyar has turned himself into a redundant president and mostly remains abroad. Over the past year, his absence was taken as a negative signal by the masses and the party could not take strategic decisions on national issues due to his absence,” said the source.
“People have been raising questions about his absence, saying if they could face the terrorists why not their leader. Due to this negative feedback, the party was mulling replacing him,” the source said, adding that the ANP president himself wanted to be relieved from the post.
“He had short listed names of former federal minister Azam Khan Hoti and Afrasiyab Khattak to replace him. However, other party leaders, including Haji Muhammed Adeel, did not agree,” the source said.
The ANP leaders were of the view that the appointment of Hoti would strengthen the impression that Asfandyar only wanted to accommodate his family members. “Asfandyar wanted to appoint Hoti, his brother-in-law, ignoring senior party leaders like Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Haji Adeel and Afrasiyab Khattak.”
Earlier, another crucial decision was made when Ameer Haider Hoti, the elder son of Azam Hoti, was made the chief minister by ignoring Bashir Bilour, the source said. When contacted, ANP acting president Haji Adeel confirmed that the party was mulling a proposal to elevate Asfandyar as party Rahbar.
“This proposal was forwarded as Asfandyar is ill. Moreover, he thought he should be replaced as the party constitution does not allow anyone to get himself elected for a third term. However, since bringing a new president could have opened a Pandora’s Box, the decision has been shelved. We have decided to convene the party’s General Council and request members to condone the bar on holding party office for a third term,” he added.