Wandering Toofan swirls into PTI tsunami

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  • Farid joins ANP’s biggest rivals in KP after meeting with PTI chief Imran at his residence

 

Former Awami National Party (ANP) stalwart Farid Toofan has joined the party’s biggest rivals in KP the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) after meeting with the party chief Imran Khan at his residence at Bani Gala.

According to details, Toofan and Imran held a long meeting in which political matters were discussed. Afterwards, Toofan formally accepted PTI chairman’s invitation to join the party. He was gifted a party scarf and welcomed on board by the PTI chairman.

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak also expressed his happiness at the occasion, tweeting out pictures of Toofan embracing Imran Khan adorned with a party scarf around his neck.

Farid Toofan had been associated with the ANP for his entire political career, which began in 1967 when he joined the National Awami Party (NAP). After the formation of the ANP, he joined the new party, serving two different terms as its provincial general secretary.

While Toofan was still serving as the general secretary for the ANP’s Frontier chapter in 2005, he was removed from office and slapped with a ten-year ban; thus beginning a long period of political nomadism.

The ANP and Asfandyar Wali had officially cited corruption charges; however, it was no secret that Toofan had been thrown out of the party he gave his life to because he was the most prominent person taking the side of Begum Nasim Wali, during her intra-party struggle with her step-son. The same struggle saw Begum Nasim ousted from her position as the provincial president of the ANP.

Toofan quite vocally remained committed to his old ideals, constantly decrying the ANP as having forgotten the message of Bacha Khan.

He remained close to Begum Wali, and when she announced the creation of her own ANP faction—the ANP-W—in 2014, Toofan was declared its general secretary, leaving his short stint with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which he had joined mainly to remain politically relevant.

Back then too, he had expressed that he always remained committed to the ideals of Bacha Khan, and looked forward to reviving them through his new role in the ANP-W.

However, he was once again left high and dry in August when a family reconciliation resulted in the unification of the two ANP factions. Despite his ten-year ban having been served, the Asfandyar Wali faction made it clear he was not part of the package and would not be allowed in the party again.

According to Harris Zaffar Bukhari, a lawyer and activist close to Toofan, the latter spoke to him just before joining the PTI and said that he was still an ardent follower of Bacha Khan and it was the ANP that had forsaken him.

In his statements since joining the PTI, Toofan has expressed this same disgruntled perspective he has had since his expulsion from the ANP at the hands of Asfandyar, saying that he had no other option than to join a new party or to form his own.

And while he argued that forming a new party was redundant and expensive, it is yet to be seen how—and indeed if—he will manage to reconcile the secular ideals of Bacha Khan as a member of Imran Khan’s PTI.