PESHAWAR Veteran nationalist politician and poet Mohammad Ajmal Khattak was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in Akora Khattak on Monday.
Thousands of people attended his funeral despite heavy downpour. His body was kept for some time at the Khushal Khan Khattak Degree College to enable his supporters, followers and admirers to have a last glimpse.
Ajmal Khattak was also a religious scholar who, along with Maulana Abdul Haq, founded the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak.
His Soyem will be held in his village on Tuesday. He is survived by three sons -- Aimal Khan, Mir Wais and Jamal Khattak, -- two daughters and wife.
NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti laid a floral wreath on his grave and urged people to model themselves on the late poet to earn true respect and love of the people.
It is said that Mr Khattak was a genius who started from scratch and reached the corridors of power but didn't change his lifestyle.
Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said Mr Khattak served democracy and Pakhtun culture and values like few other people. He suffered exile and languished in jails several times during his tireless struggle against military dictators. He was a role model for politicians.
Senior provincial minister Bashir Bilour said Ajmal Khattak never sacrificed his principles for worldly gains. “He lived in a three-marla house in his village despite being part of the government,” he said in a statement.
ANP's provincial president Afrasiab Khattak said that as a writer and poet of high calibre, the late Ajmal Khattak served the Pakhtun cause by highlighting their problems and waging struggle against usurpers and for the rights of the deprived people. He was a true follower of Bacha Khan who fought against those who tried to force people into submission through use of force.
Ajmal Khattak was also a good player of volleyball and a tournament named after him takes place every year in Akora Khattak.
Federal Minister Najamuddin Khan said his struggle for democracy and rule of law would be always remembered.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party's provincial chief Mukhtiar Khan Yousafzai said Mr Khattak shouldered his responsibilities as a poet for the betterment of the Pakhtuns whose sufferings were often the subject of his work. He faced hardships and worked in difficult conditions but remained steadfast and stood like a rock against oppressors. He gave courage and voice to the people to speak up against injustices, he said.
The funeral was attended by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Minister of State for Local Government and Rural Development Masood Abass Khattak, PML-N's Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Saranjam Khan and Raja Zafarul Haq, NWFP Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah, Mardan District Nazim Himayatullah Mayar, MQM's Naveed Khan, legislators, political leaders, poets, academicians, people from various sections of the society and an Afghan delegation.
Apart from authoring over a dozen books in Pashto and Urdu, Mr Khattak worked as editor of various newspapers and magazines, including Anjam, Shahbaz, Adl and Rahbar. He was an accomplished scriptwriter and worked for the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.