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CHARSADDA, May 13: The 77-year-old nationalist leader, Naseem Wali Khan, on Monday expressed dismay at the defeat of Awami National Party in the elections and announced to return to active politics to strengthen the party.

Naseem Wali, daughter-in-law of Khudai Khidmatgaar Tehrik leader Bacha Khan and wife of Awami National Party leader Abdul Wali Khan, told a news conference here at Wali Bagh that she had decided to restart political activities by engaging with disgruntled ANP workers to strengthen the party.

She said she had decided to return to politics due to heartrending election defeat of ANP in the province, especially in Charsadda, hometown of ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan.

“It is a difficult time for the party and I will strive to strengthen it,” he said.

Naseem Wali said she had been out of political scene and spent a quiet life for six years.

She said she remained aloof because she hoped that Asfandyar Wali would strengthen ANP but instead ANP suffered setback in the elections due to his flawed policies and changes in ANP manifesto.

The national leader said ANP had seen tough times in the past but it had come back with vigour to the political scene.

She said she had made a commitment to herself that she would bring back disgruntled workers and that doors of Wali Bagh were Naseem Wali returns to politics open to all party workers.

Begum Naseem said she was aware that her health was poor but she would try her best to gather Pakhtuns under the banner of ANP.

She said her objective was not to split the party but to unite its activists and strengthen it.

The nationalist leader said she would be merely a guide taking Bacha Khan’s movement ahead and was hopeful that Pakhtuns would be untied and would choose their leader themselves.

She said politicians who used helicopters and bulletproof vehicles could not stay in contact with their people the way Bacha Khan and Wali Khan remained engaged with their people.

Begum Naseem called upon Taliban to shun violence, saying like them (Taliban), Pakhtuns were also Muslims and they should let peace a chance in the region.

She said when current ANP provincial president Afrasiab Khattak left the party, then Abdul Wali Khan had predicted as mentioned in his book that if he (Khattak) was allowed to re-join, it would damage the party.