Mehmood Khan Achakzai, born in 1948, is the chairman of the the biggest Pakhtun nationalist party based in Balochistan province, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP). He is also the son of Abdus Samad Khan Achakzai, who led the now defunct Pakhtunkhwa National Awami Party.

After his father was assassinated in a bomb attack in Quetta in December 1973 he was elected as the chairman and took control of the reins of the party. He completed his BSc in Engineering in 1971 from University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Peshawar.

Achakzai was elected a Member of National Assembly for the first time in the 1993 elections from Quetta's NA-198 constituency with the backing of the then Pakistan Muslim League.

He was the only party member representing Pakhtun nationalist interests during the 2002 elections from the province, which was dominated by Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) victories.

The party has opposed the Kalabagh Dam project and Mahmood Khan Achakzai has vocally expressed his reservations over the project. The PkMAP chief has also denounced terrorism and extremism prevailing in the country.

Though the party had parted ways with its earlier ally the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) and formed an alliance with the Awami National Party (ANP), the party then entered the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) and decided not to take part in the 2008 elections.

Though was not a member of the 2008-2013 parliament, Mahmood Khan has been in the news for his political role, especially over national issues like his meetings with Nawaz Sharif over the NFC award and the Balochistan issue, his participation in the recently held All Party Conference (APC) hosted by the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) supporting talks with militants through a jirga.

The PkMAP had rejoiced with the ANP over the naming of the North West Frontier Province as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2010 and has also called upon the federal government to make new provinces in the country on the basis of language, culture, history and geography of the area concerned.

During the sit-in staged by Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri, Achakzai had represented his party in an opposition parties meeting which stood against any ‘unconstitutional steps’ that could be a threat to democracy.

Off lately Achakzai's name had been generating buzz among political circles as he was considered a leading candidate for the post of caretaker prime minister, but the scenario was ruled out with the appointment of Mir Hazar Khoso as the caretaker prime minister.

Achakzai's earlier refusal to hold the caretaker post had also corraborated the views of some that he and his party intended to contest the upcoming elections  (Which is now confirmed).

The nomination papers of Mahmood Khan Achakzai for the upcoming elections were conditionally accepted by Election Commission of Pakistan subject to verification of particulars by the Higher Education Commssion, Federal Board of Revenue and State Bank of Pakistan.

The ECP also issued on its website the details of Achakzai's records provided by NAB, SBP and FBR.

The PkMAP chief has also held meetings with the caretaker chief minister of Balochistan and the caretaker prime minister who had not only hailed the decision but assured the leader of security as well.

The PML-N has once again decided to support Achakzai, and has announced that they will support him on the NA-259 seat.

— Research and text by Syed Ali Shah.

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