The PakhtunkhwaMilliAwami party, as it is known today, has its roots in the Pakhtun nationalism of Khan Shaheed Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai. It emerged from the now defunct National Awami party (NAP), following differences with the NAP leadership over the rights of Pakthuns in Balochistan and over the NWFP (now Khyber Pakthunkhwa) leadership’s appeasing attitude towards the centre.
At the time, the party was named the Pakhtunkhwa National Awami Party. Samad Khan was elected an MPA in 1970 from the Chaman-Gulistan seat. After he was killed in a mysterious explosion in 1973, his son Mehmood Khan Achakzai was elected an MPA in a by election. In 1986, the party merged with the leftist Mazdoor Kisaan Party to form the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Ittehad, which in turn was then renamed Pakthunkhwa Milli Awami Party in 1989.
The party participated in the 1988 general elections and won two provincial assembly seats. In 1990, the party won three provincial assembly seats and the party chief was elected an MNA from NA-198 (Pishin). PkMAP’s fortunes continued to improve, so that by 1993 they had three national assembly seats – won by Achakzai, his brother Dr. Hamid Khan Achakzai and NawabAyaz Khan Jogezai respectively.
The party also won four provincial assembly seats in the 1993 elections, and became part of the coalition government led by the then chief minister, NawabZulfiqar Ali Magsi. In the 1997 elections PkMAP won two provincial assembly seats and four seats in total in the 2002 general elections, including one NA seat for Achakzai.
PkMAP’s main platform and agenda has been to protect the rights of the Pakhtun population.
As far as foreign policy is concerned, the party believes in an independent and notably, an impartial stance on foreign relations. It is against interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, and strives for the establishment of a federation in which all nationalities including the Baloch, Pakhtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis and Seraikis have equal rights and an equal share in national resources.
PkMAP Chairperson Achakzai has repeatedly spoken about the country’s intelligence agencies, and is clear that they have no right to interfere in the political affairs of the government. He is opposed to the political role of armed forces and considers such a role an effort to undermine the fragile democratic system in the country.
In 2008, the party boycotted the general elections to deny former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf legitimacy, but this time, it has fielded candidates on both provincial and national assembly seats from Balochistan, Karachi and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The party’s traditional strongholds are considered to be Quetta, Chaman, Pishin, Loralai and other Pakthun-dominated areas of Balochistan.
PKMAP demands Baloch-Pashtoon parity in terms of distribution of resources, services and official slots in Balochistan.
The party chief, Achakzai, is to contest for two NA seats – NA-259 in Quetta and NA-262 in Qilla Abdullah.
Up till now, the party has not formed an alliance with any political group. However, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have declared support for Achakzai on the Quetta seat.
— Research and text by Syed Ali Shah