MARDAN: Senator Mohammad Azam Khan Hoti, a veteran politician and leader of Awami National Party (ANP), passed away here on Wednesday. He was 69.
Azam Hoti, the father of former chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, was born to Khudai Khidmatgar leader Mohammad Ameer Khan on April 27, 1946 in Mardan city. He was the brother of Begum Naseem Wali Khan, the wife of Abdul Wali Khan, and brother-in-law of ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.
According to family and party sources, the deceased was suffering from throat cancer for quite some time which ultimately led to his death.
He joined Pakistan Army as a commissioned officer in 1967 and took part in the Pakistan-India war in 1971 as a captain. He, however, took retirement from the army in 1972 as a captain and started his political career from the platform of National Awami Party (NAP).
He was one of the founding leaders of Awami National Party after NAP was banned in the country. He was also the founder of ANP youth wing ‘Nangyalai Pakhtun’.
Mr Hoti along with other nationalist leaders was forced to spend life in exile in Kabul after ban was put on NAP during the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He was also sent behind bars during the regime of former military ruler Ziaul Haq.
However, ANP leaders were allowed by the same regime to take part in politics. He entered into parliamentary politics in 1988 but failed to win the National Assembly seat on the ANP ticket.
Mr Hoti was elected MNA twice in 1991 and 1997. He served as state minister and federal minister for communication. He was also elected senator twice on ANP ticket -- first in 1993 and for the second time in 2012.
The political career of Mr Hoti took a new turn when he developed serious differences with ANP leadership and even his own son Ameer Haider Khan Hoti in 2013. He levelled serious allegations against Asfandyar Wali Khan and held him responsible for the party’s massive defeat in the last general elections.
Mr Hoti is survived by two wives, two sons and a daughter. His funeral prayers were offered in Hoti House. He was laid to rest near his mother’s graveyard on the premises of Hoti House.
Scores of high profile political figures and other personalities attended his funeral. Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, Federal Minister Akram Khan Durrani, PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, PML-N central general secretary Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, former federal minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, provincial general secretary of JUI-F Maulana Shujaul Mulk and Khawaja Mohammad Khan Hoti attended his funeral prayers.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015