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Asfandyar Wali Khan

Political veteran

Ali Arqam

The chief of Awami National Party and the scion of Khan Abdul Wali Khan, Asfandyar Wali Khan is one of the most influential politicians from Pakistan’s yesteryears.

He has helped normalise the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It could be said it was due to his and Mehmood Khan Achakzai’s efforts, which resulted in the Afghan president’s tour to Pakistan and a visit to the General Headquarters in 2014.

Wali's party is a unique political organisation among its contemporaries. Its unrivaled quality is the absence of a central figure in the party. A decentralised setup allows for powers to be delegated to party officials, allowing them to adapt to circumstances.

What this means is that Wali seemingly has little to do with many of the key decisions, such as the direction the ANP is taking in its home province, where a senior party figure has spent millions in constructing and rehabilitating seminaries in order to win the conservative vote, as well as allowing Himayatullah Mayar, a supporter of Mashal Khan's killers, to contest elections from Mardan, and placing party vice president Bushra Gohar behind four little known candidates on reserved seats for women.

Wali himself is contesting from NA-23 Charsadda, where he was defeated by JUI-F’s Maulana Gohar Ali Shah in 2013. He has to face Shah again, who is running on an MMA ticket this time, making it harder for the ANP chief to beat him.

Wali has the ability to draw masses to public gatherings and revive popular support for ANP, but his ailing health makes it difficult for him to run the electoral campaign for himself and the party, which has to face a conglomerate of religious parties, the MMA, and the PTI in the upcoming elections.

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