SWABI: Internal differences in Awami National Party here in the district took an ugly turn on Sunday when about 400 local leaders and workers in a gathering unanimously opposed the decision of terminating basic membership of Senator Sitara Ayaz and Mohammad Islam Khan, former district general secretary, and demanded of the party’s provincial leadership to review it.

The two leaders have already been expelled while six more members, who have submitted replies to show cause notices, are expected to be shown the door soon, according to party insiders.

The provincial leaders allege that the expelled members were involved in grouping, thus harming the party in the district.

Oppose termination of Senator Sitara Ayaz, Islam Khan’s membership

The protesting leaders and workers gathered at the residence of Zarwali Khan. The meeting was also attended by Islam Khan and those who had received show cause notices.

Insiders said that presently one group in the party opposed the district leaders while the other one led by district president Amanullah enjoyed the support of Wali Bagh leaders.

Amanullah is brother of late Rehmanullah who remained the party district president for about 25 years.

After Rehmanullah’s death, his son Ameer Rehman became district president and later district nazim. However, he proceeded abroad after an FIR was registered against him in alleged murder case on the day of elections last year.

The confrontation turned serious when the local leaders facing action stood aloof during party provincial president Aimal Wali Khan’s nine-day visit to the district in October and did not attend his public meetings even in their home localities.

One of the speakers said that Aimal Wali should explain why he had expelled Sitara Ayaz and Islam Khan to satisfy the diehard workers.

When contacted, Gul Wali Khan, Swabi tehsil president who has also received a show cause notice, told this correspondent that they had demanded restoration of basic membership of the two leaders and till then boycott of the party activities would continue.

The participants also constituted a five-member committee, which is led by Zarwali Khan and includes Quraish Khan (Shahmansoor), Aseem Khan (Kotha), Mushtaq Khan (Yar Hussain) and Imran Khan (Chota Lahor) as members.

When contacted, Mr Zarwali said that they had planned to meet the provincial leaders and put forward their reservations while vowing to remain in the party.

However, he said in the same breath that by Tuesday the office-bearers of various union councils and tehsils would submit their resignations to him. He said that if the provincial leadership failed to give any heed to their democratic demands then the option of tendering resignations en masse would remain with them.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2019