Veteran politician and former provincial president of the Awami National Party (ANP) Begum Naseem Wali Khan passed away on Sunday, the ANP said.
The ANP announced a three-day mourning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the wake of her demise. Her funeral prayers will be offered in Wali Bagh, Charsadda in the evening.
Begum Naseem, the octogenarian wife of late ANP founder Khan Abdul Wali Khan, served as a Member of Provincial Assembly thrice and was once a top political powerbroker.
In January 2012, after an absence of around seven years, she announced her return to practical politics on recovery from the emotional trauma of her husband and son’s sudden deaths.
Later, Begum Naseem, who had an already tense relationship with current ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, developed differences with the ANP leadership owing to political reasons that resulted in her parting ways with the party and formation of Awami National Party-Wali (ANP-W).
In 2017, however, Asfandyar and Begum Naseem reconciled and the latter announced a merger of her faction ANP-W with the ANP.
After her death, the ANP announced that the party's activities across KP would remain suspended.
ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan lauded her services, especially her role for the involvement of women in politics, saying she was a "symbol of resistance" in politics. "She void created by her death will be hard to fill," he added.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also condoled Begum Naseem's death. "May Allah Almighty bless the departed soul in eternal peace and give solace to the bereaved family, Ameen,” he said.
President Arif Alvi expressed sadness over Begum Naseem's demise, saying her political services will be remembered.
MNA Mohsin Dawar said she was "a woman leader in a patriarchal society".
"Considering the barriers that women face in today's society, one can only imagine what she was up against back in her heyday. She achieved a lot & has left behind a legacy that will keep on motivating many," he tweeted.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also conveyed condolences on Begum Naseem's death, according to the ANP.