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Wali Khan passes away

January 27, 2006

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PESHAWAR, Jan 26: Veteran politician Khan Abdul Wali Khan died here on Thursday morning after protracted illness. He was 89. He has left behind his wife, two sons and two daughters.

The funeral will be held in the city’s Jinnah Park at 3pm on Friday and the late leader will be buried in his ancestral graveyard in the Utmanzai village of Charsadda.

Thousands of people thronged the Jinnah Park where his coffin had been kept for a last glimpse of their leader.

“This is an irreparable loss,” a sobbing Begum Nasim Wali Khan said.

“I can’t imagine that my partner, my political mentor, my role model and my leader, for whom I struggled when he was imprisoned, has left me. I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t see him again,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“It’s a personal loss but it is also a political loss. Pukhtuns don’t value their leaders when they are alive, they come to realize their importance when they are gone,” she quoted the great Red Shirt leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan as having said.

With Wali Khan’s death, the first generation of the Bacha Khan dynasty is over. He was the last of the three surviving sons of the great freedom fighter. His only step sister, 84, is alive.

Asfandyar Wali, the eldest son of the ANP Rahbar-i-Tehrik, received mourners at the Jinnah Park.

Wali Khan, who had been seriously ill for some time, was shifted to Peshawar on Monday after suffering a stroke. Doctors treated him for high blood pressure, breathlessness and high sugar level at the residence of his daughter Dr Gulalai.

Wali Khan suffered a heart attack at 7:11am on Thursday. The attack proved fatal and he breathed his last at around 7:15.

Governor Khalilur Rehman, Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani, Peshawar-based Afghan Consul-General Abdul Khaliq Farahi and a large number of politicians offered condolences to Asfandyar Wali. They also offered Fateha for the departed soul.

An Indian delegation led by A. Rehman Khan, deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, and a 25-member delegation led by Afghanistan’s vice-president Karim Khalili are due in Peshawar to attend the funeral of the nationalist leader.

Former Afghan president Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani will accompany the delegation.