PESHAWAR: Veteran progressive politician and former National Party (NP) president for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mukhtar Bacha passed away here on Thursday at the age of 80.

Mr Bacha was born in Pir Baba village of Buner district on Feb 25, 1944, and currently serving as member of the NP’s central committee.

He did his BSc in Botany from the University of Karachi in 1965 and completed MSc at the University of Peshawar. After his masters, he taught as a science teacher for a couple of months in his village school and later worked with the Agriculture Research Station, Tarnab Farms, Peshawar, as agriculture officer.

However, at the insistence of his friends he joined Communist Party of then NWFP province as its first secretary. In his unpublished memories, Mr Bacha notes that it was the renowned nationalist poet Ajmal Khattak’s poetry collection ‘Da Ghairat Chagha’ which stirred his interest in politics.

Mr Bacha narrates that around 1965 he used to sit in Arbab Sikandar Khan’s Balakhana in Peshawar along with Ajmal Khattak.

He also met the renowned freedom fighter Sanobar Hussain Kakajee at the same place along with other literary and political personalities.

He noted that the Balakhans of Arbab Sikandar Khan and Afzal Bangash were the bastions of leftist politics during those days when the communist bloc was divided into Maoist and Leninist factions.

Mr Bacha in his memories notes that in February 1971 he met the leading Marxist leader, Imam Ali Nazish, in Peshawar along with Ajmal Khattak.

In the same meeting, they set up a cell for the province, which later paved the way for Communist Party’s provincial chapter for the erstwhile NWFP.

He was also among the founders of the Pakistan National Party and Qaumi Inqilabi Party; however. He served as the NP KP president till 2017 and was currently member of the party’s central committee.

His funeral prayers will be offered at Bagh-i-Naran, Hayatabad, at 10am on Friday (today) and his body will be taken to his native village Pir Baba, where he will be laid to rest.

NP in a statement expressed its condolences over the death of the progressive politician.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2024

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