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SWABI, Feb 17: Former provincial minister and noted Awami National Party leader Haji Zain Mohammad on Friday passed away at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital after protracted illness.

The 81-year-old, who is survived by six daughters and two sons, will be laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in Marghuz area today (Saturday).

Mr Zain was born in 1931 to farmer Sher Mohammad but since his uncle Yar Mohammad was an active member of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s Khudai Khidmatgar movement, he joined him in his early youth.

He got his early education at village and enrolled himself for intermediate at Islamia College in Peshawar but couldn’t complete the course due to domestic problems and returned.

As a political activist, Mr Zain was arrested and sent to jail in 1974 after the nine party alliance revolted against then Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto. And as he stepped out of prison on being freed, he began a struggle for restoration of democracy during military dictator Ziaul Haq’s regime.

ANP elected Mr Zain thrice its provincial vice president. He also remained part of the party’s parliamentary board tasked with awarding tickets for provincial and national assembly elections.

ANP district general secretary Tamraiz Khan told Dawn that Mr Zain held important political and parliamentary offices and remained a member of decision-making bodies and provincial assembly committees and that his contributions to the party were always appreciated and remembered by leadership.

In 1988 after ANP awarded provincial assembly ticket to Haji Rehmanullah, a delegation of party’s district leaders visited Wali Bagh to press leadership for the naming of Mr Zain for the election. ANP leadership accepted the demand and awarded provincial assembly ticket to Mr Zain, who was later elected to MPA.

Following the assembly dissolution in 1990, ANP fielded him again in Swabi in light of his loyalty and contributions to the party.

He was again elected MPA and made minister for jail after ANP and PML-N made the ruling alliance. Mr Zain was considered to be a ‘Mr Clean’ as not a single case of corruption or abuse of power was reported against him.

HOTI’S VISIT: Provincial chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti is to visit Swabi today (Saturday).

Awami National Party district president Haji Rehmanullah told Dawn on Friday that the chief minister would show up in Shahmansoor Township by helicopter before visiting Swabi Model School run by local party MNA Pervez Khan.

Mr Rehmanullah said Mr Hoti would also visit Pakistan International Public School owned by MPA Sikandar Irfan.

He said the chief minister would also inaugurate work on the new police lines in Shahmansoor area and go to the Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate to address a public meeting.