Achakzai’s controversial stance

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Sultan M Hali

MAHMOOD Khan Achakzai, leader of Pkmap has allegedly held meetings in Kabul with various senior members of Afghan leadership seeking support for Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM). On May 19, 2018, he held a meeting with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his residence over an Iftar cum dinner. Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta former Afghan NSA (National Security Advisor) and Mr. Wadmal former Deputy NSA dealing with Pak-Pashtun were also present in the meeting. He is also likely to meet Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and NDS head Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai (Raees-e-Amoor). There are reports that Rehmatullah Nabil (former Director NDS) will facilitate discreet meeting of Mahmood Achakzai with the Indian Ambassador at Kabul. Both Hamid Karzai and Pkmap have confirmed the meeting through their respective tweets.
Mahmood Khan Achakzai, who was born on December 14, 1948, is a Pakistani politician, who is a member of the outgoing National Assembly of Pakistan and the chairman of the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (Pkmap). He received his B.Sc degree in Engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar in 1971. A Pashtun nationalist, Achakzai was elected as the chairman of the Pkmap following the assassination of his father Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai in a bomb attack in Quetta in 1973. He was elected as a member of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan in a by election. Achakzai was elected as a member of National Assembly of Pakistan in the general elections of 1993 from Quetta constituency. Reportedly, he had won his first election with the support of Pakistan Muslim League (N). Achakzai lost the National Assembly seat in the 1997 elections but was
re-elected as a member of National Assembly of Pakistan in the 2002 elections from the NA- 262 constituency however lost in the NA-259 (Quetta) constituency. In 2007, Achakzai parted ways with his erstwhile ally PML-N and formed an alliance with the Awami National Party. In 2008, he formed an alliance with All Parties Democratic Movement and boycotted the general elections in 2008 to deny the legitimacy of then President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. However, despite boycotting the polls, he remained active in the politics. During the 2013 general elections, Achakzai was considered for the post of interim Prime Minister but he declined as he wanted to contest the elections. Achakzai ran for a seat of National Assembly from two constituencies, NA-259-Quetta and NA-262-Qilla Abdullah. Achakzai won his seat from Quetta with the support of PML (N).
Mahmood Khan Achakzai has been a part of various controversies. In 2016, he stirred a hornet’s nest by declaring that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belonged to the Afghans. Perhaps he was playing to the gallery, when he dropped this bombshell while sitting in Kabul. At home, a petition was filed at the Peshawar High Court seeking the disqualification of Achakzai. The petitioner urged the High Court to direct the Election Commission to proceed against the Pkmap president under Article 6 and revoke his membership. The petition was filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Town Council-I member Zahir Shah through his lawyer Nauroz Khan. The petition named the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), the federal government and NA speaker as respondents. It added Achakzai said on July 01, 2016 that KP was part of Afghanistan and it belonged to people from the neighbouring country and no one from the country should be harassed or deported.
The petition stated that Achakzai had taken an oath to protect the Constitution. It added the MNA had violated his oath by issuing such a statement. Additionally, he violated sections 123 and 124 of the Pakistan Penal Code and committed treason. Not having learnt his lesson, the seasoned politician caused further heartburn, when after the August 8 attack in Quetta Civil Hospital, Mahmood Khan Achakzai in a statement in Parliament called the deadly terrorist incident result of intelligence failure. The Election Commission of Pakistan summoned Mahmood Khan Achakzai on September 01 over his controversial statement in Parliament after Quetta hospital attack. A former presidential candidate Waheed Kamal had filed a petition in the Election Commission seeking disqualification of Mahmood Khan Achakzai over his statement. The petition said that Achakzai’s speech on the floor of the National Assembly was a bid to malign the armed forces, which is against Article 19 of the constitution. The petitioner sought disqualification of Mahmood Khan Achakzai over his statement, “which bring disrepute to the security forces”.
Mahmood Khan Achakzai is considered to be an architect of ‘Pushtoonistan Issue’ and propagated such themes inciting a sense of deprivation in Pashtoon community of Balochistan. He is reportedly, maintaining close contacts with Abdul Raziq (Inspector General Police, Kandahar) who is known for his anti-Pakistan stance and providing support to Baloch sub nationalists residing in Afghanistan. He gifted bulletproof vehicle and cash $ 3, 00,000 to Achakzai as support during general elections 2013. Now Achakzai is again muddying the waters by backing the PTM, which is a social movement for Pashtun human rights and is based in FATA, KP and Balochistan. The movement is considered controversial and is allegedly backed by Pakistan’s detractors. By roping in protagonists from Kabul, Achakzai has infused new life in the movement, which has already held two protest marches and a sit in at Islamabad. The merger of FATA with KP was opposed vehemently by Achakzai and now that the amalgamation is a done deal, he is trying to place a spanner in the works by backing the PTM.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.

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