Original Articles

Farewell, Ajmal Khattak

[ajmal-khattak.jpg]
September 15, 1925 – February 7, 2010

With the death of Ajmal Khattak, a renowned leftist-nationalist politician, poet and writer, another chapter in history has closed. Khattak was greatly influenced by Bacha Khan, the great Pakhtun nationalist leader and an ardent follower of Gandhi’s non-violent movement, during his youth. He joined the Khudai Khidmatgar movement to follow in the footsteps of his leader Bacha Khan. Khattak was a prominent leader of the National Awami Party (NAP) and later the Awami National Party (ANP). His political career mirrors the twists and turns that followed the Khudai Khidmatgar’s transformation during and after the partition of the Indian subcontinent. The movement started with a social welfare agenda and was based on secular ideas. NAP was founded on the same principles. After a crackdown against the party was launched in Zulfikar Bhutto’s era, Khattak fled to Afghanistan. NAP was subsequently banned by Bhutto.

During his self-exile days, he was the point man between the Afghan government and the Pashtun nationalists resisting Bhutto’s repression. Their allies, the Baloch nationalists, were greatly disappointed with Khattak as they were not given the kind of support they needed in those difficult times. Khattak returned to Pakistan in 1989 — many years after General Ziaul Haq announced an amnesty for both the Pashtun NAP members and the Baloch insurgents. By then the schism between the Baloch and the Pashtun nationalists was out in the open.

Upon his return Khattak became one of ANP’s most important members. In 2000, some differences with Begum Nasim Wali Khan led to Khattak’s ouster from the party. He led an offshoot of the ANP briefly before rejoining the ANP.

Khattak may have made some political mistakes, yet he is remembered as part of that section of our society that played an important role against dictatorship in the country’s troubled history. It is hoped that the ANP will revisit Bacha Khan’s original legacy as a tribute to both the Khudai Khidmatgar movement and Ajmal Khattak. Source: Daily Times

Jannat

Farewell, Ajmal Khattak Baba. Here is an English translation (by Aziz Akhmad) of one of his Pashto poem titled Jannat (Paradise). The poem is more relevant in today’s Pakistan than, perhaps, when it was written many years ago.

Paradise

I asked a mullah, what do you think is Paradise like?
He ran his fingers through his beard and said
“Fresh fruits and rivers of milk”

A talib (student) was sitting nearby
I asked him, what do you say?
He put aside the book of Zulekha he was reading, and said
“Beautiful women with (tattooed) green dots on their cheeks”

A shaikh stood nearby, rolling his tasbeeh (rosary)
He stroked his beard and said (questioning the talib):
“No, it’s not like that!”
“Paradise is beautiful servant boys and heavenly music.”

A khan raised his head from a lengthy sajda (prostration in prayer)
What is your opinion, Khan Sahib? I asked
He adjusted his turban and said
“The luxuriously furnished and perfumed mansions”

Nearby, a labourer stood in his tattered clothes
I asked him, do you know what Paradise is?
He wiped the sweat from his brow and said
“It’s a full stomach and deep slumber”

A man, in dishevelled hair, passed by, lost in his thoughts
I asked, what do you say, philosopher?
Smoothing his hair, he said:
“It’s nothing but dreams conjured up to please man”

(Confused) I looked down into my heart and then looked up into the blue sky; and heard a murmur in reply:

“Paradise is your home where you are the master, and at liberty;
and if you cannot attain the freedom, then sacrifice on the path to freedom, as an ideal, is Paradise;
Be it hellfire or the gallows”.

Source: Adapted from an article published in The News on 14 October 2009

Jannat – recited by Najiba Sara Biabani, a well-respected Afghan poet, journalist and human rights activist.

An excellent article on Ajmal Khattak by Abdul Haye Kakar (BBC Urdu):


تضادات سے بھری سحر انگیز شخصیت

عبدالحئی کاکڑ
بی بی سی اردوڈاٹ کام، پشاور

وہ چار آنے جیب میں لے کر اکوڑہ خٹک سے سیاسی سفر پر نکلے تو آدھی دنیا دیکھ ڈالی۔ انہوں نے اس دوران عام آدمی سے لے کر سربراہان مملکت، نامور سیاستدانوں، شہرہ آفاق ادیبوں اور شاعروں سے ملاقاتیں کیں اور ساٹھ سال کی سیاسی اور ادبی جدوجہد کے بعد جب دارِ فانی سے رخصت ہوئے تو ان کے جیب میں چار آنے بھی نہیں تھے۔

ذوا لفقار علی بھٹو کی دورِ حکومت میں لیاقت باغ راولپنڈی میں اپوزیشن کے جلسے پر حکومتی سرپرستی میں حملہ ہوا تو اس وقت اجمل خٹک نیشل عوامی پارٹی کے جنرل سیکریٹری تھے۔ گولیوں کی بوچھاڑ میں جب ایک کارکن کو گولی لگی اور اس نے اجمل خٹک کے بانہوں میں زندگی کی بازی ہار دی تب وہ یہ کہہ کر کابل جلا وطن ہو گئے کہ یہ ملک اب مزید رہنے کے قابل نہیں رہا۔

اٹھارہ سال افغانستان میں رہ کر انہوں نے ظاہر شاہ کی بادشاہت کے خاتمے، داؤد خان کی حکومت، ثور انقلاب، سوویت یونین کی فوج کی افغانستان آمد اور اس کی پھر شکست و ریخت، پاکستان میں ستر کی دھائی میں پشتون نوجوانوں کی گوریلا جنگ ان سبھی کو انہوں نے نہ صرف قریب سے دیکھا بلکہ وہ ان میں اہم کردار کے طور پر بھی شامل رہے۔

اس سے قبل اجمل خٹک مرحوم نے خدائی خدمت گار تحریک کے کارکن کے طور پر انیس سو بیالیس میں ہندوستان چھوڑ دو تحریک میں حصہ لیا تھا۔ پھر جب انیس سینتالیس میں پاکستان معرض وجود میں آیا تو اسی اجمل خٹک نے ریڈیو پاکستان پشاور کے لیے پاکستان کی عظمت میں پشتو ترانے لکھے اور افغانستان کے خلاف پروپیگنڈہ پروگرام کے سکرپٹ لکھتے رہے۔

لیکن پھر ان کی شخصیت میں یکلخت ایسی تبدیلی آئی کہ پاکستان کے ترانے لکھنے والے اجمل خٹک پشتونستان کے ترانے لکھنے لگے۔ریڈیو پاکستان پشاور پر افغانستان کے خلاف پروپیگنڈہ پروگرام کی سکرپٹ لکھنے والے اجمل خٹک پھر جلاوطنی کے دوران ریڈیو افغانستان پر پاکستان کے خلاف تقریریں کرتے رہے۔

تضادات سے بھر پور اجمل خٹک کی شخصیت اتنی سحر انگیز بھی تھی کہ نہ چاہتے ہوئے بھی آپ ان کی تہہ در تہہ شخصیت کی جال میں ایسے الجھ جاتے کہ بہت دیر بعد آپ کو پتہ چل جاتا کہ آپ کسی شکاری کے دام میں پھنس چکے ہیں۔

ایک مسلمان پشتون گھرانے میں پرورش، خوشحال خان خٹک کا شاعرانہ رنگ، باچا خان کی سیاسی تربیت، مارکسسزم ، جامعہ ملیہ دہلی کا ماحول ،ترقی پسند ادب کی چھاپ ان کی شخصیت میں اس طرح رچ بس گئی تھی جس کا حتمی نتیجہ ایک متضاد شخصیت کی ہی تشکیل پر منتج ہوسکتا تھا۔

سیاسی جوڑ توڑ کے اتنے ماہر کہ سیاسی اتحاد بنانے کے لیے نکل پڑتے تو آگ اور پانی کو یک جان دو قالب کرلیتے۔ دو دشمنوں کو کھینچ کھینچ کر مذاکرات کی میز پر بٹھاتے اور چند گھنٹوں بعد دو دشمن سیاستدان دوستوں کی طرح ہاتھوں میں ہاتھ ڈال کر مسکراتے ہوئے کمرے سے یوں نکلتے کہ جیسے کچھ ہوا ہی نہیں تھا اور خود اجمل خٹک اپنے ہونٹوں پر ایسی طنزیہ مسکراہٹ سجاتے ہوئے نمودار ہوتے کہ گویا کہہ رہے ہوں کہ یہ سب تو میرا ہی کمال ہے۔

سیاسی کارکنوں کی محفل میں پیر پھیلاکر اپنے آدھے چہرے کو اپی سفید ٹوپی سے اس طرح چھپاتے کہ گویا وہ سو رہے ہیں اور محفل میں جاری بحث سے وہ بالکل لاتعلق ہیں لیکن جب اسی محفل میں ان کی ذات یا پالیسی کے حوالے سے کوئی بات کرتا تو وہ اپنی بائیں آنکھ کھول کر اس شخص کو کچھ اس طرح گھورتے کہ وہ پانی پانی ہوجاتا لیکن وہ کچھ کہے بغیر اپنی آنکھ دوبارہ بند کر لیتے۔

اجمل خٹک سماجی نفسیات اور ہپناٹزم کے ماہر تھے اسی لیے انہیں جوڑ توڑ ، مذاکرات کی میز پر اپنے مخالف کو مشکل صورتحال سے دو چار کرنے، میل ملاپ میں لوگوں کو اپنی سحر میں گرفتار کرنے کا ملکہ حاصل تھا۔

اجمل خٹک نے سینکڑوں سال سے جاری پشتو شاعری کی روایت کو توڑتے ہوئے اس میں طبقاتی، انقلابی اور مزاحمتی رنگ کچھ اس انداز سے شامل کرلیا کہ جب ان کا پہلا شعری مجموعہ’د غیرت چغہ‘ ( غیرت کی پکار) شائع ہوا تو اس نے پشتون نوجوانوں کے خون میں ایسی گرمی پیدا کردی کہ انہیں ایک آزاد پشتون وطن کی منزل بہت قریب نظر آنے لگی۔ان کی’جنت‘ کے عنوان سے ایک نظم انقلابی نوجوانوں میں بہت مقبول ہوئی تھی ۔نثری ترجمہ: ( میں نے اپنےگریباں میں جھانک کر دیکھا، تو میرا دل آسمان کو پکا پکار کر کہہ رہا تھا، میں نے اس کے چند الفاظ سنے، وہ کہہ رہا تھا، کہ اے لا مکان کے مالک، اپنے مکان میں اپنا اختیار جنت ہے، اگر ایسا نہیں ہوتا، تو پھر اس پاگل پنے کے نام پر، اگر سولی ہے تو سولی اور اگر آگ ہے تو آگ جنت ہے۔)

انہوں نے ان نوجوانوں سے وعدہ کیا تھا کہ وہ افغانستان سے طور خم کے راستے بہت جلد ’سرخ ڈولی‘ لیکر آئیں گے مگر جب وہ انیس سو اٹھاسی میں بے نظیر بھٹو کی عام معافی کے اعلان سے استفادہ کرتے ہوئے ’خالی ہاتھ‘ واپس لوٹے تو ان کے کسی شاعر دوست نے ایک نظم لکھی جو بہت مشہور ہوئی تھی کہ’ تم نہ بہار اور نہ ہی پھول لاسکے، تم جھوٹے ہو۔۔۔‘

پانچ سال قبل جب میں نے ایک انٹرویو کے دوران اجمل خٹک کو ’ سرخ ڈولی لانے’ کا وعدہ یاد دلایا اور ان کے خلاف لکھی گئی نظم کا حوالہ دیا تو انہوں نے جواب میں محض اپنا ایک شعر سنایا کہ ’خٹک تادمِ مرگ بار بار تمہاری راہ تکتا رہا، تم آ بھی رہے تھے مگر راستے پُر پیچ نکلے۔‘

Source

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri

12 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • ANP leader Ajmal Khattak passes away
    By Ashfaq Yusufzai
    Monday, 08 Feb, 2010

    Khattak was a household name in the Pakhtun society because of his contribution to literature and politics. His poems, highlighting the exploitation of peasants and other oppressed people, were sung at meetings of progressive parties.

    PESHAWAR: Veteran politician and famous Pashto poet Mohammad Ajmal Khattak died in Nowshera on Sunday night after protracted illness. He was 85.

    In his eventful life, he served as senator and MNA but lived in his tiny village home in his native Akora Khattak village till his death.

    His funeral will he be held at the Akora Khattak Eidgah on Monday afternoon.

    Mr Khattak, author of several books of poetry and prose in Pashto and Urdu, was born on Sept 15, 1926, in Akora Khattak. He became a household name in the Pakhtun society because of his contribution to literature and politics. He had been suffering from a number of ailments for a couple of years and was occasionally hospitalised.

    He twice served as the president of the Awami National Party and became the party’s general secretary in 1973. He received the Kamal-i-Fun Award in 2008.

    ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan expressed grief over the death of Mr Khattak and announced three-day mourning by the party.

    Mr Khattak was organiser of the United Democratic Front and was the stage secretary of a public meeting at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on March 23, 1973, when shots were fired at the leaders, including the late Khan Abdul Wali Khan, and several political workers were killed.

    After the incident, he went into exile in Afghanistan. He returned in 1989 and was accorded a warm welcome.

    He was elected MNA from Nowshera in 1990 and senator in 1994.

    “I am deeply concerned about the political situation in South Asia. What is being done against the Pakhtuns troubles me more than my illness,” he had told Dawn from a hospital bed last year.

    In Afghanistan, he was respected by the government and was given the status of a state guest by the then president Sardar Daud Khan. He maintained cordial relations with successive Afghan governments during the Soviet occupation of that country.

    Mr Khattak had developed a feeling that being a man of letters his involvement in active politics was an aberration. He had been born with the restless soul of a poet and realised that he could serve his people through his poetic talent.

    Like many other important poets of the sub-continent, he too was influenced by the Russian Revolution.

    His poems, highlighting the exploitation of peasants and other oppressed people, were sung at meetings of progressive parties.

    He set a poetic tone different from that of his contemporaries. His poetry is a blend of the beauty of human nature and the courage of a revolutionary.

    His first poem was published in 1944 in the magazine Pakhtun and the first collection of his poems, Da Ghairat Chagha, was published in 1958, but banned in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    His popular books include Batoor, Gul Parhar, Guloona Takaloona, Da Ze Pagal Wom?, Zhwand Au Fan, Kachkol, Da Afghan Nang, Da Wakht Chagha, Da Zhwand Chagha and Qisa Zama Da Adabi Zhwand.

    Mr Khattak also authored Jalawatan ki Shairi, a collection of his Urdu works.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/18-anp+leader+ajmal+khattak+passes+away-am-06

  • Khattak was born on September 15, 1925 in Akora Khattak. He started his career as a school teacher.Soon, he resigned from government service and joined a daily ‘Anjam’ as chief editor.
    Khattak got his MA Persian degree from Peshawar University.
    He also participated in ‘Quit India Movement’ against the British in 1942.
    Ajmal remained ANP MPA in 1972 and later became minister in the government of Maulana Mufti Mehmood in 1972.He remained MNA from 1990 to 1993.He also remained a senator.
    He was expelled from ANP, when he met Pervez Musharraf in 1999. However, he rejoined ANP and remained associated till his death.
    He lived a simple life and died in a small three room house.

    http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=95960&Itemid=1

    The late Khattak started his career as a schoolteacher in a government school but left the job to become a journalist. He worked at dailies Anjam and Shahbaz and did well in both Urdu and Pashto journalism. He later began writing columns on political and social issues.

    Ajmal Khattak lost the election for the National Assembly in 1970 from Nowshera to Maulana Abdul Haq of JUI. He finally won the assembly seat in the 1990 elections to become an MNA on the ANP ticket. He also remained a senator.

    Ajmal Khattak’s simplicity and honesty endeared him to the people, particularly to his party workers and fellow poets. Despite remaining a member of parliament and holding top offices in the party, he didn’t make any money from his political career. Till his death, he lived with his expanding family in his three-room house in Akora Khattak.

    At the age of 13, the young Ajmal Khattak recited his first poem in a Mushaira and received applause. He was very young when he joined the freedom struggle. His early political career began during the Quit India movement after he came under the influence of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement. He was forced to leave the school due to his involvement in that movement.

    He was the stage secretary at the United Democratic Front rally held at Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, on March 23, 1973, when shots were fired at the UDF leaders, including Khan Abdul Wali Khan. After that incident, he fled to Afghanistan and lived in self-exile till 1990. He championed the cause of Pakhtunistan while living in Afghanistan as a state guest.

    Ajmal Khattak had served the ANP as central president for two terms when Wali Khan stepped down from the post. In the 1993 general elections, Ajmal Khattak lost his re-election bid in Nowshera to the PPP candidate Major Gen. (Retd) Naseerullah Babar. However, he was elected to the Senate in March 1994.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=98109

  • I wonder why did Late. Ajmal Khattak leave ANP in 1999 and met with General Musharraf and later re-joined ANP

    Veteran nationalist Ajmal Khattak dies Monday, February 08, 2010 By Khalid Kheshgi http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27131
    He was ousted as the ANP’s president in 2000, after a protracted power struggle with some members of Wali Khan’s family. Deciding to leave the party, he briefly led a splinter group called National Awami Party Pakistan. The party couldn’t make its mark. It was reported at the time that General Pervez Musharraf had encouraged him to form his own party during a meeting in Nowshera. Incidentally, Ajmal Khattak was the first politician with whom General Musharraf met after his military coup against the democratic government of Nawaz Sharif.

    Asfandyar re-elected ANP president By Our Correspondent May 11, 2003 http://www.dawn.com/2003/05/11/nat3.htm – PESHAWAR, May 10: Senator Asfandyar Wali Khan was re-elected president of the Awami National Party for four years in its general council meeting at the Bacha Khan Markaz on Saturday.
    Ajmal Khattak, who had recently rejoined the ANP, was elected patron-in-chief of the party.

  • jmal Khattak: the revolutionary dervish —Dr Mohammad Taqi

    Ajmal Khattak provided the modern theoretical basis for the idea of Greater Pashtunistan. Well-versed in the Marxist-Leninist theory — prevalent and ascendant at the time — Ajmal Khattak deployed it to strengthen the case for the right of self-determination for the Pashtuns

    “To become truly great, one has
    to stand with people, not above them” — Charles de Montesquieu.

    Ajmal Khattak was a true polymath — a poet, journalist, broadcaster, linguist, scholar and a politician However, despite all his patrician qualities this Renaissance man was a plebeian at heart.

    Despite his capability to — and opportunities available to him for — upward social mobility, Ajmal Khattak chose to live and die in his dignified poverty. In a polity where comprador bourgeoisie, feudals and their quislings were rising to power, Ajmal stood head and shoulders above that upstart crowd, relying solely on his intellectual and political acumen. He was a giant in a political landscape dotted with pygmies.

    For the Pashtuns he was the voice of their voiceless angst, expression in the muted humiliation and their freedom cry for the subjugated human dignity. Ajmal Khattak was a man of letters who, in the tradition of the warrior-poet Khushal Khan Khattak, also unfurled the standard of struggle for Pashtun unity.

    Whereas Baacha Khan and his colleagues like the late Hussain Bux Kausar conceived the idea of modern Pashtun unity, it was Ajmal Khattak who eventually provided the ideological backbone of this thesis.

    In his book on Baacha Khan, the late Farigh Bokhari had noted that by Pashtunistan, Ghaffar Khan merely meant a renamed province within Pakistan. Narrating to this author the discussions leading to the Bannu Declaration on Pashtunistan, Hussain Bux Kausar corroborated Bokhari’s assertion. Kausar had added though, that for many, including him, the idea was much more than renaming a province — it was a thesis proposing the reunification of the Pashtun irredentas.

    Ajmal Khattak provided the modern theoretical basis for the idea of Greater Pashtunistan. Well-versed in the Marxist-Leninist theory — prevalent and ascendant at the time — Ajmal Khattak deployed it to strengthen the case for the right of self-determination for the Pashtuns.

    In this, Ajmal Khattak put Afghanistan on notice as well. In 1969 the Afghan government had published a Pashtunistan postage stamp on which Pashtunistan included only the areas of FATA, the NWFP and Balochistan. As a claimant to the mantle of Mirwais Hotaki, Aimal Khan and Ahmad Shah Durrani, Ajmal Khattak was not pleased with this not-so-subtle gimmick of the Afghan state excluding the Pashtun territories under their control from Pashtunistan.

    On the Pakistani side, Ajmal Khattak and the Pashtun nationalists were up not only against the establishment but also large sections of the Pakistani Left, who considered secession a dirty word. According to the socialists of West Pakistan, it was sufficient to believe the unverified cliché that “scientific socialism would automatically solve all problems, including the national question”.

    In this context Ajmal Khattak relied heavily on Lenin’s writings, such as: “The right of nations to self-determination implies exclusively the right to independence in the political sense, the right to free political separation from the oppressor nation. Specifically, this demand for political democracy implies complete freedom to agitate for secession and for a referendum on secession by the seceding nation.”

    Though a fixture in the Kabul political circles of the 1970s and 80s, self-exiled Ajmal Khattak never toed anyone’s ideological line — not even Moscow’s.

    At the height of their intervention in Afghanistan, the Soviets solicited input from the Pakistani leftists. Out of the two opposing proposals submitted by the pro-PDPA politicians of Pakistan, the Soviets adopted the one calling for restraint as against the one proposing broadening the scope of their operations to drain the guerrilla swamp in Pakistan.

    Upon his return from exile in 1989, I put a question to Ajmal Khattak during a discussion held at a mutual friend’s residence in the Board area of Peshawar, and asked him if he and Wali Khan were the ones who opposed the Soviet intervention on our side of the Durand. He deflected the question.

    Incidentally, after the programme, he and I were supposed to travel in the same vehicle driven by the host’s son. I had already taken seat in the rear, when Ajmal sahib entered and sat in the front passenger seat. Not realising that I was in the car, he leaned over to the host’s son and asked if the lad who asked about opposing the Soviets belonged to a certain political group (which he did name). I whispered in his ear that indeed I was and that my father was proud of having remained his sub-editor during their days at the dailies Shahbaz and Anjam and then deputising for him as the news editor when he and Qalandar Momand were jailed. He asked me to step out of the car and hugged me. But he still did not answer the question.

    Many years later he confided to a vice-president of his National Awami Party Pakistan (NAPP) that indeed he had written a strong critique of any proposed Soviet intervention in Pakistan. He was being treated at a Moscow hospital when a senior Soviet official came to see him and chided him about his opposition to spilling-over of hostilities into Pakistan. He stood his ground.

    Ajmal Khattak stood his ground based on his reading of Lenin who concluded at the end of the aforementioned quote that “…this demand (secession), therefore, is not the equivalent of a demand for separation, fragmentation and the formation of small states. It implies only a consistent expression of struggle against all national oppression.”

    He, therefore, was neither a secessionist nor was contradicting himself. To him the right of self-determination was an evolutionary stage, not just of politics or modern statehood, but of humanism.

    Indeed, Ajmal Khattak’s poetry is humanism personified and transcends time and frontiers. Sa’adi Shirzai wrote that stones have been chained while dogs are let loose (sung-ha ra bastand o sugaaN ra khushadand) and Faiz’s adaption of the same is well-known. However, Ajmal Khattak’s rendition of this thought in his poem “cherta che baran da Khudai da qahar waraidalay de” (where it has been raining the wrath of God, is indeed my home, it is your home), makes the contrasts and ironies of our society clearer than ever to the common reader and the activist alike.

    The literary genius in Ajmal Khattak brought Pashto poetry in sync with the modern times. He not only experimented with and improved on the prevalent forms as ghazal (sonnet) and ruba’ee (quatrain) but introduced progressive political thought in his nazm, with a vigour and craft that puts him at par with Neruda, Sahir and Faiz.

    Though cognizant of his political and literary stature, Ajmal Khattak remained down to earth till his death. At a friend’s house during hot summer days, he would sleep without air-conditioning or even a fan. This was at a time when the ruling General of the era would have gladly given him anything he asked for. But contentment was the wealth that Ajmal Khattak had amassed over the years and he would not squander that for something petty, for he was the revolutionary dervish.

    The writer teaches and practices Medicine at the University of Florida. He can be reached at mazdaki@me.com

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\02\15\story_15-2-2010_pg3_5

  • Ajmal Khattak’s tomb bombed 16 injured in second blast

    Mushtaq Paracha
    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    NOWSHERA: Three unidentified men bombed the grave and under construction tomb of poet-politician Ajmal Khattak in his village Akora Khattak on Wednesday night and a second bomb explosion in the graveyard injured 16 persons including policemen and journalists.

    Suspicion immediately fell on militants for organising the attack. Eyewitnesses and police officials said the grave of the late ANP president was also damaged as the roof of the mausoleum fell on it as a result of the blast.

    The second blast took place as villagers, cops and media personnel crowded the place. It seems the bomb was planted and exploded later to cause more damage. Of the 16 people who sustained injuries, eyewitnesses said five were shifted to Peshawar, four admitted to the public hospital in Nowshera city and seven sent home after first-aid. Three cops and three journalists were also injured. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

    Ajmal Khattak died on February 7, 2010. He was buried in his village, Akora Khattak, in the cemetery located on the main GT Road across the well-known seminary, Darul Uloom Haqqania.

    The ANP-led provincial government had sanctioned Rs5 million to build a mausoleum on his grave. The district administration had provided Rs1.9 million for building a road to the tomb and buying some nearby land for it.

    The construction work on the tomb was nearing completion when it was attacked.Ashrafuddin Baba, the chowkidar appointed by the building contractor at the tomb, told The News that three young men including one with a short beard, forced their way there at 8.55 pm and pointed a pistol at him. “They beat me up, tied my hands and put me in the room. After sometime there was a loud explosion and the three men escaped,” he recalled.

    It is apparent that the attackers planted explosives at the tomb and triggered the explosion, which was heard at a distance of some kilometres away from Akora Khattak town.

    Police officials and villagers, including family members and relatives of Ajmal Khattak rushed to the site of the blast. The police cordoned off the area and launched search operation. However, no arrest was made.

    Ajmal Khattak’s son Mirwais and his nephews Haji Jamil and Haji Usman were among those who were present at the site of the explosion. They told reporters that Ajmal Khattak was a man of peace and a poet and bombing his grave was a reprehensible and senseless act.

    Ajmal’s son Aimal Khattak, who is based in Islamabad and is a known writer and analyst working for a non-governmental organization, rushed to Nowshera after the incident.He told The News that rivals didn’t even spare the grave of the poet-politician who was humble man. “It is a cowardly act and reprehensible. This would increase the anger and hatred towards those who attacked his grave,” he argued.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-14469-Ajmal-Khattak%20s-tomb-bombed-16-injured-in-second-blast