Progressive Politician Afrasiab Khattak Was Fired From ANP. Here’s What He Told Them
The letter was written by Afrasiab Khattak in response to the show cause notice issued to him by Iftikhar Hussain, the Secretary General of Awami National Party (ANP). Following is the text of the letter.
Respected Mian Iftikhar Hussain
Central General Secretary ANP
On 5th November, I read on social media of the show cause notice sent to me, which you wrote on the instructions of the Central President. In the evening, I read the content of the notice in my twitter DM. The next day, details were published in newspapers. Two days later, I received the official notice in the mail.
In this short notice, there is a cryptic reference to my engaging in activities which have harmed the party’s interests and discipline. In the short response I sent you on the first day, I said that if this notice mentioned one, two or three activities then I could definitely explain my position but even after this, I wasn’t given a clear charge-sheet.
I joined the Pakhtun Students’ Federation in 1968. From being a political worker, with a 50-year long political life, I have some sense of party discipline. I have obeyed the norm of civilized political discourse within the party, according to its constitution and manifesto. Although I was completely sidelined for the past 5 years, I have always discussed party policy within relevant party institutions. And during this time, whatever task the party gave me, I fulfilled to the best of my abilities.
From student days, I have been affiliated with journalism in a part-time capacity. At different times, I have written columns for different newspapers. However, my newspaper columns are a reflection of my personal opinion and I have never tried to imply that they reflect the party’s position.
Recently, the party’s provincial and central council meetings were held. If there were any allegations of violating discipline on any of us, then the central and provincial council meetings were the relevant and democratic forum at which to debate and decide this matter. But the issue wasn’t raised there.
In democratic political parties, there are different opinions on which there is ongoing debate. Who would know this better than the workers of NAP and ANP in which, in better times, the meetings of the central committee would last for days. A problem only arises when difference of opinion is no longer tolerated.
In the Awami National Party, it is the considered opinion of many of us that in the Pakistani state, undemocratic forces have not only failed to accept the country’s federal, parliamentary and democratic constitutional system but have constantly tried to destroy it. In particular, since 2014, there has been a creeping coup which has the following goals:
- Strangulating democratic freedoms by imposing a civil martial law in the country, which has begun with the freedom of expression. The media is being shackled with the chains of fascist restrictions.
- To end the federal democratic system, in particular the 18th amendment, there are open and secret conspiracies and, through a new edition of the doctrine of necessity, the judiciary is being used to attack the federal democratic system. Cutting the share of provinces in the NFC award unconstitutionally is being discussed openly.
- In order to advance the creeping coup, the political parties who oppose it are being arm-twisted through state resources and force. Accountability has not only become a source of political victimization but is being used to destroy opposition parties and force people into the King’s party.
- The July 2018 elections were, in fact, the greatest theft of the popular mandate in the country’s history in which the Election Commission, judiciary, caretaker governments and army fully participated. For the first time in the country’s history, political parties named the serving army officers who interfered in the elections. Our party also held a day of protest against election rigging on 30th But until now, there has not been any investigation or legal action.
- The goals of the creeping coup include imposing the Taliban on Afghanistan and blocking the path of democratic, progressive and nationalist parties in Pashtun areas. On one hand, this is spilling the blood of thousands of innocents in Afghanistan and on the other hand, reforms have been stopped and the western districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are being practically kept under a martial law.
We feel that in this situation the party of Bacha Khan and Wali Khan cannot remain non-partisan and aloof. We also realize that the party has faced severe pressure from undemocratic forces and the card of so-called non-state terrorists has been used to spill the blood of the party’s countless martyrs and to exclude it from the electoral process. Within the party, lists of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” names have been circulating. I believe that everyone is aware of this challenge facing the party. There can be different opinions on the strategy used to deal with it. However, the way to solve this problem is to call a meeting of the party’s relevant institutions and to arrive at some conclusion through debate.
It is my sincere opinion that a meeting of the party’s relevant forums should be called to discuss the allegations on me and other colleagues, before making a decision, and the political issues that I mentioned should also be examined in order to reach a conclusion. (In the last meeting of the council, some of us raised these issues but there was neither detailed discussion nor a decision). In this case, I will abide by the decision of the party’s forums.
Member Advisory Council and Central Executive Committee
Awami National Party