Pakistan’s Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao is one of its most prominent politician. He was born on 20 August 1944 and currently serves as the chairperson of the center-left Pashtun nationalist Qaumi Watan Party.
Moreover, his father’s name is Ghulam Haider Khan; he lives in Dora Khel Sherpao, Tehsil Tangi District Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Educational Background and Early Life
Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao’s schooling was done at Lawrence College (Murree) and Edwardes College (Peshawar). He joined the Pakistan Military Academy in 1964 with the 34th Long Course. In 1965, he graduated from the Pakistan Military Academy and joined the Pakistan Army for about 12 years. As part of his service, he was promoted to the rank of Major. Furthermore, he served in the Pakistan Army during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani Wars.
On the advice of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he started his political career with the Pakistan Peoples Party in 1975 after his elder brother Hayat Sherpao was assassinated in a bombing in Peshawar. He was elected National Assembly’s member in 1977 in general elections representing Pakistan’s People Party.
In 1985, Aftab Sherpao boycotted the Pakistani General Elections. Later, in 1988, he got re-elected in the Pakistani General Elections for the National Assembly of Pakistan. From December 1988 to August 1990, he was selected as the Chief Minister of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Furthermore, in 1990 in the General Elections, he sat on the seat of the Provincial Assembly as the leader of the opposition party. He fought as an opposition leader for 4 years till 1997. He served the Assembly again as the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 1994.
From 1997 to 1999, he was the senior Vice-chairperson and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He served leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the Pakistan People’s Party with full dedication and passion. Despite the death of his leader, he remained dedicated to serving the party and Benazir Bhutto (daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) to the fullest extent.
Even when there was a campaign against the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, he was one of the most prominent political figures of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
However, in 1999, Aftab Sherpao and Benazir Bhutto started having differences, and these differences became prominent when the PPP faced defeat in the 1997 general elections. Benazir Bhutto suspected that Aftab Sherpao had been involved in the dismissal of her government, but Aftab Sherpao denied those claims.
Because of multiple corruption cases, he went into self-exile in the United Kingdom after the 1999 Pakistan coup d’état. When he returned in 2002, he was jailed on corruption charges.
In 2002, he made his party known as Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao and was elected as chairperson of his party. He also won a seat in the National Assembly of Pakistan in the same year. He was appointed Minister for Water and Power in the federal cabinet with an extra arrangement for Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination.
In December 2002, the government gave an additional charge to Aftab Sherpao of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas and State of Frontier Region.
In 2004 in the federal cabinet, he got appointed as Minister for Interior. Later in 2008, when he was re-elected as a member of the National Assembly, he formed his party known as the Qaumi Watan Party, from which he again won a seat in the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2013.
Attempts of Assassination
Three suicide bombings were committed against Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao. The first time in April 2007 was in a political rally in Charsadda in a suicide attack where a suicide bomber blew himself in which 22 people were killed, and he got injured severely.
Approximately 57 people were killed in the attack on Sherpao in December 2007, which occurred in a mosque in Charsadda. Luckily, Sherpao was saved in this attack.
The third time he faced the suicide bomb in Charsadda was in April 2015. It is also worth mentioning that he survived this attack as well. He is one of the most dedicated and hardworking politicians in Pakistan.
Sherpao never resigned from government service despite many lows and highs throughout his career. In his long career in politics, he has given all he could to his country. After being killed by political rivalry on 8 February 1975 at 35, he is still remembered by his party members and colleagues.