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Death of a Khan

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By Khurshid Khan
December 5, 2009

Shamshir Ali Khan popularly known as Dr. Khan was assassinated in his native village on the eve of the holy day of Eid ul Azha, the day Muslims all over the world celebrate in the honour of the Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice of his son in compliance to the will of Almighty. God was pleased by his remarkable submission and instead of his dear son, the sacrifice of a sheep was accepted and from the day onward, Muslims sacrifice animals to commemorate this sublime event in the submission of God every year.

In the Indian mythology a goddess, Kali Mata (Black Mother), was exhilarated by the human sacrifices (Bali Dan) in her honour. The Hindus continued the brutal ritual till the occupation by East India Company which discouraged this inhuman ritual. Certain fundamentalist Hindus still believe in this myth but don’t have the spine to revive this ritual in the present day’s world.

Dr. Khan was born in 1950 at Derai, Swat in the house of Abdur Rashid Khan locally known as Derai Khan and Khan Baba. Khan Baba is famous for his integrity and strict adherence to the Pukhtunwali-the Pukhtun code of life - across the valley. To the People, he is the perfect embodiment of a typical Pukhtun. He was a close companion of Bacha Khan, Wali Khan and still supports the nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) with extraordinary zeal and commitment. Derai Khan was considered a strong opponent by the late Wali of Swat in the Swat State era.

Abdur Rahid Khan never bowed down in front of militants and remained in Swat through out the insurgency. During this tumultuous period, militants incinerated his Hujra and blew up his house abducted his two sons, Wakeel and Shawkat, and a grand son. His grand son was accidentally killed in military shelling while Shawkat was seriously wounded who was rescued by the military later, from Kalakalai and Wakeel was, later on, rescued in a commando operation in Dardyal, Swat.

Derai Khan endured all these catastrophes with a demonour that behooves a great Pukhtun and never poured out his heart to anyone whosoever. He suffered with his people in his village while the Army was dislodging the whole valley for launching its decisive assault operation, Rahi-e-Rast in Swat.

The whole atmosphere was pregnant with apprehensions and bad omens on the doomed day when a suicide bomber blew up himself in front of Shmasher Ali Khan assassinating him and wounding fourteen persons including two children and his two brothers, Wakeel and Shawkat on 1st December, 2009. The attack was calculative, well planned and targeted which blasted all the security measures separating the Khan from the rest of the world in mere seconds. The news spread like a wild fire in the whole valley and the peaceful atmosphere of Swat once again landed in chaos and uncertainty. The unexpected and untoward incident was so sudden that it was hard for anyone to believe it.

Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, Brigadier Salman Akbar, ANP workers, friends and people of the area participated in his funeral ceremony.

Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, Brigadier Salman Akbar, ANP workers, friends and people of the area participated in his funeral ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion of the sad demise of his son, Abdur Rashid Khan, father of the Dr. Khan, said, “I am proud of my son’s martyrdom as he laid down his life for the cause of peace in Swat, serving the people of the area is the mission of my family and nobody could dare deter us from this noble cause”.

Khan Baba again affirmed his commitment and said, “His family did not abandon the people of Swat when the militants were active in the area. We didn’t bow to the militants’ will and will not do so in future”.

Strange is the Puktun race and strange are its ways: always kill and discredit those who love them instead, to be loved. A hypothesis/ theory about their origin, Bani-Israelites, seems proving true.

The protest over the tragic death of the Khan was obvious. The Swat Bar Council boycotted the courts and condemned the assassination of their colleague followed by students, civil society and traders of the valley. Provincial Government declared a day’s mourning across the province while three days in Swat. The flag flew at half-mast on all the government buildings in Pukhtunkhwa. The national dailies condemned his murder through Editorials.

Shamshir Ali Khan shouldered the responsibilities of his party in a critical time and proved himself a mature leader when Afzal Khan Lala parted ways with ANP. The District Cabinet of ANP Swat sided with Khan Lalala and left the party in crises. Shamshir Ali Khan emerged as the new leadership in the valley. He toured across the valley and the adjoining districts of Bunair, Dir and Shangla along with Wajid Ali Khan and Sardar Hussain Bacha. After a long and tough consultative process Shamshir Ali Khan became the president of ANP Swat while Wajid Ali Khan and Sardar Hussain Bacha General Secretary and Salar, respectively. In the opposition of such a towering personality like Afzal Khan Lala he tactfully organized the party and that was a Herculean task, he accomplished.

Dr. Khan contested elections for Provincial Assembly many times but was elected in the general election of Feb 18, 2008. Being an educated parliamentarian, he was regarded as one of the seasoned members in the provincial assembly. Mr. Khan, being a courteous and soft spoken person, gained respect in the Government machinery in a very short time due to his humanistic attitude. He was a person who clearly falsified the notion that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. He neither misused his powerful public representative status nor adapted the traditions of our corrupt political culture in the country and never compromised on his dignity and honour.

Dr. Khan was a learned, decent, tolerant, brave and trusted person like his father and forefathers. He died as a hero and will be remembered as a hero, for ever.

Email: bazirkhan@gmail.com