AWAMI NATIONAL PARTY (ANP) The Awami National Party was formed in 1986, following the merger of several left-leaning parties, including the Awami Tahrik, the National Democratic Party, the Mazdoor Kissan Party, and a splinter group from the Pakistan National Party Khan Abdul Wali Khan was appointed the new party’s president The party’s formation was hailed by its sponsors as the first step toward an effective presence of the left in the politics of Pakistan But the unity that was forced on the traditionally fractious left by Wali Khan and the cofounders of the ANP proved to be weak Within a year of the new party’s birth, splinter groups began to assert their independence In the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Wali Khan’s political base, a group of ANP dissidents set up the ANP (Constitutional Group) as a separate organization, while another group broke away to establish the Pakhtoon Liberation Front In spite of these divisions, the ANP retained an effective presence in the Northwest Frontier ProvinceIn the early 1990s, it became a strong ally of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), led by Mian Nawaz Sharif It sided with Sharif when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) assumed power in Islamabad under the leadership of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto The prime minister, upset by the ANP move, persuaded President Farooq Leghari to dismiss the provincial cabinet and maneuver the PPP into forming the government

The president’s action further cemented the ties between the PML and the ANP The ANP was rewarded handsomely when the PML won decisively against the PPP in the elections of February 1997 It joined the PML-led governments both in Islamabad, the federal capital, and Peshawar, the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province In 1995, an ailing Wali Khan surrendered the leadership of the ANP to Ajmal Khattak, while his wife, Nasim Wali Khan, took over the NWFP wing of the party In 1998, following the development of serious differences with Nawaz Sharif, ANP left the coalition government in Islamabad

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