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Bashir Ahmad Bilour (1943-2012)
Bashir Ahmad Bilour, one of the leading voices against militancy and extremism of his time, was a member of the provincial assembly of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Senior Minister for Local Government and Rural Development of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and was awarded Tamgha-e-Shujaat by President Asif Ali Zardari for his services.
He got his early education from Government Higher Secondary school No. 1 Peshawar Cantt. After doing Matriculation he got admission to famous Edwards College Peshawar and got graduation degree from the said college. Then for higher education, he got admission to the University of Peshawar and got an LLB degree. He was a member of Peshawar High Court Bar as a lawyer and took part in the active politics from the platform of Awami National Party since 1970. In 1969, he married the daughter of Haji Gul Mohammad popularly known as Gul Babu, a prominent personality of Peshawar.
The Bilour family is widely regarded as ANP’s strongest political fort in Peshawar. Its political clout in the provincial capital is undisputed. So, it is little wonder that Bilour was inclined towards politics since his earliest days.
He belongs to a prominent political and social Hindko speaker family of Peshawar. Bashir Bilour was imprisoned along with his three brothers after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government banned the NAP in 1975. Bilour rose to prominence in 1977, when he was appointed Awami National Party’s general secretary. Later, he was also made the party’s senior vice president. He served as the party’s acting president twice – once after the resignation of Begum Nasim Wali Khan and the other time, after Afzal Khan Lala stepped down.
Bilour has also served as the provincial president of the ANP two times in his career. Following the 2008 elections, he was expected to be made the chief minister, a post later offered to Amir Haider Khan Hoti. Instead, he was made the parliamentary leader of ANP in the K-P Assembly and senior minister for local government and rural development.
Political Life In the 2008 elections Bashir Bilour was elected as a member of the provincial assembly of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with the majority of the votes (over 4000) from PF-3, a constituency of Peshawar City. He has also served as party Provincial President for the province. Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Peshawar, April 02 (PPI). Bashir Bilour was born to a prominent business family. In 1988, he contested general elections. And though he lost those polls, he went on to win his constituency, PK-III, Peshawar-III, five times in a row. Bashir Bilour was elected to the provincial legislature in the 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002, and 2008 general elections. While he has taken oath as a senior minister of ANP for the 4th time. Bashir
He was a true follower of Bacha Khan, whose non-violence philosophy had now been widely acclaimed. Bashir Bilour, a senior minister in the ANP government, used to reach the sites of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks to sympathize with the affected people and condemn militants in the hardest words.
It was a time when the provincial capital witnessed devastations. Bomb, grenade, and suicide attacks had become regular features. Politicians were afraid to speak against the Taliban and even many thought it better no to issue statements after bomb attacks,
ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan survived a suicide attack in October 2008 in his home district Charsadda. Militants killed Mian Rashid Hussain, the lone teenage son of the then information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain in July 2010. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour survived a suicide attack in April 2013. The attacks by the Taliban were meant to disrupt the ANP’s campaign for May 2013 elections.
Syed Aqil Shah, another senior leader of ANP, also survived attacks. Early this year, Mian Mushtaq was killed in Peshawar. Taliban are in no mood to spare ANP. The party happened to be the ideological enemy of militants as it wanted resolution of matters through non-violence while the latter believed in the use of force and violence.
Before the militants were eventually successful, he was targeted on several occasions—even his home was not spared. However, on December 22, 2012, when he was attending a party meeting, a militant detonated a suicide vest and Bilour was critically wounded. The ANP leader was rushed to the Lady Reading Hospital where he died.
“Since one of the basic tactics of the militants was to spread fear, he would counter it by reaching everywhere; even those places which posed a threat to his life,” said Dr. Khadim Hussain, an academic. He said Bashir Bilour would even be present at negotiation with militants as he was always familiar with their strategy and tactics in play. He added the late minister was not only a strong voice in the ANP but also in general. During his time, Bashir Bilour placed himself as a major obstacle between terrorists and their objectives. He was a proponent of nonviolence till the very end.