MARDAN - Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Hoti, senior nationalist leader and former federal minister, passed away after protracted illness on Wednesday at the age of 69.

His funeral prayer was offered at his residence at 4pm on Wednesday. The nationalist leader had been suffering from throat cancer since long. A large numbers of politicians from all over the country attended his funeral payer. Well known poet, Khuda-e-Khidmatgar Israr Da Toru, led the funeral payer.

Muhammad Azam Khan Hoti was born on April 27, 1946, in a respectable and renowned Hoti family of Mardan. His father Ameer Muhammad Khan also remained in Khuda-e-Khidmatgar Movement of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, known as Bacha Khan. Hoti remained in jail for several years. He received his early education in Risalpur. Later, he studied at Aitchison College Lahore and graduated from Degree College Nowshera.

After his graduation, Azam Hoti decided to join Pakistan Army and got commissioned in 1967. He became a captain in Armoured Corps and took part in the 1971 Pak-India-war. He took retirement from the army on account of his domestic needs. He joined National Awami Party (NAP) in 1972 and actively worked for the party and for Awami National Party (ANP) after the NAP was banned. He also remained in exile for several years in Afghanistan. He remained a member of ANP’s central and provincial executive committees and led Nangialai Pakhtoon (ANP’s youth wing) for several years. In 2005, he resigned from this office, but continued to work for the party.

Azam was elected as an MNA from Mardan in 1990 and 1997 on the ANP ticket and was twice made federal minister for communications in the Nawaz Sharif cabinets in 1991 and 1997. In March 1994, he was elected as a member of the Senate of Pakistan and remained a member of different Senate standing committees.

He had close family ties with Pakhtoon nationalist leader, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, known as Bacha Khan. His sister Begum Naseem Wali was married to late Abdul Wali Khan.

After the 2013 general elections, differences arose between Azam Hoti and his nephew Asfandyar Wali Khan. He issued a statement against Asfandyar and demanded his resignation from the office of the ANP president, accusing him of destroying the party. For that reason, he was expelled from the party. This was the time when differences arose between him and his son Ameer Haider Hoti (former KP CM). Later, he left Mardan and started living in Peshawar.

A few weeks before his death, he returned to Mardan following reconciliation with his son Haider Hoti. After some time, he came back to Peshawar.

The nationalist leader had a loving nature. Since he was an outspoken leader and a big orator, a large number of people used to attend his public meetings. On account of his loving nature, ANP workers of Mardan, Swabi, Buner, Swat and surrounding areas gave him great honour and respect. His struggle for the rights of Pakhtuns will be remembered forever. His Qul will be held at Hoti House on Friday (tomorrow).

PM grieved over Hoti’s death

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds:  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed grief and sorrow over the death of ANP leader and former federal minister senator Azam Khan Hoti who passed away Wednesday morning.

In his message of condolence, the PM regarded him as a personal friend and has fond memories of his long association with him.

He appreciated the contribution made by Hoti towards the development of his area.