A Pakhtoon nationalist leader
Being a Pakhtoon nationalist leader, Ajmal Khattak was a towering progressive poet, writer, critic, playwright, intellectual and researcher.
To revive the spirit of the Pakhtoonkhwa with his poetry, 'Da ghairat chegha' (The cry of honour) Ajmal created fear in the minds of the ruling juntas in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1958. Such poem and verses were banned in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and became the cause of his imprisonment.
Ajmal's struggle for provincial autonomy led to his being put under house arrest. After the Liaquat Bagh (Rawalpindi) firing on 23 March 1973, he left for Afghanistan and stayed there in exile for over 16 years. He returned to Pakistan in 1989.
Ajmal Khattak was a member of Pakistan's National Assembly (1990-93) and a senator representing the Awami National Party (1996-99). In 2006, when government of Pakistan informed him that he was in line for the lucrative award of Sitara-I-Imtiaz, he refused it with a polite note.
He served as editor of, or worked for, various newspapers and periodicals including Anjam, Shahbaz, Bang-I-Haram, Adal and Rahber. He also worked as a scriptwriter for Radio Pakistan, Peshawar, for five years.
He authored several popular books mostly in Pushto and in Urdu.
Born in Akora Khattak, Ajmal was politically active from his early days and was a member of the Quit India Movement of 1942.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan