Muhammed Afzal Khan Lala (1926 – 1 November 2015) was a Pashtun nationalist, former Pakistani provincial and Federal minister from the Swat valley in the North-West Frontier Province.
Hailing from the Bara Durushkhela village of Matta, Swat and a senior member of the Awami National Party, he has survived several assassination attempts allegedly by the supporters of Maulana Fazlullah.
Afzal Khan began his political career affiliated with National Awami Party (NAP) in opposing the rule of the Wali of Swat. Formally joining the party in 1969 after Swat’s merger into NWFP, he was elected member of provincial assembly in Pakistan’s 1970, first ever national election. A close confidante of Abdul Wali Khan he was one of three National Awami Party provincial ministers appointed in the short-lived coalition government of Mufti Mehmud. In 1975, he was arrested by the government as part of general crackdown against the opposition and was charged as part of the Hyderabad tribunal. Released in 1978, he was elected provincial president of the Awami National Party, however in 1990 he along with senior party leaders formed a breakaway party called the Pakhtunkhwa Qaumi Party (PQP), in protest against the Awami National Party’s decision to form an alliance with the conservative Islami Jamhoori Ittehad. Allying his group to the Pakistan Peoples Party, Afzal Khan was elected to the National Assembly in the 1993 elections. Serving as Federal Minister for the Northern areas and Kashmir from 1993 to 1996, he withdrew from electoral politics after 1997. He then allied himself with the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM), advocating full provincial autonomy for the various ethnicities of Pakistan. In 2005 he rejoined the Awami National Party.
Opposition to Taliban
One of the few opponents, not in exile or dead, of the Taliban in the region, he has been guarded by relatives and members of the Awami National Party.
In a recent interview he said from his house in the Durushkhela area of Swat that he refuses to leave the area to Taliban: “I shall die but will not leave the ground to militants”.
Recognition by Pakistan government
As acknowledgement for his bravery in the face of terrorism, he was awarded by the President of Pakistan, the highest civilian award for bravery the Hilal-i-Shujaat in 2009.
He died on 1 November 2015 in Swat after a protracted illness.
Afghanistans people, government member, CEO Abdullah Abdullah, former President Hamid Karzai and current president Ashraf Ghani have expressed there condolence. Also are till today seminars keeping, for example by Pashtoons Social Democratic Party.