Aqif Pasha Elbasani
|Aqif Pashë Elbasani|
From left to right: General Willem De Veer, Ibrahim Biçakçiu, Aqif Pasha Biçakçiu, and Ali Agjah Bey
|Born||1860 or 1861
Elbasan, Ottoman Empire
|Died||10 February 1926|
|Other names||Aqif Pashë Biçaku, Aqif Pashë Biçakçiu|
|Known for||Congress of Lushnje|
Aqif Pasha Elbasani (1860 or 1861 – 1926), also referred as Aqif Pashë Elbasani, Aqif Pashë Biçaku, Aqif Pashë Biçakçiu, was an Albanian political figure.
He was an activist of the Albanian National Awakening in the Elbasan region. He is remembered for having raised the Albanian flag in Elbasan on 26 November 1912 at the request of Ismail Qemal bey Vlora. In 1913 he was elected Prefect of Elbasan. He supported Qemal in his attempt to form a stable administration and was Minister of the Interior for a brief period in 1914 (28 March - 3 September) during the reign of Prince William of Wied.
After the triumph of the Islamic Revolt in 1914 he left Albania together with Wied. He settled in Bari, Italy, and after a couple of months returned to Albania, settling in Shkodër since going back to Elbasan was impossible. In 1915 he joined a secret nationalist committee founded by Hoxha Kadri Prishtina in Shkodër, together with other patriots as Sotir Peçi, Eshref Frashëri, Ali Shefqet Shkupi, etc. The committee was a precursor of the later Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo.
Following the Montenegrin invasion of Shkodër in 1915, he was arrested and sent to internment for a few months together with Luigj Gurakuqi and Sotir Peçi. Following an Austro-Hungarian offensive, Montenegro capitulated and Biçakçiu and other were set free. As a pro-Austrian he propagandized between Albanians not to oppose the Austrian armies. Biçakçiu took part in an unsuccessful congress in his native Elbasan in 1916 to restore Albanian independence, in cooperation with the Austrian authorities, specifically August Ritter von Kral. Biçakçiu aimed at restoring the Prince Wied and the Principality of Albania. The same Austrian authorities would prohibit such an event.
In this condition, he resigned from any political duty. He was not involved until the Congress of Durrës in December 1918. Despite the desire of participating in the event, Biçakçiu could only send a telegram where he advised aiming at reestablishing the borders of Treaty of London, 1913 as a sign of "neutrality" of the Albania state. At the same time, the telegram positioned him against the pro-Italian spirit of the Durrës Congress which characterized most of the participants.
In 1920, he chaired the Congress of Lushnje and was one of the central figures who rules the Albanian politics of that time, together with Eshref Frashëri and Ahmet Zogu. As a representative of the Bektashi community, he was elected to the four-member High Regency Council (Këshilli i Lartë i Regjencës) that ruled the Principality of Albania after the exile of Prince Wied. Biçaku was a foe of Shefqet Vërlaci and had often tenuous relations with Ahmet Zogu. Together with Dom Luigj Bumçi, he took part in a coup d’état in December 1921 and was later relieved of his duties on the High Council by Zogu.
In 1923–1924, Biçaku represented Korça in the Albanian parliament as a member of a pro-Noli democratic opposition. After the suppression of the June Revolution in December 1924 and fall of the Noli government, he went into exile. Sejfi Vllamasi, another political refugee in Vienna would describe him as a "great patriot, but stubborn and insistent till the end".
His son, Ibrahim Biçakçiu, was a Balli Kombëtar leader and served as Prime Minister of Albania during the period 29 August to 28 November 1944. He was arrested by the Communist authorities after World War II.
After the fall of Communism in Albania, a statue of him was placed in a plaza of Elbasan.
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- Turhan Pashë Përmeti, Shqipëria përballë Konferencës së Paqes Paris 1919: dokumenta zyrtane të paraqitura nga ana e Dërgates Shqiptare, qysh prej 12 Shkurtit e deri më 5 Qershor 1919, e të botuara nga ana e Qeverisë së Përkohshme (1 ed.), Rome, pp. 7–8
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- Sejfi Vllamasi (1995), Marenglen Verli, ed., Ballafaqime politike në Shqipëri (1897-1942) : kujtime dhe vlerësime historike, Tirana: Shtëpia Botuese "Marin Barleti", pp. 136–137, OCLC 37228559
- "none". Zeri i popullit. Tirana: Partia e Punës së Shqipërisë. Komiteti Qëndror. 27 November 1962. OCLC 30942094.