National Awami Party

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The National Awami Party (NAP), translated from Urdu to English as National People's Party, was the major progressive political party in East and West Pakistan. It was founded in 1957 in Dhaka, erstwhile East Pakistan, by Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Yar Mohammad Khan, through the merger of various leftist and progressive political groups in Pakistan. Commonly known as the NAP, it was a major opposition party to Pakistani military regimes for much of the late 1950s and mid-1960s. In 1967 the party split into two factions, one in East Pakistan and another in West Pakistan.

Led by Bhashani and other influential progressive leaders, NAP played an instrumental role in the secession of East Pakistan and the independence of Bangladesh. After the death of Bhashani in 1976, the party lost much of its prominence on the Bangladeshi political scene. Many of its leaders became members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Today, the liberal and progressive faction within the BNP is led by former NAP leaders.

After the 1971 war, the Pakistani faction of NAP became the principal opposition party to the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto-led government of the Pakistan People's Party. The NAP was banned after a relentless attack by the then Prime Minister Bhutto, who accused NAP leaders of treason and after a sham trial, the NAP was banned from Pakistani politics. The leaders of the NAP, including Khan Abdul Wali Khan, were only released during the regime of General Zia-ul-Haq.


The NAP was founded in Dhaka in erstwhile East Pakistan by 1957.[1]

The constituent parties in 1957 and their areas of influence were:

The party President was Maulana Bhashani and the Secretary General was Mahmudul Huq Usmani. Mirza Mehdy Ispahani (aka Sadri Ispahani) was the treasurer. Afzal Bangash was the NAP's General Secretary in NWFP.

The National Awami Party was along with the Awami League expected to easily win the 1959 planned general elections. Its primary target was the disbanding of the One Unit scheme in West Pakistan and a fair deal for the increasingly discontented people of East Pakistan.[2]

1958 ban[edit]

In 1958 Ayub Khan came to power and all political parties were banned. The NAP was regarded by some as a front organization of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) and it faced a harsh crackdown from the Ayub government. Hasan Nasir, NAP Office Secretary and card-carrying member of the CPP, was tortured to death in custody.


When Ayub allowed political parties again in 1962, the NAP was revived with all of its old components except the G.M. Sayed group and Ganatantri Dal.[3]

Party split[edit]

At the end of 1967, a growing rift developed within the party, allegedly because Maulana Bhashani told his supporters to support Ayub Khan in the 1965 elections against the joint opposition nominee Fatima Jinnah.[4] In return he was supposed to have received payoffs and favours, a fact which he never contradicted. On 30. November 1967, after a council session of the party in Rangpur, the NAP formally split into two factions:

  • A pro-Chinese Bhashani faction in East Pakistan eventually formed part of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)
  • A pro-Soviet Wali Khan faction in West Pakistan now part of ANP and PPP-P.[1]

Party reunification[edit]

The reunification of the old NAP took place after the destruction of the USSR and now all the factions are Pro-China in Bangladesh.

The party wants to copy Asia Cooperation Dialogue (or ACD) program which is the semi-political unity model that East Bengal and West part should have one loose presidency with 2 chief executives or PMS.

Political ideology[edit]

The NAP set the following as its main aims:

  1. Defence of the sovereignty, integrity, and independence of Pakistan.
  2. Non-aligned, independent foreign policy.
  3. Ending of exploitation of Pakistan externally and its people internally.
  4. Abolition of One Unit and reorganisation of provinces on a linguistic basis.
  5. Right of adult franchise.[5]

In July 1965, as the manifesto was amended after the party's re-emergence, the NAP declared that the system of government in the country should be based on the concept of people's sovereignty. The Party advocated the maximum provincial autonomy in a confederal structure. Only Defence and Foreign Affairs were to be left with the 'Federal' government, while other powers were to rest with the autonomous units.[1] One-Unit in West Pakistan had to be replaced by a "regional confederation where provinces would be created on linguistic lines". In foreign affairs the Manifesto asked for non-alignment and withdrawal from the military pacts SEATO and CENTO.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The National Awami Party of Pakistan: Leftist Politics in Crisis M. Rashiduzzaman Pacific Affairs, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Autumn, 1970), pp. 394-409 Published by: Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia
  2. ^ National Awami Party, Retrieved 27 June 2017
  3. ^ Progressive Movements in Pakistan collection
  4. ^ National Awami Party
  5. ^ Balochistan Nationalism and its origins Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ National Awami Party (NAP), The Manifesto of National Awami Party of Pakistan. Karachi: Anjuman Press, nd, p. 5.

External links[edit]