|Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao son of Ghulam Haider Khan Born on August 20, 1944.
Hewas educated at Edwards College, Peshawar, and Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, Abbottabad.After passing out from Pakistan Military Academy with 34th Long Course in 1965, he joined Armoured Corps in the Probya’s Horse Battalion. Over a period of 12 years in the army, he rose to the rank of major.
Early retirement from Aramy
It was after the assassination of his elder brother, Hayat Muhammad Khan Sherpao, in a bomb blast in 1975 that he jumped into the political arena. The then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto asked him to take an early retirement from his military career.
Z.A Bhutto Afterwards nominated him as provincial vice-president of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). He was thus a stalwart of the original unified PPP from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Struggle for democarcy with MRD
After the death of his political mentor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Sherpao wholeheartedly supported his daughter Benazir Bhutto and her struggle against the military dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq. He was a key political figure of the Movement for Restoration of Democracy from NWFP.
Election 1988 – Chief minister of NWFP
In 1988 elections, he orchestrated the downfall of the establishment-backed Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and became the NWFP chief minister. He took an extra-nationalist line to appease the nationalist forces, hostile to his party and thus broadened his political base in their areas.
Election 1994 – Chief minister of NWFP
Sherpao was once again elected as the NWFP chief minister in 1994.
Both his governments were dismissed prematurely due to the fall of the PPP governments in the Centre in 1990 and then 1996.
Leader of opposition NWFP
He serving as leader of the opposition in the NWFP Assembly as parliamentary leader of the PPP in 1993 and 1997
In the mid-1990s he developed serious differences with Benazir Bhutto when Major Genreal (Retd) Naseerullah Babar mistakenly suspected his role in undercutting him through allotment of party tickets in Nowshera. This finally led to the formation of his own faction of the party called PPP-Sherpao or PPP-S.
Fled from Pakistan and retuned
He fled Pakistan to Britain after the military came to power in 1999 amidst charges of corruption against him. Eventually he returned prior to the 2002 elections.
After striking an electoral alliance with the religio-political parties, he was elected to both the provincial and national assemblies and his party performed relatively well amidst the rout of his former party and the PML in his home province.
Federal minister for water and power
Siding with General Pervez Musharraf after the 2002 elections, he was appointed as the Minister for Water and Power in 2002. In addition to this charge, Sherpao was also made Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas & States and Frontier Regions (KANA & SAFRON) and Inter-Provincial Coordination.
Fedral interior minster
Subsequently after a cabinet re-shuffle in 2005, he was appointed as the Federal Interior Minister. He has been a prominent figure due to terrorist attacks and fighting in the tribal areas as well as Balochistan.
Suicide attacks on Sherpao
On April 28, 2007 he was injured in a suicide attack in his home area of Charsadda, 18 miles northeast of Peshawar,On December 21, 2007, Eid al-Adha, a suicide bomb blast targeting Aftab Ahmad killed at least 57 and injured over 100 at Jamia Masjid Sherpao, located in District Charsadda in the North-West Frontier Province. Aftab Ahmad survived the blast, but his younger son Mustafa Khan Sherpao, was injured.
He was re-elected to Pakistan’s National Assembly and NWFP Provincial Assembly in the 2008 elections.
Family influence in politics
Sherpao’s family tree and cross-marriages in other influential families has given him a unique edge over his political opponents. His elder brother, Wali Mohammad Khan, was related to former President Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari. He himself is the son-in-law of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, a prominent figure among leaders who struggled for independence of Pakistan from the British colonial rule. His elder son, Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, has already jumped into the provincial politics and was elected as member of the NWFP Assembly.