Khan Abdul Wali Khan's political career had been built on the tradition of intense Pashtun nationalism inherited from his father, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan). Both men were opposed to the creation of Pakistan, and after partition they were imprisoned. In 1956 Wali Khan joined the National Awami Party (NAP), led by a charismatic Bengali socialist, Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani. In 1965 the NAP split into two factions, with Wali Khan becoming president of the pro-Moscow faction.
The party's members participated in 1970 parliamentary elections through the Pakistan Peoples Party's platform and the National Awami Party, forming a largest socialist alliance with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1970. However, the alliance fell apart and its members joined the Pakistan National Alliance.
In 1972 the party was strong enough to form coalition provincial governments, with its partner the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These governments were short lived. Wali Khan was again jailed, and his party was barred from politics when the Supreme Court upheld the finding of President Bhutto that the NAP was conspiring against the state of Pakistan. General Zia-ul-Haq subsequently withdrew the charges against the NAP. Wali Khan was released, joined the National Democratic Party, and ultimately formed the Awami National Party. In the meantime, President Bhutto was imprisoned and executed in April 1979.
The Awami National Party (Pashto: ملي عوامي ګوند, Urdu: عوامی نيشنل پارٹی; Acronym: ANP), is a political party in Pakistan, representing about 13 seats in the Parliament in the latest national parliamentary elections held in 2008. The party was founded by Abdul Wali Khan in 1986 and its current president is Asfandyar Wali Khan, grandson of Bacha Khan, with Tajuddin Khan serving as the Secretary-General.
Part of the PPP-led cabinet of Pakistani government, the ANP’s political position is considered left wing, advocating for secularism, democratic socialism, public sector government, and economic egalitarianism.
ANP is the largest Pashtun party in Pakistan. Although its popular vote center or influence lies in the Pashtun dominated areas in and around Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it has also gained considerable amount of momentum in the Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan. The ANP party enjoys friendly ties with neighboring Afghanistan and India, including the United States.