His father, Khan Abdul Wali Khan
, was the party's first President. He is the grandson of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
, better known as Bacha Khan
; Abdul Ghaffar was the founder of the non-violent Pashtun political movement, Khudai Khidmatgar
("Servants of God") in undivided India and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Asfandyar's uncle Dr. Khan Sahib
was the Congress Party
's Chief Minister of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
, during the waning days of the British Raj, and also the Chief Minister of the province during the early days of independent Pakistan
. Asfandyar is the present President of the Awami National Party
and has served as Member of Provincial Assembly, Member of National Assembly, senator and presently MP in Pakistan's Parliament.
Asfandyar Wali Khan joined the opposition to Ayub Khan
as a student activist. In 1975, he was imprisoned and tortured
by the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
and convicted as part of the Hyderabad tribunal
for 15 years.
Released in 1978, he stayed away from electoral politics till 1990..
Asfandyar Wali Khan served as leader of the Pakhtun Student Federation
prior to being elected to the provincial Assembly in the 1990 election, while in the 1993 election he was elected to Pakistan's National Assembly. A seat to which he was re-elected to the National Assembly in the 1997 election and served as Parliamentary leader of the ANP and Chairman of the standing committee on inter-provincial co-ordination.
In 1999, he was elected party president for the first time. He was defeated in the 2002 election, in what was a repeat of his father's defeat in 1990, when a tactical alliance was formed by all the anti-ANP groups against him. After his defeat he resigned as President of his party, only to be re-elected unopposed in the subsequent party election. In 2003 he was elected to the Senate as Senator for a 6 year term. He was re-elected to the National Assembly in the parliamentary elections that was held on February 2008, leading his party to power both provincially and nationally, the former for the first time since 1947 and the latter since 1997.
In September 2008, he was elected as Chairman of the standing committee on foreign Affairs.
In 2008 it was reported by Dawn
that he made a secret visit to the United States in which he made high level contacts with the U.S Central Command
On 3 October 2008, he was targeted by a suicide bomber who attempted to kill him while he was greeting guests during Eid ul-Fitr
Shortly after the attack, Asfandyar Wali Khan left Charsadda in a helicopter sent by the Prime Minister. He has come under severe criticism by certain elements who alleged that he should have stayed after the attack and attended funerals of the deceased, instead of escaping to his home. However, this charge has been dismissed by his supporters as concocted by supporters of Taliban. It has been stated that: "Asfandyar Wali Khan has not fled the country. He is away from the country, no doubt, and is busy with personal and party commitments abroad."