Kurdish Stalin to Succeed Ali Qazi as Leader of Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK)

Kurdish Stalin to Succeed Ali Qazi as Leader of Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK)

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Qazi Muhammad (left) and his son Ali Qazi (right).

Ali Qazi, son of Kurdish socialist leader Qazi Muhammad and leader of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), passed away on Sunday at age 89. Qazi will be succeeded by Hussein Yazdanpaneh as head of PAK, who has been known across the internet as Kurdish Stalin (in appearance not policy). Since his election as PAK leader in 2006, Ali Qazi carried on the revolution of his father by reinforcing another independent movement with deep democratic tendencies.

Hussein “Kurdish Stalin” Yazdanpaneh.
Yazdanpaneh sniping Daesh at the Battle of Bashiqa, 2016. (Photo: Alex Kuhni)

Though PAK is one of the smallest factions in Kurdistan (roughly 1,000 Peshmerga), it is also one of the most influential. Established in 1991 as an alternative to the increasingly concessionist Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI/KDPI), PAK has contributed a large amount to the berxwedan (Kurdish resistance) and has forged an autonomous space for Bashuri and Rojhelati Kurds.

While its priority is confronting the Iranian state, PAK has unconditionally supported Rojava against the will of the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). PAK Peshmerga units were even present at the Battle of Kobanî. Due to its universal resistance to occupying states and rejection of external control, PAK is widely perceived as a structure of unification among Kurds.

(Props to IG: @historic_kurdish_photos for insight on the PAK and editing)