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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Is Ahmad Faraz becoming nationalist?

Musharraf should not call himself a liberal ruler, says Faraz

Aqeel Yousafzai PESHAWAR: Prominent Urdu poet Ahmad Faraz has said President Musharraf had no right to introduce himself as a liberal minded ruler. "He is trying to miss guide world community but every one knows better that present government is violating basic human and political rights of people from last seven years", he added. In an interview with The Frontier Post, he said military regime believed to exploit the basic philosophy of liberalism in order to protect their own political system. Musharraf has provided an environment to jihadi based religious groups in last election to stop and isolate the liberal and democratic political forces like Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and few other nationalist parties. Blaming MMA for supporting military policies, he mentioned this alliance openly played the role of friendly opposition and got personal and political advantages that they had needed. He said as per agenda of Pakhtuns on both sides of Durand line were introduced extremists and election victory of MMA was a part of same dirty game. "Pakhtunkhwa is the historical soil of Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak, Hamza Shinwari and other peace believers and Pakhtun nation have a strong background of liberalism and democracy", he observed. The poet claimed majority of people was looking for a peaceful cultural based society. Replying to a question, Ahmad Faraz expressed that as a member of Pashtun society, he would be like to play a positive role for maintaining peace in this region that is why he had attended the ANP called Pakhtun Peace Jirga few days back. He further said poets, actors, writers and columnists were failed to play a proper role for protection of democracy, harmony and bringing peace in the present political era as nation demanded and expected. "They should realise that country and society was looking for their active role and responsibilities. "Literary people are suffering badly in personal capacity in such violent environment and that was the reason when he refused to accept any award offered by present military regime", he concluded. Regarding renaming of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the poet has also said that the NWFP province should be renamed as 'Pakhtunkhwa' which it would be for the betterment of Pakhtun nation. "It is not only a political demand but also demand of people of the province", he added.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Great Freedom Fighter

Great Freedom Fighter

On January 20, 1988 a man of high countenance breathed his last at the age of 98, whose death sparked a wave of sorrow across the subcontenam.

This was the baby who took birth in the house of a feudal lord of Utmanzai, Charsadda, Behram Khan, in January 1890 and was named as Abdul Ghaffar Khan. He was the second son of Behram Khan. The elder one was Dr. Khan Sahib, who later become a famous political figure.

Crown up in a typical Pukhtoon environment, Ghaffar Khan was sent to Peshawar for schooling. Doing his primary from Municipal Board School , Ghaffar Khan along with Ms brother joined the Mission High School where a missionary, Canon C.A. Wigrim influenced Ghaffar Khan.

Prior to his matriculation examination Abdul Ghaffar Khan was selected in the British ,Arrny. However the [indecent behavior of British officials towards the local personnel made him change his mind, thus deciding to serve his people. Behram Khan arranged to send Ghaffar Khan to England where Dr. Khan Saib was already studying medicine, but Ghaffar Khan refused to go abroad.

The great social reformer started his career as an educationist and encouraged the establishment of schools in Mardan and Peshawar districts. But his growing popularity was unacceptable to the authorities. So several schoools were closed down and teachers arrested.

Having sensed the situation, Ghaffar Khan paid visits to various parts of the province and revived his institutions. This time his father was pressurised to stop his son. But Ghaffar Khan refused to suspend his social work and told his father he considered his mission as a prayer. This led to the arrest of Ghaffar Khan and his 95 years old father in 1919 on the charges of subversive activities.

The same year Abdul Ghaffar Khan was released and the people of Utmanzai (his village) accorded him a warm welcome. At a public meeting to welcome Ghaffar Khan he was given the title of "Bacha Khan". In 1920 Bacha Khan on the advice of then Afghan ruler Amanullah Khan established "Anjuman-i-Islah-i-Afghania" with an aim to educate and guide the people.

In 1926 the formation of Pukhtoon ]irga and a journal "Pukhtoon", marked the start of political career of Bacha Khan, which was followed by the establishment of Khudai Khidmatgar Tehrik (God's Servants Movement). The members of Khudai Khidmatgar Tehrik took the oath to sacrifice life, wealth and comforts for the motherland, refrain from party friction and side with the oppressed against the oppressors, not to enrol in any other party and join the armed struggle on the party's call for war against alien rulers and to adopt non-violence policy and serve humanity irrespective of personal •considerations, shall try to be good and just and his objectives would be to please God and win freedom for his country and religion. The volunteers of this moverrtent used to wear red shirts and were known as "Surkh Posh".

Under the Bacha Khan leadership the people of Frontier took active part in the Non-Cooperation Movement of All India Congress. It was during the movement that British army massacred the unarmed people at Qissa Khwani on April 23, 1930 . The next day Ghaffar Khan along with several followers was arrested and his journal was banned. After release from jail Ghaffar Khan and his elder brother Dr. Khan Sahib started reorganizing the Congresss in Frontier, but both of them were again detainedand served the jail term till the end of 1933. Afterwards their entry into Frontier was banned and the Khan brothers remained with Gandhiji in Wardha.

In 1933 the governor rule was imposed in the Frontier. In 1934 when the province was given an elective seat in the central assembly Dr. Khan Sahib swept the polls on Congress ticket, despite being absent.

It was difficult for Ghaffar Khan to accept the division of sub­continent into two

Independent dominions, India and Pakistan , and on June 24, 1947 he called for boycott of the referendum unless the state of Pukhtoonistan wa^~ created.

Having his dreams shattered, Bacha Khan continued his political activities. On June 15, w 1948 he was arrested on™ the charges of anti-stati activities. He was aware a three-year term, but remained behind the ban tiR January 5, 1954 . Though Bacha Khan had much regard for his brother Dr. Khan Sahib but their political programme differed as the former was against one unit and the latter favoured ft. White the constituent assembly of Pakistan was discussing the plan for a one unit administration in the west Pakistan, led by Ghaffar Khan, the Khudai Khidmatgar, Frontier Awami League and other bodies launched an agitation, demanding that a referendum should be held on the subject. However, Abdul Ghaffar Khan was arrested on September 17, 1955 , On July 10, 1955 Khudai Khidmatgar Movement was disbanded and Bacha Khan was arrested on 16th of June, 1956 on charges of antl-scate activities. Lahore High Court started hearing into the case on September 5, 1956 , and fined both Ghaffar Khan and his closed associate Abdul Samad Khan Rs. 14,000 and Rs. 9,500 respectively on January 24, 1957 .

Due to political Instability, President Iskandar Mrrza appointed Gen. Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial law Administrator on October 7, 1958 and was made the prime minister on 24th of October, 1958. Like others, the military regime as well was not • kind to the Pukhtoon leader and between October 10 to 12 Maulana Bhashani, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Abdul Samad Khan and G.M. Syed were arrested under the Pakistan Security Act. Due to falling health Ghaffar Khan was released on April 4, 1959 but Ghaffar Khan was yet to give up political struggle and was arrested under the Mlntenance of Public Order in 1961 and released on January JO, 1964 after three years.

Ghaffar Khan, on sensing that his presence might be harming the cause of Pukhtoons, left for Afghanistan and carried out his activities from there. During the self-exile, Bacha Khan made the first ever visit to Free India in 1969, where he inaugurated the Gandhi birth centenary , celebrations and received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. On October 1, 1969 , Bacha Khan was accorded a warm welcome at Paiam Airport by the then Indiar Prime Minister Indfra Gandhi.

Protesting against anti-Muslim riots in Ahmad Abad, the Pukhtoon leader announced to go for a three day fast at Delhi Ramlila ground on October 2, 1969 . Being a follower and firm believer of non-violence Bacha Khan said that violence always promoted a sense of hatred and ultimately destroyed nations. Later when he visited Gufrat, during his historic address asked the Hindus not to be distrust Muslims.

On November 15, 1969 when the president V.V. Girl while presenting the award to Bacha Khan said "If any body could be called a universal man he is Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, for he stands for virtues that will b£ valid for all thg times I In honoring him today, we are honoring a great Indian tradition of giving primacy to truthful and sacrificial living. Bacha Khan indeed is an embodiment of simplicity, personal purity and in fact of all virtues, that we hold dear".

Bacha Khan's visit to India was termed as not to be for the protection of Indian Muslims but Nehru award. However, Bacha Khan on his return to Afghanistan continued guiding Pukhtoons from exile. After 1970 crisis, when the martial law was lifted, Bacha Khan returned after 8 years of exile and on December 24, 1972 announced to launch a peace movement stressing the need forharmony not only inside the country but also with bordering states. Offering his cooperation to any government for the first time, Bacha Khan said "Bhutto wished to build a new progressive and prosperous society in Pakistan and I will support him even none else does so".

Bacha Khan launched his peace movement on January 11, 1973 but Bhutto accused him of using the language of violence. In October 1973 he was arrested once again, elected government in Balochistan and Frontier were dismissed and Bacha Khan's movement was confined to his village Utmanzai on March 20 1974 . While going to Afghanistan as a protest, he was again arrested on his way to Torkham on April 13, 1975 and released on August 28, 1976 after two years of detention. Meanwhile he was not sound physically and his health was deteriorating. However he proceeded towards Kabul once again where from he visited India twice. After spending two months in Moscow he visited India in 1980 for treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi . Again for the same purpose he came to India on November 6, 1981 and returned to Kabul on January 1, 1982 .

Despite so many countries, including India offered to have him treated Bacha Khan this time decided to be with his own people and thus returned to Pakistan in August 1982. But Ziaul .Haq put him under'house arrest. However, on complaining to have pain in his left leg, he was taken to Kabul on July 1984 where from he left for Prague in the first week of August and • returned on September 3, 1984 . This time his health did not allow him and thus this great man breathed his last on January 20, 1988 at the age of 98.

His funeral was attended by Indian prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his family members, Farooq Abdullah and others. Followed by a vehicular procession in thousand his body was taken to Jalalabad and was laid to rest there. Though he is no more amongst us, but the Pukhtoon nation would always remember the esteemed leader who for his matchless qualities has earned titles like Bacha Khan, Fakhr-i-Afghan and Fakhr-i-asia

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ground Realities in Pashtun region

US faces snowballing Afghan war, says Orakzai

Says US, Nato and Kabul closing their eyes to reality | 50,000 more troops needed | Hopes for treaty in Bajaur

ISLAMABAD: The United States and NATO face a snowballing war in Afghanistan and will suffer a military disaster unless they back peaceful means to end the conflict, NWFP Governor Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai said on Friday.

He said Washington, NATO and the Afghan government were “closing their eyes” to the reality that a military-based strategy was making matters worse. “Either it is lack of understanding or it is a lack of courage to admit their failures,” Orakzai said. “Like in Iraq, it was the lack of courage to admit their faults. They have admitted them now but at very great cost.” Rather than fighting just the Taliban, Orakzai said, NATO forces now faced a wider revolt from Afghanistan’s Pashtun ethnic majority that had grown alienated because of indiscriminate bombings, economic deprivation and a lack of representation. “The people have started joining the Taliban. It is snowballing into a nationalist movement if it has not already become one. It is becoming a sort of war of resistance,” he said. US military officials in Kabul have said insurgent activities have tripled since the truce was called, but Orakzai said linking the statistics to the peace accord was nonsensical. He is now pushing for a similar deal to be struck among the Pashtun tribes on both sides of the border through a jirga, or tribal council, a traditional means of conciliation among warring parties.

“If we can achieve the objectives through political process I think it is the more economical method to do it. If we succeed, very good, and if not who is to deter us from returning to a military strategy,” Orakzai said. The governor said he had outlined his proposal to President George W Bush when he accompanied President Pervez Musharraf to the White House in September. He had told Bush that after five years, the military strategy had failed to achieve any of the US objectives in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar remained at large, reconstruction had been minimal and democracy did not exist beyond “the confines of a few palaces in Kabul”, he said. “It’s time to reflect whether that strategy is working or not. Obviously it is not,” Orakzai said. The 32,000 British-led NATO forces were too few to defeat the insurgency, according to Orakzai. “If they think military is the only option, they should bring another 50,000 troops,” he said, comparing it with the 80,000 men Pakistan had just on the border.

Orakzai dismissed the accusations. He said peace pacts in North and South Waziristan had stopped infiltration and he still hoped for a similar deal in Bajaur. Orakzai said the unrest was spreading before the North Waziristan pact. “If that trend was allowed to continue, it could have threatened the stability of the rest of the country.” President Musharraf sent the army into Waziristan in 2003 to flush out Al Qaeda fighters.

President Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have traded allegations over the violence, with Karzai accusing Pakistan of allowing foreign and Pakistani militants and Al Qaeda operatives to use tribal areas in NWFP as a rear base.

Face to face with the war on terror

Gitmo: A young Pakhtana writes ...
Face to face with the war on terror


The sailor at the entrance to Camp Echo peers through the gate as Peter
and I hold up our laminated blue cards. ‘‘HC,’’ for habeas counsel,
they read. ‘‘Escort Required.’’ He waves us through, searches our bags,
then issues safety instructions—dial 2431 on the wall phone in the
room—in case anything should happen in our meeting with prisoner no.

The gravel crunches beneath our shoes as we follow a soldier
across a courtyard to a painted brown door. Before we go in, I drape
the shawl I’m carrying over my head and arms. This is my first meeting
with a Guantanamo Bay detainee, and I’m feeling nervous about sitting
down with a “terrorist”.

Ali Shah Mousovi is standing at attention at the far end of the
room, his leg chained to the floor. His expression is wary, but when he
sees me in my embroidered shawl from Peshawar, he breaks into a smile.
Later, he’ll tell me that for a split second he mistook me for his
younger sister.

I introduce myself and Peter Ryan, a lawyer for whom I’m
interpreting. I hand Mousovi a Starbucks chai, the closest thing to
Afghan tea I’ve been able to find on the base. I open up boxes of pizza
and cookies. He doesn’t reach for anything and urges us to share the
food we have brought for him.

Mousovi is a physician from Gardez, where he was arrested by US
troops two-and-a-half years ago. He tells us that he had returned to
Afghanistan in August 2003, after 12 years of exile in Iran, to help
rebuild his watan (homeland). He believes someone turned him in to US
forces just to collect up to $25,000 being offered to anyone who gave
up a Talib or al-Qaeda member.

As I translate from Pashto, Mousovi hesitantly describes life
after arrest. Brought to Bagram air base, he was thrown—blindfolded,
hooded and gagged—into a 3 1/2-by-7-foot shed. He was beaten regularly
by Americans in civilian clothing, deprived of sleep by tape-recordings
of sirens that blared day and night. He was dragged around by a rope,
subjected to extreme heat and cold.

He had hoped he would be freed at his military hearing in
December 2004. Instead, he was accused of associating with the Taliban
and of funneling money to anti-coalition insurgents. When he asked for
evidence, he was told it was classified. And so he sits in prison, far
from his wife and three children. When he talks about his 11-year-old
daughter, Hajar, his eyes fill with tears. His head droops.

I don’t know what I had expected coming here, but it wasn’t
this weary, sorrowful man. The government says he is a terrorist and a
monster. When I look at him, I see simply what he says he is—a
physician who wanted to build a clinic in his native land.

A guard knocks at the door. Time’s up. Mousovi signs a document
agreeing to have Peter represent him before US civilian courts. ‘‘I
pray to Allah,’’ he says, holding his palms together, ‘‘for sabar.’’

It was Google that got me to Gitmo. My interest in the US
military base in Cuba was sparked by an international law class I took
last year . So I Googled the names of the attorneys on the 2004 Supreme
Court case Rasul vs. Bush, which held that the US court system had
authority to decide whether non-US citizens held at Guantanamo Bay were
being rightfully imprisoned.

Maybe part of my interest had to do with my heritage. My
Pashtun parents are doctors who met in medical school in Peshawar, a
city in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border. They came to the
United States to continue their medical educations. I was born in
America in 1978, but I grew up speaking Pashto at home, and am a
practising Muslim.

As an American, I felt the pain of 9/11, and I understood the
need to invade Afghanistan and destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But I
also felt the suffering of the Afghans as their country was bombed. And
when hundreds of men were rounded up and thrust into a black hole of
detention, many with seemingly no proof that they had any terrorist
connections, I felt that my own country had taken a wrong turn.

The attorneys I e-mailed eventually put me in touch with Peter
Ryan at Dechert LLP, which represents 15 Afghan detainees. I’ve now
been down a total of nine times. Over three months, I’ve interpreted at
dozens of meetings with detainees and heard many stories.

I’ve listened to Wali Mohammed protest that he was just a
businessman trying to get along in Taliban-run Afghanistan. I’ve
watched Chaman Gul, crouched in his 7-by-8-foot cage, weep for fear
that his family will forget him. I’ve marvelled at the pluck of Taj
Mohammad, a 27-year-old goat herder who has taught himself English
while here.

As we leave our meeting with Mousovi, I pull the heavy shawl off
my head. Primo, our military escort, is outside the fenced compound,
puffing off a Marlboro Red. Over a steak dinner, they joke with us.
Primo gives me pointers on shooting pool, everyone brings them beer and

But Tom Wilner, a partner in Shearman & Sterling LLP,
retorts: ‘‘Yeah, they’re nice. But the face of evil often appears
friendly.’’ Tom gets angry talking about the conditions under which the
detainees live. Most are held in isolation in cells separated by thick
steel mesh or concrete walls. Every man eats every meal alone in his
small cell. The prisoners are allowed out of their cells three times a
week for about 15 minutes to exercise, often in the middle of the
night, so many don’t see sunlight for months at a time.

I think of Ali Shah Mousovi when he says that. Even the
presiding officer at Mousovi’s hearing declared that he found it
‘‘difficult to believe’’ that the United States had imprisoned Mousovi
and flown him ‘‘all the way to Cuba.’’

Two-and-a-half years, in a 3 1/2-by-7-foot shed, a prisoner of terror.

Mahvish Khan

Say “No ” to racial bias

Here a campaign has been launched by Pakhtoons to condemn the derogatory remarks by Daily Times against Pakhtoon nation. Please sign the petition and leave your comment at the site below. But please avoid offensivel language.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Khudai Khidmatgar

Khudai Khidmatgar
Khudai Khidmatgar literally translates as the servants of God. It represented a non-violent freedom struggle against the British Empire by the Pashtuns of the North West Frontier Province(Pukhtunistan). The movement was led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan/Badshah Khan).

Conditions prior to the movement

At the turn of the last century Pakhtuns ociety was colonized, stagnant, and violent,worn down by feuds, inequalities, factionalism, poor social cooperation, andplain ignorance. Education opportunities were strictly limited. Pukhtuns are Muslim; Mullahs were known to have told parents that if their children went to school, they would go to hell. Bacha Khan stated that “the real purpose of this propaganda”was to keep Pakhtuns “illiterate and uneducated”, and hence his people “were the most backward in India” with regard to education.
Origins of the Khudai Khidmatgar
Formed out of the society for reformation of Afghans (Anjuman-e-Islah-e-Afghan), it initially targeted social reformation and launched campaigns against prostitution. Bacha Khan as it's founder seemed to be influenced by the realisation that whenever British troops were faced with an armed uprising they eventually always overcame the rebellion. The same could not be said when using non violence against the troops.

The movement started prior to the Qissa Khwani bazaar massacre, when a demonstration of hundreds of non violent supporters were fired upon by British soldiers in Peshawar. It's low point and eventual disappaition was after Pakistan's independance in 1947 when the Muslim League Chief Minister Abdul Qayyum Khan banned the movement and launched a brutal crackdown on it's members which culminated in the massacre at Babra Sharif massacre. At it's peak the KK movement consisted of almost 100,000 members.

Genesis of the Khudai Khidmatgar

Initially the movement focussed on social reform as a means of imrpoving the status of pashtuns against the British. Ghaffar Khan founded several reform movements prior to the formation of the Khudai Khidmatgar, the Anjumen-e Islah ul-Afaghena in 1921, the farmers' organisation Anjuman-e Zamidaran in 1927 and the youth movement Pashtun Jirga in 1927. Trying to further spread awareness on Pashtun issues Abdul Ghaffar Khan founded the magazine Pakhtun in May 1928. Finally in November 1929, almost on the eve of the Qissa Khwani bazaar massacre the Khudai Khidmatgar were formed.

"The Red Shirts"

Bacha Khan drew his first recruits from the young men who had graduated from his schools. Trained and uniformed, they served behind their officers and filed out into various villages to seek recruits. They began by wearing a simple white overshirt, but the white was soon dirtied. A couple of men had their shirts dyed at the local tannery, and the brick-red color proved a breakthrough, it was this distinctive colour that earned the Khudai khidmatgar movement activists the name "the Red shirts" or surkh posh.
Ideology of the Khudai Khidmatgar
Under the influence of Abdul Ghaffar Khan the movement advocated non-violent protests and justified their actions through an Islamic context. Bacha Khan did not find Islam and non-violence as incompatible. Despite that the movement was intrinsically non-sectarian. In more then one occassion when Hindus and Sikhs were attacked in Peshawar, Khidmatgar members helped protect their lives and property.

“The Holy Prophet Mohammed came into this world and taught us ‘That man is a Muslim who never hurts anyone by word or deed, but who works for the benefit and happiness of God's creatures.’ Belief in God is to love one's fellow men.” – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

“There is nothing surprising in a Muslim or a Pathan like me subscribing to the creed of nonviolence. It is not a new creed. It was followed fourteen hundred years ago by the Prophet all the time he was in Mecca.” – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Bacha Khan always considered trials and tribulations, which he underwent ceaselessly, as the means by which Almighty Allah meant to fashion his life for better things. Being a great humanist, he ardently believed that human nature was not so depraved as to hinder it from respecting goodness in others. It is easy to look down on others but to make an estimate of our failing is difficult. Allah's blessings according to Bacha khan are marked for those, who submit to Allah's will and serve Almighty Allah through selfless activities for the overall good of humanity at large irrespective of caste, colour, race or religions.

Structure of the Khudai Khidmatgar
Volunteers who took the oath formed platoons with commanding officers and learned basic army discipline. The volunteers had their own flags: red in the beginning, later tri-colour and bands: bagpipe and drums. The men wore red uniforms and the women black. They had drills, badges, a flag, the entire military hierarchy of rank and even a bagpipe corps.

Bacha Khan set up a network of committees called jirgas, named and modeled after the traditional tribal councils. Villages were grouped into larger groups, responsible to district-wide committees. The Provincial Jirgah was the ultimate authority.

Officers in the ranks were not elected, since Bacha Khan wanted to avoid infighting. He appointed a salar-e-azam or commander-in-chief, who in turn appointed officers to serve under him. Other ranks included Jarnails (Generals). The army was completely voluntary; even the officers gave their services free. Women were recruited too, and played an important role in the struggles to come.

Volunteers went to the villages and opened schools, helped on work projects, and maintained order at public gatherings. From time to time they drilled in work camps and took long military-style marches into the hills.
British tactics against the Khudai Khidmatgar
British troops employed a wide variety of tactics against KK activists.

"The British used to torture us, throw us into ponds in wintertime, shave our beards, but even then Badshah Khan told his followers not to lose patience. He said 'there is an answer to violence, which is more violence. But nothing can conquer nonviolence. You cannot kill it. It keeps standing up. The British sent their horses and cars to run over us, but I took my shawl in my mouth to keep from screaming. We were human beings, but we should not cry or express in any way that we were injured or weak." Musharraf Din (Baldauf).

Another tactic employed against non-violent protesters who were blocking roads was to charge them with cars and horses.

In 1931 5,000 members of the Khudai Khidmatgar and 2,000 members of the Congress Party are arrested in the spring of 1932.

By 1932 the Khudai Khidmatgar movement changed it's tactics and involved women in the movement. This unnerved many Indian officers working in the region as in those days of conservative India it was considered a grave insult to attack women, more so ina conservative Pashtun society. However the brutality increased and in one case five police officers in Benares had to be suspended due to 'horrific reports about violence used against young female volunteers'.

The British bombed a village in the Bajadur Valley in March 1932 and arrested Abdul Ghaffar Khan as well as more than 4,000 Red Shirts. The British bombardments in the border area continued up till 1936-1937 because, “India is a training field for active military training which can be found nowhere else in the Empire", a British court concluded in 1933.

In addition castrations were used as a tool against some Khudai Khidmatgar actvists.

Pushto literature

Pushto literature:
From Wikipedia
EARLY PUSHTO POETRY: ‘Pushto’ is not only the name of a language, but it comprises all the traditions, norms and values of the Pukhtoons. So thats the reason when any person do some Thing against then Pashtoon Culture ,other People says OH man Don’t do like Panjabi……….! As for as Pushto language is concerned, its history comprises thousands of years, but we can find the proper written Pushto poetry in 139 HIJRI. But it does not mean that before this there was no poetry. Poetry existed, but not in a proper written form. Poets usually did poetry orally and then they and their followers and fans memorized the work. For a generation or two their work used to be remained in minds of people and afterwards it would slowly raze of the people’s minds. Its main reasons, first, is that many of the Pukhtoons at that time were nomads, second, virtually all the Pukhtoon territory was under war for many years as even Alexander was to grapple here for three years. Due to these and many other reasons Pushto language was used only for the purpose of communication and no such literary work existed at that time. But oral Pushto poetry was there even before 139 HIJRI.

Beginning of written poetry: The formal writing of Pushto poetry started from the poem written by Hakim Amir Crore of Ghore, Afghanistan in 139 HIJRI. This poem was included and hence saved in one of the first books of Pushto, PATA KHAZANA. Amir Crore belonged to the Soori tribe and he was the son of Amir Polad. Soori tribe was the royal tribe of Ghore, Afghanistan. His poem was a pure Pushto poem and mature as well. That’s why we can say at that time Pushto poetry had passed through an evolutionary phase. Abu Muhammad Hashim Sarwani was another poet of that period. He was born at Hilmand in 223 HIJRI. He was the student of Ullema of Basat. It is also said that he was the student of popular Arabic writer, Ibn-e-Khalad. Hashim Sarwani also translated some Arabic poems in Pushto as well. Sarwani’s work also came under light through the book, Pata Khazana. He also wrote a book, “SaloVagma”, meaning ‘deserted breeze’ on the eloquence of Arabic verses. After Abu Muhammad Hashim Sarwani, Sheikh Razi is another poet whose work is saved in the book, Pata Khazana. He belonged to the Lodhi tribe of Pukhtoons. Similarly we have many poets in the first phase of Pushto poetry. For instance; Amir Nasir Lodhi, Beat Neeka, Ismail ster bani (son of Beat Neeka), Kharshaboon (cousin of Ismail ster bani), Sheikh Asad Soori and so on.

PUSHTO PROSE Intellectual, scholars and critics divide Pushto literature into two parts, i.e. poetry and prose. The matter of fact is that Pushto literature mostly consists of poetic expressions. Historical collection indicates that primeval Pushto literature was basically in poetic form. Poetic literature like ‘Amir Crore Nazam’ and ‘Sheikh Mati Munajat’ were all in poetic form. Prose found its place in Pushto literature very late. The reason is that poetry is a far common and effective genre for translating and expressing one’s feeling into it and conveying the same to others. Poetry easily touches the heart as compare to prose. Every one likes poetry and can be easily allured by its magnetism. However prose vis-à-vis poetry appeals to a very selective mind and heart. Now the question arises as to when prose writing came into vogue in Pushto literature. There are various profound claims and arguments regarding the origin of prose in Pushto literature like it having been originated as back as 223 HIJRI in the form of translation of Arabic verses in book titled ‘SaloVagma’ (Deserted Breeze). Since the book is not vogue and the idea is based on mere assumption so it cannot be taken as authentic. Similarly, another book ‘Tazkiratul Aulia’ written by Suleman Makoo in 612 HIJRI is said to be the first recognized book in Pushto. The book contains description s of major Aulia like Shiekh Malkair (R.A), Shiekh Ismial (R.A) and Sheikh Bakhtiar (R.A). The complete book is not in existence but a part of it is available. However, the oldest complete prose book in Pushto that is in existence till today is ‘Khairul Bayan’. After that we come across Akhund Darvez’s book title ‘Makhzanul Islam’ and some other books written in the 9th and 10th centuries by Babu Jan, Mlamast Zamand, Allah Yar, and Akhun Qasim. But all these books were in prose-verse as they contained difficult words and rhetorical expressions and poetic rhythms as well. After that comes the era of great Pushto poet, Khushaal Khan Khatak. He and his family have a remarkable contribution to Pushto prose writing. His sons, one of her daughters, Haleema Khatak and his (Khushaal Khan Khatak’s) grand children contributed to Pushto prose in a unique way. It was this period when prose was written in clear, short and easy to follow and comprehensible form. Then comes the period of some of the greatest prose writers Saleh Mohammad, Ghulam Mohyuddin Afghan, Zamarley, Maulvi Mir Ahmed Shah, and Abdul Rauf Qaney further contributed to the cause of Pushto prose in Afghanistan. To conclude, Pushto expressions far more exceeds prose collections in Pushto literature as prose needs special attention on the part of intellectuals and critics and as this very form of expression is less developed in prose vis-à-vis poetry.

Pushto Academy and Pushto literature: The Pushto Academy was established in 1955 in the capital city of NWFP. The founder of the academy was Maulana Abdul Qadir who since his student-life was very concerned about the future of Pushto language. He was a scholar in Arabic, Persian, English, Urdu and Pushto. Before the establishment of the academy, there was no such plate form for the writers and poets of Pushto language from where their work could reach to the masses. So the establishment of the Pushto academy helped gave a plate form to the writers and intellectuals on one hand and on the other hand the academy helped the Pushto language adopt a certain discipline. Through the academy quarterly magazine, ‘PUSHTO’ it published and hence appreciated both the Pushto poem as well as prose.

Positive impact of the Pushto Academy on Pushto literature: The Pushto academy has played an important role in the development of Pushto language as the total number of books published after the establishment of the Pushto Academy are many-fold more than the number of books published in the past 12oo years of literary history of Pushto language. To conclude, we can say Pushto literature, especially, Pushto poetry is on its peak as the Pushto poets do not afraid to write Ghazal, couplet or to do any kind of poetry, containing four, six or eight stanzas.

Pushto newspapers:

History of Pushto newspapers: Syed Rahat Zakheili was not only a novelist and fiction writer of Pushto language, but Pushto first journalist who through journalism served the Pushto literature. To develop the Pushto literature, he started a weekly newspaper. “AFGHAN” and appreciated the Pushto poets and writers through the weekly. Unlike other language newspapers, Pushto journalism started to develop the Pushto literature, so we can easily say that there was a strong link between Pushto literature and Pushto journalism and the journalism started as to help develop the Pushto literature. The editor of the weekly, AFGHAN was Syed Abdullah Shah Kaka Khiel. Before AFGHAN Pushto journalism existed, but not in a regular and disciplined way. For instance, Al Jihad, one page newspaper owned by Abdul Ghaffar Peshawari used to be published under the editorship of Ghazi Abdul Ghafoor of Swat. Haji Sab Torakzai established a Litho press (printing press) in Tribal areas in 1915 during the ‘Jihad’ against Britain. Through this press special kind of pamphlets against the Britain used to publish and distributed among the people of the tribal areas. Similarly, Al Mujahid was another Pushto newspaper which started publishing in 1923 under the editorship of Maulvi Muhammad Bashir. This newspaper also used to publish in the tribal areas and printed material against the Britain. ‘Zalmi Pukhtoon’ was another daily newspaper which used to publish in 1933 and ‘Hamdard Afghan’ would publish in 1929 under the editor ship of Khan Mir Hilali. During these days, Mohammad Nawaz Khatak started ‘WATAN’ that was a weekly newspaper.

Current Pushto newspapers (dailies): Two main dailies of Pushto language are ‘Wahdat’ and ‘Khabroona’. ‘Wahdat’ started its publication in 80s during the Afghan war for the purpose to create a link between Pukhtoons living on the Pak-Afghan border.

Editorial policy of Wahdat: The editorial policy of the newspaper is free in away that the paper is not under any kind of pressure from the government. Most of the material publish in the editorial is Islamic.

Content of Wahdat: The newspaper mostly contains Islamic material. One page is a literature page comprising, editions related to religion (Islam). No such place has been given to sports or show biz news. Wahdat has no such magazine etc as supplement.

Aid policy of Wahdat: The newspaper gives place to both government and non-government advertisement.

Readership of Wahdat:

Readership of the newspaper is in thousand. Wahdat is mostly read in Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Karachi and Khandahar (Afghanistan).

Khabroona is another daily newspaper of Pushto language that kick-started in 2001-o2. Khabroona is a relatively new newspaper, but it is also read in Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, suburbs of Peshawar and Kabul (Afghanistan). Editorial policy of the newspaper is quite free and liberal as well vis-à-vis Wahdat. The newspaper is not under any pressure form the government. Content of the newspaper is quite different from Wahdat as it gives enough space to sports and show biz news. As for aid policy is concerned, it publishes the government as well as the private sector aids. Head offices of both Wahdat and Khabroona are in Peshawar. Besides these two main newspapers, English daily, Frontier Post and other Urdu dailies like Aaj (Peshawar) and Maidan (Peshawar) once used to publish a daily supplement of Pushto news.

Pushto magazines Brief history of Pushto magazines: The regular publication of magazines in Pushto language started when the owner of the weekly Afghan, Rahat Zakheili, started the magazine, ‘Stari Mashi’ in 1931. During those days another magazine, ‘Pukhtoon’ started under the editorship of Abdul Khalique. And then some other people found the environment conducive for magazines reading and started the magazines like ‘Selab’ and ‘Angar’ on regular bases. During the world war-II, a magazine, ‘Nan Paroon’ used to be published from Delhi under the editorship of Maulana Abdul Qadir and barrister Nasrullah Khan. Khyber Magazine, a magazine used to publish from Government Islamia College, Peshawar in 50s played a great role to project the views and problems of students on one hand and to promote Pushto literature on the other hand. Some other magazines which have their own fundamental and historical place in Pushto journalism are Qand, Qandeel and Tamas. These magazines are no more publishing.

Current Pushto magazines: It will not be an exaggeration to say Pushto magazine as compared to dailies played a great role in developing the Pushto journalism. They have there own history, more disciplined, publish on regular bases and publish standard material as well. Some of the current Pushto magazines are ‘Jaras’, ‘Chagha’ and ‘Palwasha’. Jaras had been publishing for 10 years from Karachi under the editorship of Tahir Afridi, but now it is published under the editorship of Sher Rehman Buneri.

Radio Broadcasting:

Brief history of radio Pakistan Peshawar: Radio Pakistan, Peshawar started its programmes in a small single room in 1935. The first word broadcasted from radio Pakistan Peshawar was Kalma-e-Tauheed. Radio had a great importance as during these days there were no newspapers and TV and people in ruler as well as urban areas listened to radio not only for NEWS, but for entertainment purpose as well.

Radio and Pukhtoons: Radio has an important role in the lives of the people of NWFP in the past as well as now. Due to low literacy rate very few people are able to read newspaper, therefore, every one has a radio set in his hand whether he is old or young. Even the women in the rural areas of NWFP informed and entertain themselves by radio.

Worldwide Pushto radio station: Pushto is not only spoken in NWFP, but in addition it the language of 40 per cent people of Afghanistan. It is spoken in Karachi and in some parts of India as well. Millions of Pukhtoons live oversees. So quench the thirst of Pushto speaking people the following are the Pushto radio station world wide.

1. Vice of America 2. China Radio International 3. Radio Tehran 4. Radio Shangai 5. Radio Moscow

6. Vice of Germany 7. Radio Kabul 8. All India Radio 9. Radio Pakistan, Peshawar 10. Radio Pakistan, Quetta All these radio stations broadcast different kinds of programmes like ‘Khabarnama’ (news), dramas, musical programmes, programmes for women and other agricultural related programmes. Similarly most of the programmes comprise literary short-dramas, discussions and Mushairas.

New trends in broadcasting: Most areas of NWFP comprises rural areas where the access of television or newspapers are very difficult, therefore, the radio is the only source which can easily be reached to the far flung areas of NWFP. Regarding this, Radio Pakistan, Peshawar his its own impact on the people of NWFP, but in addition to it, new FM stations like FM Boraq and FM 101 are going very well, especially in the rural areas. The private radio stations usually discuss the problems of youth as a result of which the youth listened to it and owing to this these private radio stations get more aids as compared to the radio station(s) supervised by government.

Role of Radio in the development of NWFP: Name of Radio Pakistan, Peshawar will be written in golden words in the history of radio broadcasting as it played a great role in the development of NWFP. It, not only broadcasted the entertainment programmes, but also broadcasted the programmes related to the development and welfare of the province. For instance, it broadcasts programmes for women development, for health, education, for children, agriculture and so on. A part from Radio Pakistan, Peshawar, some other private radio stations have now taken this challenge and going well as they are quite popular in young people of the province. These stations are comparatively liberal and usually discuss the problems of the youth. The private radio stations usually discuss the problems of the youth. For instance, they discuss the problems of the youth, relating to their education. These private radio stations also discuss the other social issues, pertaining to the youth. For example, marriage problems, etc.

Illegal radio stations in Waziristan: During the current operation by Pakistani Army in the Fata, it has also been unveiled that there are some illegal radio stations, operating in the Pakistani side of the Pak-Afghan border. These radio stations are being operated by some clerics of the area, broadcasting their narrow version of religion, alleging each other sects and issue Fatwas (decree) against each others sects. The government has warned them of stern actions, but no such actions are seen by anyone and they (clerics) are enjoying a field day.

FM radio station in the department of mass communication, Peshawar University: To equip the students with practical training of radio broadcasting, the department with the permission of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has provided the facility of a radio station to the students of mass communication, University of Peshawar. The PEMRA has also issued licenses to the department of mass communication, University of Punjab and the department of mass communication, university of Karachi.


Brief history:

Pakistan Television, Peshawar centre:

Pilot TV Centre A pilot TV Centre was formally inaugurated on December 5, 1974 at 2-Fort Road, Peshawar. It was Black and White Production/Transmitting Centre consisting of Recording Studio and a Booth for News/Announcement. On February 18, 1982 Main Color TV Centre was inaugurated at 58 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azain with Two Production Studios, one Announcement/News Studio, an Out door Broadcast Van and 07 Nos. of portable outdoor recording units for News/Current Affairs and Programmes.

Pakistan Television, Quetta Centre: PTV Quetta was established during 1974 in the abandoned Masonic Lodge, Quetta Cantt and was formally inaugurated on 26th November, 1974(26th November, on the 10th opening anniversary of PTV in Pakistan as the first PTV Centre was established in Lahore on November 26, 1964 and later on too, most of the centers were established on 26 November).

Programmes of PTV, Peshawar: Pakistan television, Peshawar Center’s timings starts from 4pm to 6pm. The programmes comprise entertainment, News and current affairs. All the programmes telecast by Peshawar centre have a certain percentage of Hindku language programmes as well. Regarding entertainment, PTV, Peshawar, shows dramas, musical programmes, stage shows and programmes for children. The Pushto dramas of PTV are very popular in NWFP, especially in house wives. ‘Abaseen’, a stage show, used to telecast from PTV, Peshawar centre, was similar to Tariq Aziz show which still telecasts from PTV, Lahore centre. ‘Abaseen’ was also very popular among the people. Similarly PTV Peshawar centre shows a lot of other musical programmes which are very popular in youth. PTV, Peshawar centre telecast news in its two hours period. It telecasts Pushto, Urdu and Hindku news at 5pm, 4pm and 5:10 pm respectively. The policy for the news is the same as that of Pakistan television (PTV) i.e. pro-government. There is no such wide range of programmes that consist of topics pertaining to current affairs, but the situation is not deteriorating as the current affairs programmes have started to go on the right track. Talk shows like Jirga are trying to cover a wide array of issues from politics and social issues to religion.

PTV National: After PTV, PTV World and other channels started by Pakistan television, PTV National is another addition to the list of channels started by Pakistan television. It’s a national channel as it transmits the programmes in all languages spoken in Pakistan. So there is a specific time for Pushto programmes.

AVT Khyber: AVT Khyber started its transmission in 2004 from Asia set 3. Earlier the period of time for programmes was 12 hours, but on completion of one year it extended the time period to 24 hours. The actual time period of the programmes is 8 hours i.e. from 4 pm to 12 midnight. AVT Khyber is a complete Pushto channel. The channel shows every kind of programme. Like PTV, Peshawar centre, the programmes of AVT Khyber also consist of entertainment, news and current affairs. The policy for its news is the same as that of other private channels in the country.

Viewer ship of Pushto channels: Except some remote areas of NWFP, PTV, Peshawar has viewers from almost the whole NWFP. PTV National viewers are comparatively more as its transmissions are not confined to NWFP, but are watched in whole of the country and in other countries as well. AVT Khyber is watched in Pakistan and 66 other countries around the world. In Pakistan it is watched in NWFP, Balochistan and Karachi whereas abroad it is watched in Afghanistan, Middle East and in some European countries.

Pushto Films: History of Pushto film: Ist Pushto film was made in 1939. Its name was ‘Laila Majnoon’. The film was released in 1942 and the people not only watched it in Peshawar, but in Quetta and Kolcata (Calcutta, India) as well. The director of the film was Mir Hamza Shinwari, while the composer of the film was Abdul Kareem. The heroine of Laila Majnoon was Habib Jan and the hero was Rafiqe Ghaznawi. Pushto second film was made after quite a long time i.e. in 1960. Its story was a translation of an Urdu film, ‘Nai Kiran’ (new ray). The dialogues of the film were written by Mir Hamza Shinwari. It was displayed at Novelty cinema, Peshawar. Pushto’s 3rd film, ‘Tiga’ was made by Mir Hamza Shinwari in 1963. The hero of the film was Umer Daraz, while Ludeel was the cameraman of the film. Then in 1968 a film, ‘Yakka Yousaf Khan’ was released. The heroine of the film was Ghazali while the hero was Rab Nawaz. This film was inaugurated by Urdu film star, Rangila.

Pushto hits: 1. ‘Yousaf Khan Sher Bano’ was made in 1969 and released in 1970. It was written by Ali Hyder Joshi and directed by Aziz Shamim. 2. ‘Sandar Gharai’ (Singer) was released in 1970. Badar Munir was the hero and Yasmin Khan was the heroine of the movie, whereas Niamat Sarahadi was the villain. 3. ‘Kala Khazan Kala Bahar’ (meaning some times autumn some times spring) was directed by Jamil Ahmad and produced by Syed Amir Sarhadi in 1970. The hero of the film was Aman.

4. ‘Aalaqa Ghair’ (means land of no law) was made (produced) by Habibullah in 1971. Dialogues and poetry was made by Amir Hamza Shinwari. Similarly ‘Darrae Khyber’, ‘Adam Khan Durkhanai’ (produced by Shakil Ayub and directed by Aziz Tabassum), ‘Musa Khan Gul Makai’ (hero was Asif khan and heroine was Yasmin Khan), ‘Bahadur Khan’ (hero was Humayun Qureshi), ‘Ajab Khan Afridi’, ‘Zama Badan’, ‘Maghrur’, ‘Oarbal’, ‘Topak Zama Qanoon’ (produced by Aziz Tabassum), ‘Dahqan’(produced by Badar Munir), ‘Baghi’, ‘Arman’, ‘Miranae Roar’ (step brother), ‘Tarbooz’, ‘Iqrar’, ‘Angar’, ‘Zakhmoona, ‘Navae au Nakriza’(Bridal and Henna), ‘Ujrati Qatil’, ‘Da Aoochea Khan’, ‘Prdang’, ‘Toofani Shappa’, ‘Bangri au Hathqardae’, ‘Ab-e-Hyat’, ‘Khulea Nave’, ‘Kufar au Islam’, ‘Da Karye Gorilla’ and many more are the Pushto hits form 1970-71 to 1985.

Role of film in the development of NWFP: From 1960 to 80s Pushto film enjoyed its great times. Its standard was on no grounds less than that of Urdu films till mid 70s and even 80s. If there were waheed Murad, Nadim and Mohammad Ali in Lollywood (Urdu films), so Badar Munir, Asif Khan and many others were the chocolate heroes of

Pushto film industry. During these days cinema was the most effective
way to communicate with the people as the standard of the movies were very good. Till mid 80s films were made on almost every subject and the people really loved to watch Pushto movies in cinema. So Pushto films played a great role in development of NWFP as though cinema used to situate only in the urban areas of NWFP, but people from far flung areas came to cities like Peshawar, Mardan, and Mingora etc to watch films. Now though the standard of the Pushto film has fallen very much, but the youths, especially the rural people still love to go to cinema.

Pushto films in the 90s: Till 1990 there were some great names in the Pushto film industry. For instance, Mir Hamza Shinwari who was a producer, director and a great name in the Pushto poetry. Murad Shinwari is the one whose name comes in the list of the producers and directors who really served the Pushto industry in its real sense. Amir Ghulam Sadiq is the only name in the Pushto film industry, who did poetry for Pushto films for almost more than 30 years. But after 1990 owing to the absence of institutionalization in the Pushto film industry, there were no such dedicated people, which in intern created environment conducive to vulgarity and obscenity and the standard of the Pushto films fell.

Pushto film and the MMA government: Pushto films seem to have lost their fans due to restrictions by the MMA government on their publicity through banners and posters of the film stars. The laborers who come to the provincial capital, Peshawar for manual jobs used to watch Pushto films in cinemas, but due to the bane the audience of the Pushto film has reduced tremendously because it usually comprises the laborer class who cannot even read the names of film stars. Pushto films which had a limited circuit of three cities--- Peshawar Karachi, and Quetta --- was already passing through a difficult phase and anti-obscenity drive of the MMA proved to be the last nail in the coffin.

Future of Pushto film: Future of the Pushto film industry seems to be bright as there are still some people who want to do something for the betterment of the industry. For instance, Ajab Gul, who is a renowned actor and director in both the Urdu and the Pushto film industry. In 1999 he made a film, ‘Srre Sttergae’(red eyes) and through this film he proved that still there is a great potential in Pushto films as the story for the first time after many years was quite different and the cast, especially the heroine(s) were new and seemed that after a great hard work the film was completed. A few months back, another Pushto film, ‘Qalam au Kalashnikov’, written by Faiz Mohammad released. The standard was quite good and people liked the movie.

References: A: Interviews: 1. Sher Rehman Buneri, the editor of the monthly ‘Jaras’ 2. Sabir Shah Sabir, writing a book on the Pushto films.

B: Books:

1. Khushhal Khan Khatak, by Pareshan Khatak 2. Pashtoon Pushto by Abdul Ali Ghor Ghashti

C: Daily Dawn.

D: Official website of PTV.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pashtun Peace Jirga

Pashtun Peace Jirga vows to bring stability to Fata
By Behroz Khan
PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party on Monday emerged victorious in its history-making effort to assemble top leadership of the Pashtuns in Peshawar to talk peace and work together for bringing unity and stability to Pakistani tribal areas and neighbouring Afghanistan.
This was the first event of its kind in the history of Pakistan that the ANP invited the Pashtun leadership to the Pashtun Peace Jirga (PPJ) held at Bacha Khan Markaz and almost all the nationalist, religious and progressive parties honoured the invitation.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad was absent due to his visit abroad, but the party provincial chief and ex-senior minister of the MMA government in the NWFP Sirajul Haq was present to represent his party.
Siraj delivered an emotional speech saying that Army generals were ruling the country against the will of the masses and in sheer violation of the constitution. Chief of his own faction of PPP and Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao and Federal Minister for Political Affairs and PML’s provincial president Amir Muqam were conspicuous by their absence. However, they had sent party representatives to the Jirga.
JUI-F’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman stole the show in the first session of the daylong deliberations through his witty and bold remarks against the army rulers, the role of the nationalist and democratic forces and growing trend of militancy.
The Maulana offered his services to mediate between the Taliban and the Afghan government with the condition that all foreign troops should leave Afghanistan and the US should no longer label Taliban as terrorists, which he thought would enable him intervene and use his good offices.
The Maulana also called upon the Taliban to become part of the democratic dispensation in their country that would pave the way for negotiations and restoration of peace in war-shattered Afghanistan and bring stability to the tribal belt of Pakistan.

It was unexpected on the part of Maulana Fazlur Rehman to declare that Durand Line was a controversial border between the two countries and that the deployment of 80,000 troops along the Pak-Afghan border was violation of the Gandamak Agreement reached between then British India and the Afghan Government more than 100 years ago. “No country can deploy such a huge army on disputed borders,” the Maulana said adding that Hamid Karzai’s government was helpless and without powers as the real power lies in the hands of forces behind him, a reference to the US.
He offered to work for the unity of Pashtun nation despite having ideological differences with the nationalist forces. In a light vein, the Maulana said it was a positive sign that the Pashtun nationalists have realized to give due status to the mosque.

ANP President Senator Afandyar Wali had set the tone of the peace Jirga by announcing to make the Hujra, a symbol of Pashtun social and communal life, and the mosque to work together for pulling Pashtuns out of the present-day quagmire.
Pashtun nationalist, Mehmud Khan Achakzai, dominated the second session of PPJ and replied to some of the points raised by Maulana Fazlur Rehman when he said that Hujra and Mosque could work together provided the Maulana prevailed upon the Taliban to get rid of the Pakistani intelligence agencies supporting them in their fight in Afghanistan. He said that the Pashtuns were neither terrorists nor discriminate against others on the basis of race, language and religion. He called upon the Maulana and all other religious leaders to give a Fatwa to determine whether or not the Pashtuns have the right on their own resources within Pakistan.

“We demand that interference in Afghanistan be halted and all the troops and the so-called foreign guests must leave the tribal areas on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line,” Achakzai said.

The ANP president in his brief speech said that General Pervez Musharraf is out to convince the world that Pashtuns were terrorists, but the truth is that al-Qaeda and the Taliban were not the product of Pashtuns but have been elevated to the position by others. He congratulated the participants of the Jirga and hoped that all the forces part of the Pashtun nation would join hands to rescue the people, who are victims of a senseless war imposed on them.

“The Pashtun Jirga has resolved today to work for peace. This is the first step and the next Jirga will comprise Pashtuns from Afghanistan and all over the world to tell the international community that negotiations were the best solution to any conflict,” the ANP chief said.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan MNA, Pakistan Mazdoor Kisan Party head Afzal Khamosh, PPPP’s provincial president Rahim Dad Khan, MRD’s secretary general Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Nawab Ayaz Jogezai, senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai and others.

The following resolutions were passed by the Jirga.

The PPJ calls for unity among all the Pakhtuns to stop the ongoing bloodshed. This call is prompted by the fact that the international security system and regional governments have failed to bring peace in the Pakhtun populated areas. Now it is our national duty to rise above political and ideological positions, give a united response for the sake of our national survival and press all the governments to work for peace in our region.

The PPJ condemns the ongoing interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan for the sake of destruction and calls upon all Afghans to resolve their political differences through dialogue. The PPJ is of the opinion that peace is not only in the interest of Afghans but is also the perquisite for stability in the entire region. As the events of the previous few years have proved, peace in Afghanistan and in the region is also essential for the whole world.

The PPJ is deeply concerned over the tribal areas in Pakistan being turned into a turf of conflict by alien elements and demands from them to quit the tribal areas.

The PPJ assures Pakhtuns of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) that they are not alone in heir difficult times as the entire body of Pakhtuns sands in solidarity with them. The participants of the Jirga demands that the people of Fata should not be deprived of the fundamental human rights, and political and administrative reforms should be undertaken by consent and will of the people in Fata.

The participants of the historical Jirga pointed to the fact that the use of military force is not a solution to any problem. On the contrary, the use of military force, to resolve conflicts, further complicates the existing problems.

We call upon all the active players in the Pakhtun populated areas to respect the life, property and human dignity of our people. We also demand that in incidents, where indiscriminate use of military force has been made, should be investigated and those responsible should be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The deliberations in the Jirga highlighted that the leaders of all sections of the Pakhtun society should get united for the sake of bringing peace and national unity among Pakhtuns and prevent the enemies of our people to take advantage of our internal differences for the sake of their own interests.

Peace jirga for end to Pakhtun genocide Participants call for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan; seek political role for Taliban Abdul Hakeem Mohmand PESHAWAR: Nationalist leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, asserting Pakhtuns’ unwavering belief in resolving issues by peaceful means, Monday denounced the recent massacre of civilians in Bajaur and Malakand Agencies. Addressing the “Pakhtun Peace Jirga,” organised by the Awami National Party (ANP) at Bacha Khan Markaz here on Monday, Asfandyar made clear they respected human life, property and dignity. The Pakhtuns expected the world at large to reciprocate their gesture and make efforts for an immediate stop to their genocide, the ANP president added. The government must stop the bloodshed of innocent Pakhtuns or be prepared to face the grave consequences of its rash actions, he warned, recalling that his illustrious father Bacha Khan never opted for war even in the worst of situations imaginable. “The Khudai Khidmatgar leader always preached non-violence and peace. We being his grandsons will follow are committed to following in his footsteps,” he observed.

Asfandyar, who held Gen. Musharraf accountable for the killing of tribesmen, roundly condemned military operations in Bajaur, Waziristan and Balochistan as a counterproductive step. He also questioned Musharraf’s statements branding Pakhtuns as extremists supporting Taliban militants. “Let me ask who created Taliban? The answer is simple and straight: Gen. Musharraf himself.” Excoriating the president’s remarks that all Pakhtuns were Taliban, he insisted they were a peace-loving nation while the former student militia that ruled Afghanistan until 2001 was the creation of the Pakistan Army.

With regard to the traditional jirga system, Asfandyar said other nations resolve their problems in a variety of ways while Pakhtuns used their own forum through the ages. “The Pakhtun Peace Jirga is not a one-off event, as we plan to invite all Pakhtun leaders from across the world to similar forums in future. I hope they will participate in future grand jirgas.” Asfandyar argued the participation of all political parties in the jirga amply proved the entire nation desired peace and that Pakhtuns were fighting a war for outsiders. “First, the region was used by America against the Russians; and now it is again being used by the US against Taliban and al-Qaeda.”

The jirga unanimously passed a resolution that urged unity among Pakhtuns to stop the ongoing bloodshed and to rise above political and ideological positions for the survival of their nation. “Since the international security system and regional governments have failed to bring peace to Pakhtun-populated areas, therefore, it is the national duty of the Pakhtun leadership to stand united and press the government to work for peace in our region.” The joint resolution condemned the ongoing interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan for the sake of destruction and calls upon all Afghans to resolve their political differences through dialogue. “ PAJ is of the opinion that peace is not in the interest of Afghans but is also the prerequisite for stability in the entire region.” Events over the past few years had proved that peace in Afghanistan and in the region was essential for stability in the world, said the resolution, which added the Pakhtun Jirga was deeply concerned over the tribal areas being turned into a turf by aliens. It asked them to quit the tribal areas.

Opposition leader in National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in his speech, said all parties must set aside their political differences and unite on one platform to resolve the issues facing Pakhtuns. He stressed unity among Pakhtuns to foil the designs of their enemy and called for the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, where the real political forces, including Taliban, should be given a role in bringing peace to the war torn country.

Central president of Pashtunskhwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakzai said, historically, Pakhtun had never been involved in terrorism. He claimed the Europeans gave rise to the scourge when Alexander The Great invaded the region, followed by Mughals, Russians, Arabs and Americans. Coming hard on the Pakistani establishment, the nationalist leader said Islamabad had always destroyed the institutions of Afghanistan, which was the cause of uncertainty and unrest in the region. Peace was not only in the interest of the Afghans but was also a perquisite for stability in the entire region, he maintained. “We don’t believe in colour, caste, religion, language or race; we respect every nation and want others to respect Pakhtuns in the same spirit. We don’t have any enemy,” he said, wondering why the NWFP was not given the name of Pakhtunkhwa. “When we seek our due provincial rights, the government calls us terrorists and extremists; we are blamed for trying to break Pakistan into parts,” he added. The fact that Bacha Khan spent decades in jail for demanding the rights of his people but remained non-violent spoke volumes for Pakhtuns’ belief in peace. “Whatever rights have been granted to the Panjabis should be given to Pakhtuns as well,” he stressed.

On the occasion, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra viewed army operations as a big question mark over Pakistan’s integrity and sovereignty. Thus it was the responsibility of the political forces to launch a joint struggle against the army’s role in politics, he continued. The PML-N leader said Bacha Khan’s philosophy was not meant for Pakhtuns alone, but his message was for all Muslims, because he had fought the freedom war for all the Muslims. He also suggested All Parties Conference meeting in London in which all leaders should participate and discuss the political situation of the country.

Ex-Senior Minster Sirajul Haq, Ex-Chief Justice of Supreme Court Ajmal Khan, Brig. (Retd) Mahmood Shah, artist Jamal Shah and Sardar Ali Takkar also urged Pakhtuns to unite if they wanted to resolve their problems. The Jirga passed a resolution that urged unity among Pakhtuns to stop the ongoing bloodshed and to rise above political and ideological positions for the survival of Pakhtun nation. The resolution read out at “Pakhtun Aman Jirga (PAJ)” stated since the international security system and regional governments have failed to bring peace in Pakhtun-populated areas, therefore, it was a national duty of the Pakhtun leadership to stand united and press the government to work for peace in the region.

The joint resolution condemned the ongoing interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan for the sake of destruction and called upon all Afghans to resolve their political differences through dialogue. “PAJ is of the opinion that peace is not in the interest of Afghans alone, but was a prerequisite for stability in the entire region.” The resolution stated the events of the past few years proved peace in Afghanistan and in the region was also essential for the whole world. It said the Pakhtun Aman Jirga is deeply concerned about the tribal areas in Pakistan being turned into a turned into a turf of conflict by alien elements and demand from them to quit the tribal areas. Expressing solidarity with Pakhtuns of FATA, the resolution said tribal people are not alone in their difficult time as the entire body of Pakhtuns stands in solidarity with them.

“The participants of the Jirga demands that the people of FATA should not be deprived of the fundamental rights, political and administrative reforms should be undertaken by consent and will of the tribesmen,” the joint resolution continued. It stated the use of military force is not a solution to any problem; on the contrary, the use of military force to resolve conflicts further complicates the existing problems.

The resolution further stated that deliberations in the Jirga highlighted that the leaders of all sections of Pakhtun society should get united for the sake of peace and national unity and preventing the enemies of Pakhtun from taking advantage of our internal differences. “The PAJ has a historic character because all representatives segments of the Pakhtun society are taking part in its deliberations. During the deliberations, leader of different political parties, Islamic scholars, religious and tribal elders and members of the intelligentsia expressed their views on making peace possible in the Pakhtunkhwa.”

Famous artists to participate in ANP peace jirga today


Famous artists to participate in ANP peace jirga today

Aqeel Yousafzai PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) political leadership has invited different politician, tribal elders, federal ministers and other prominent personalities, including versatile Pushto artists to participate in peace jirga, which is to be held today (Monday). Three internationally famous and outstanding artists, who will represent their artistry community Jamal Shah, Firdaus Jamal and well known Pashtu singer Sardar Ali Takkar will also participate in peace jirga. Talking to The Frontier Post, Jamal shah said as a member of Pakhtun community, he would render his services to bring peace, political stability, and progress among the Pakhtun nation. He further added to love his land and nation was natural of each and every mankind and keeping in mind, this very fact, he promised to participate in the jirga. Jamal stated Pakhtun artists were very sad over the political instability in pakhtun dominated areas. On this occasion, Firdaus Jamal, while talking to this scribe, said he had left all his activities and tough busy schedule in Lahore to ensure his participation in the jirga. He said Bacha Khan and Wali Khan were his favourite leaders and said he to promote peace, tolerance, harmony and tranquility in Pakhtun region, Pakhtun artists should play their due role. Firdaus explained artists were peace lover and discourage extremism, terrorism and violence. The artist mentioned this peace jirga, which to be held on Monday (today), would provide a platform for Pakhtun community to solve their substantive disputes and problems through debate and dialogues. No doubt, Sardar Ali Takkar has contributed a lot for Pakhtuns nation, would also participate in the jirga. Talking to the reporter, he said that such platform had ever been provided to Pakhtuns, which it now would be provided by holding this peace jirga.

- The Frontier Post (November 20)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Secular Pashtuns Respond

Pakhtun Peace Jirga

Asfandyar Wali Khan
The Statesman, November 20, 2006

Awami National Party (ANP) is the continuation of the Pakhtun
freedom movement, founded by Baacha Khan in the early 20th century.
Baacha Khan and his Khudai Khidmatgars (Servants of God) allied
themselves with the All India National Congress in 1930 and were
part of the mainstream South Asian struggle for freedom, peace and
democracy. Due to their total dedication to the cause of peace, non-
violence and social reforms Khudai Khidmatgars were recognised as
apostles of peace and social reforms in the entire South Asian
region and beyond.

Taking ahead the legacy of peace and non-violence, ANP has a
consistent position of supporting peaceful methods of conflict
resolution. It is, therefore, only natural that ANP has taken the
present initiative of convening the Pakhtun Peace Jirga. The Party
wants to achieve the purpose of establishing peace through dialogue
and helping democratic transformation on social and political level.

The failure of the structures of the international community; and
regional and national governments in putting an end to war,
bloodshed and large-scale destruction for the last three decades has
forced Pakhtuns to invoke the strength of their most important
traditional social institution — the Jirga — in the hope that it
will bring peace and stability back to their lands. Over the
centuries, the Jirga has also successfully confirmed the Islamic
teaching of "mushawarat" (or "consultation"), ["[t]hose…who
(conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation"; Holy Quran, 42:38]
that gives it additional strength. Although the Jirga is an ancient
social institution, it would be wrong to perceive the present
Pakhtun Peace Jirga (PPJ) as an effort at ethnic revivalism or
withdrawal from modern world. On the contrary, the PPJ is cognizant
of the realities of the contemporary world and, accordingly, has
purposely taken steps to prevent being confined, as in the past, to
traditional leaders of the tribes and clans. Political parties
across spectrum, social organisations and members of the
intelligentsia will participate alongside the tribal leaders. The
purpose is to evolve a societal consensus for bringing pressure to
bear on regional governments to grow beyond their present rigid
positions and become proactive in bringing about peace.

When violence erupted in Afghanistan in the aftermath of intensive
ideological and political polarisation of the Cold War in the late
1970s, our now deceased national leader, Baacha Khan warned that the
erstwhile Soviet Union and US-led Western bloc were fighting their
war in Afghanistan. Afghans and Afghanistan had to pay a very heavy
price in terms of large-scale death and destruction. After the
withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan in the spring of
1989, most of the Western countries disengaged from Afghanistan
leaving behind a vacuum that attracted regional hegemonism and
violent groups of different shades from all over the world into the
conundrum of Afghanistan. The suffering of the Afghan people was
prolonged as proxy war in Afghanistan dragged on — this time with
those wishing to establish "a true Islamic state" at the expense of
Afghan sovereignty — and the country degenerated into a virtual
capital of international terror and violence. This later development
led to the re-internationalisation of the Afghan conflict and new
international interest and engagement with Afghanistan was initiated
after the events of 9/11. It should be recognised that the Pakhtun
belt in Pakistan was deeply involved in the conflict, both new and
old, from the very beginning.

The Pakhtun areas in Pakistan were used both as a launching pad for
war against the Soviets and, subsequently, as a base-camp for the
later adventures across the line, which led to militarisation, socio-
political deformation, and lack of reform and perpetuation of social
isolation of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

1) Pakhtun, Pashtuns and (Afghans by virtue of language and
ethnicity) are synonyms. However, the name, Afghan is being used for
every citizen of Afghanistan generally.

2) Hujra is a social institution among Pakhtuns, traditionally used
as a community guest-house; and a place of entertainment and
interaction for men in each village or section(s) of a village in
Pakhtun society. It is the place where Jirgas may be convened for
deliberations and consultations on issues relating to the
community's worldly affairs.

3) Traditionally, among Pakhtuns, the role of the mosque has
remained confined to be a place of Allah's worship and Islamic

The roots of the current violence on both sides of the Durand Line
lie in the dual policy of Pakistan's ruling establishment towards
Afghanistan and the failure of US. and NATO in addressing the root
causes and sources of insurgency. While declaring to take a U-turn
on Afghanistan after 9/11, influential elements in Pakistani
establishment refused to give up the policy of using extremist
militants to achieve "strategic depth" in Afghanistan. As a direct
result of the failure to abandon these policies, FATA and northern
Balochistan are allowed to be used as base-camp for the elements
fomenting insurgency in Afghanistan across the line. The effort to
hide behind the tribal xenophobia of Pashtun tribes, as part of the
Pakistani strategy to de-stabilise Afghanistan, has worsened and
complicated the situation.

Experience has proved beyond any doubt that using religious
militancy as a tool for hegemonic policy is a double-edge sword.
Those who stoke the fire of religious militancy across the borders
of a neighbouring country, because of its very nature, help in its
cancerous growth back home. "Collateral damage" in military
operations on both sides of the line creates "collateral enemies"
thus leading to widening of the conflict.

The spiral of violence that began in the wake of military operations
in Waziristan resulted in large-scale displacements of the local
population; destruction of the area's subsistence economy; and
scores of murders and target killings of the non-violent tribal
elders. While the wounds of Waziristan had yet to heal, the tragic
events in Bajaur and Dargai prompted ANP to invite Pakhtun
leadership and opinion-makers across all spectrum of the civil
society to stand up against the growing momentum of violence in
Pakhtun areas east of the Durand Line.

The ANP is of the opinion that the PPJ is not to be expected to
extinguish the fires of a conflict spanning a quarter-century in one
broad stroke. It does, however, promise to be the beginning of a new
discourse of peaceful co-existence in which Pakhtuns — the major
stakeholders in the conflict — will not remain mere pawns or silent
spectators among competing regional and global interests that are
set on a violent course to achieve their respective national goals.
To enable Pakhtuns to determine their destiny in the midst of a very
complicated situation, and accordingly utilise their energies and
national potential for peace, democracy and development in the
entire region, it is imperative for all Pakhtun leadership to start
an internal dialogue. For this purpose, the Jirga could be a very
effective tool due to its social legitimacy and deep psychological

Unfortunately, violence is not the only problem in our region. Under-
development, immense poverty, mass proliferation of heavy weapons
and drugs have made us even more vulnerable to manipulation.
Fortunately, our land and people have enormous potential to become
major partner in the development of both the regional and global
economy. Pakhtuns straddle a land mass that is the confluence of
civilisations. No other community, from the foothills of Urals to
the banks of Indus, is in a position to play the role of a bridge
and conduit to the regional development of Southwest Asia than
Pakhtuns. The huge reservoirs of fossil fuel in the Caspian region
and the deepening processes of regional and global trade have
provided Pakhtuns with historic opportunities for development;
however, to enable development for our people, peace is the first

As a consequence of the 25-year old Afghan conflict, Pakhtun society
has lost its social balance. Traditionally, Pakhtun society was
built on two pillars — the hujra and the mosque. The former
fulfilled the temporal and the latter the religious needs of Pakhtun
society. However, the ideological polarisation during the Afghan
conflict deformed this centuries-old synthesis of Islamic tradition
and values of Pakhtunwali and the enemies of our people tried to
demolish Afghan/Pakhtun national identity to achieve the goals of
hegemonism. As a consequence, Pakhtun society was pushed to
polarisation on extreme ideological lines.
This historical process also resulted in the empowerment,
coordination and networking of the extremist militant groups in
Afghanistan and Pakistan in general; and in Pakhtun society in
particular. In other words, a highly organised and empowered
constituency of extremists and militants is active in the entire
region whereas the moderate religious, progressive, democratic and
peaceful groups are disorganised and marginalised. In order to
diffuse this polarisation in Pakhtun society and effectively turn
the tide of violence in the entire region, the PPJ is a step towards
proactively pursuing the aspiration of groups and people who stand
for peace, development and democracy in Pakhtun society, in the
region and in the entire world.

The primary motive behind convening the PPJ is to articulate and
voice the national aspirations of Pakhtuns and build a constituency
of peace within and around Pakhtuns. To achieve these objectives,
the PPJ will deliberate on how to engage Pakhtuns, as well as
competing regional and global actors, on a sustained course of
dialogue that will address accommodation of the national interests
of Pakhtuns in reconciliation with the legitimate interests of major
players in the region without resorting to violence.

The ANP appreciates the initiative of Afghan and Pakistani heads of
state for convening representative Jirgas of Pakhtuns in Pakistan
and Afghanistan at the government level and the PPJ is neither a pre-
emption nor duplication of this exercise. To the contrary, since our
experience and understanding shows that the Pakistani establishment
is not enthusiastic about the proposed Jirgas, the PPJ is,
therefore, aimed at strengthening the peace process at the civil
society level with the interests of the common people as the primary
focus — rather than notions of security that are deeply rooted in
the opinions of certain figures and government institutions.

The ANP is hopeful that the PPJ will draw the interest and attention
of major Pakhtun leadership, because there is a growing
dissatisfaction among the people with the constant perpetuation of
proxy wars and violence. Our people desperately need freedom from
violence and a hope for peace and development. We have had countless
widows and orphans already. It is time for the Pakhtun people to
return to their own way of life in which rule is accomplished
through consensus at Jirgas, and concern for the community is the
priority rather than identification with the global agendas of
others. Our children have the right to peace, education and a better
tomorrow in which their national identity can remain alive and
vibrant. The ANP, through the PPJ, calls upon all Pakhtun leaders,
regional and state governments to join with our efforts in working
for peace. Otherwise, history stands witness that the flames of war
in the Pakhtun areas will have dangerous consequences for peace and
security in the region and in the world.

The writer is President Awami National Party (ANP) and Convener of
the PPJ

The prospect and perception of peace in Pashtun culture

The prospect and perception of peace in Pashtun culture
By Prof Dr.Rajwali Shah Khattak and Sher Alam Shinwari

The world has never been in the dire need of peace at any stage of
history as it is today. One reason is quite clear. That is that
almost every country of the world has sufficient cache of deadly
weapons due to the advanced nuclear and war technology. It is with a
flash that the world could be wiped out and made extinct. It is,
therefore, intensely needed that the conflicts between countries and
various cultures should be resolved through dialogue. In the new
emerging perspective of the world, the psyche of the peoples and
nations both on individual and collective levels herald destruction
of the world peace. But fortunately, well in accordance with the
concept of globalization, some individuals and organizations have
intended to promote the cause of peace culture in the global village
and reduce the possibility of war to the least extent and also pave
way for adopting dialogue as means to resolve conflicts.
Peace always guarantees advancement, prosperity and betterment of
the people. It can be manifested in all shapes of beauty, high sky
towers, buildings and magnificent seats of learning. On the
contrary, wherever we see devastating signs of destruction, they
bespeak volumes of evils of war and barbarism. This bizarre
situation has forced people belonging to all the cultures of the
world to bring peace to their respective societies by enacting their
cultural values and golden traditions. The peace efforts move on
from local frame to international level involving the whole of
humanity in order to bring back peace and unity in diversity. We
have lots of religions, social norms and ethics which advocate
peace, mutual respect, unity and humanism. , the culture of Pashtuns
has teachings of peace if properly understood.
Pashtuns enjoy this ancient and very strong culture of Pashtunwali.
The habits, rituals, customs, traditions and the rules and
regulations which govern the typical Pashtun life pattern, is called
Pashtunwali. This code of conduct of Pashtuns reflects the
explication of the inner and outer life of Pashtuns and their values
down the centuries. This very code of conduct also shapes the
individual and collective psyche of Pashtuns. The word `' is
synonymous with Pashtun culture. It has different dimensions. Before
dwelling upon this terminology let us have a look at the location of
Pashtuns. The climate and geographical conditions have also played a
significant role in shaping the Pashtun culture. They are lying upon
60° to 73° longitude and 26° to 36° latitude of the earth. The
region is divided into different geographical configurations and
areas. Pashtuns live on both sides of the Durand Line. Different
tribes live in the North West of Pakistan and Eastern region of
Afghanistan. In addition, many scattered tribes live in the tribal
pockets of the North Eastern Pakistan as well. In Far flung North
West of Pakistan and in some of its South Western regions we find
some Pashtun tribes. Also in Indian States of Rampur and Rohailkand,
we can find a sizeable Pashtun population.
Geographically, Pashtuns are surrounded by Karakuram range in the
North East and in the North West are Hindukush ranges. In their
extreme, West and South are mostly desolate deserts. In the East we
see lofty peaks of Himalaya. The historic Oxus River flows in the
North. Hilmand Harriod Rivers flow in the South. This is the land
where 60 million Pashtuns or Afghans live by their glorious
traditions and customs. Their land is multicoloured. The severe heat
of valleys and plains, the Alpine cold of the hills, mountains and
the extreme weathers of the desolate deserts have all contributed to
the shaping of Pashtun's psyche. All the social norms, values,
traditions and practices fall under one comprehensive system earlier
referred to as Pashtunwali. This term is derived from the
word "Pashtun". Pey (p) stands for pat `fellowship or comradeship',
Sheen (Sh) for Shegarrah `doing good to others', Tey (T) for Toora `
literally means sword ( bravery) , Wawo (W) for ` wafa' ( fidelity),
and Noon ( N) for Nung ` honour. Its essence lies in chivalry,
courage, loyalty and honour.
These values have given a special character to the Pashtun race.
Pashtunwali is an unwritten code controlling, guiding and balancing,
to a large extent, the form, character and discipline of the Pashtun
way of life. It is the name of the traditional customary law, which
has been adopted by Pashtuns from times immemorial. It is framed on
the principle of equity and has deeply ingrained in the social
fabric of a Pashtun's life and is highly esteemed and held
sacrosanct by all persons irrespective of their financial or social
status. The more one adheres to its manifesto, the more high esteem
he enjoys in his brotherhood and community. It embodies in itself,
all the customs, and traditions, heritage, customary Law, usage and
all social relations. It is a concept conveying the meanings of
tribal socio-economic, political and cultural system in totality---
courage, hospitality, kinship, loyalty, love for friends, chastity,
morality, respecting other people's rights, are different components
of Pashtunwali. This code requires of every Pashtun to defend his
motherland, to grant asylum to destitute irrespective of their creed
or caste to offer protection, even to his deadly enemy. Pashto to a
Pashtun is not only his language, but is also the embodiments of all
human virtues. Some basic components are briefly described here for
the knowledge and interests of the readers.
Jirga, Mailmastia (Hospitality, Nanawati (Seeking forgiveness in
feud), Panah (Asylum), Ghairat (Modesty), Nung (Honour), Teega
(truce) and Rogha (Reconciliation) are leading towards strengthening
peace in the society. All his character traits are because of being
brought up in the culture of Pashtunwali. It is the culture which
shapes the character of people. This culture has different aspects
and various institutions which form the true spirit of the people.
It is beyond any doubt that Pashtuns are diehard lovers of their
Pashtunwali and hold it high in esteem and deem it a precious asset
of their national pride. Pashtuns consider their code of conduct one
of the best and ideal systems of the world based on moral values. It
is because of the fact that there is a greater possibility of
satisfying human aspirations and expectations whether spiritual or
material. But one has to understand the philosophy of pure
Pashtunwali. Pashtun is basically a tribal society. Their simple way
of living has its own peculiar colour and taste. Popular Indian
Dr Rafiq Zakaria in his celebrated book `A study of Nehru' has
quoted the remarks of Jawaharlal Nehru about the tribal way of
living in India which are fit to Pashtuns as well. "Indeed, it is
quite absurd to call them backward. An average crowd of some of
these tribes would probably be more advanced in many ways than an
average crowd else where in India. The tribal people are virile;
they are highly disciplined; they are often, a great deal more
democratic than most others in India. Above all they are a people
who sing and dance and try to enjoy life, not people who sit in
stock exchanges, shout at each other and think themselves civilized.
People should develop along the lines of their own genius and we
should avoid imposing anything on them, but should rather try to
encourage in every way of their won traditional arts and culture. We
should not judge results by statistics or the amount of money but
the quality of human character evolved."
The history shows that whenever the Pashtuns had leaders of vision
and farsightedness and capable of understanding the true
Pashtunwali, the real and basic features of their culture have
become visible. Whenever the aliens have accessed this culture
following the set principles, Pashtuns have welcomed them and the
union has always resulted in peace and prosperity. Pashtuns have
contributed towards establishing peace and stability in the world
but this history has not been written yet. Perhaps this cultural
history of Pashtuns till now lay scattered in their proverbs,
traditions, songs and the folkloric genres. However, a chunk of it
has been preserved by Pashto literature. Before examining the
literary genres and oral traditions which will reveal the true
picture of Pashtun culture, it is better to discuss the image of
Pashtuns in the world in the wake of new geopolitical scenario
shaped by other peoples. Pashtun is being considered as martial and
warrior race. There is no denying the fact that Pashtuns have had
fought many battles and wars. They have shown resistance against
Alexander the Great, the Iranian Darius the Great from Zaheeruddin
Babar, Aurangzeb Alamgir followed by Ranjeet Singh, Britishers and
then having trapped in the Great Game, Pashtuns seriously suffered
the Russian invasion. Still Pashtuns having fallen prey to world
politics, they have faced a war like situation even after the
disintegration of Russia.
Khushhal Khan Khattak once has rightly depicted this bizarre
situation of Pashtuns in one of his couplets.

áÇ íæ ÔæÑ ÑÇ ځíäې áÇړ äå æí Èá ÑÇÔí
ãګÑ Òۀ ېÏÇ å æÑځ Ï ÔæÑæÔÑ íã

"I am constantly in the grip of pandemonium; probably I am born on
the day of chaos.' The land of Pashtuns enjoys a significant
strategic geographical importance in the world politics. It has both
political and strategic dimensions. Unfortunately, before trying to
have an in-depth study of the Pashtun's cultural values, the world
powers in their ecstatic state of unprecedented strength directly
plunged into war with Pashtuns. This is not the first incident in
the history. Many such incidents have taken place in the life of
Pashtuns. In the recent past, first during the Great Game, the two
world powers: the Britishers and Russians against the wishes of
Pashtuns made their pure land as a central field for playing their
political game and secondly without understanding the traditions and
Pashtun psyche , both the great powers began their intriguing game
which resulted in a constant clash. The three Afghan wars between
Pashtuns and the Britishers is an ample proof in history as to who
is to be blamed for destroying the peace in the land of Pashtuns.
The literature created during the wars reflects a strong desire for
peace and also the Pashtun folklore contains aspiration for
establishing the lasting peace. After the Afghan wars, when Pashtun
soldiers were fighting on different fronts during the Second World
War, the Pashtuns mothers, sisters and damsels have longed for peace
in their songs and their strong desire for stability and peace has
made a loud echo in the Pashto folk literature. Tapa is a unique
folk literary genre which is sung with or without any musical
instrument in which mostly Pashtun women express their feelings and
emotions in a befitting manner. Almost every Pashtun male and female
is gifted with the natural poetic talent to compose tapa on any
occasion and subject. It has encompassed every aspect of Pashtun
life. Peace and love for peace has always been the favourite subject
of the tapa. A few examples reflect love for peace. "Your love has
made me so caring that I don't dare trampling even an ant for fear
of its being separated from its life partner." "I am so tired of
wars that I won't fight even the battle of love." "If respect could
be achieved through fighting wars, then all the elders of the
villages would have been led by dogs."
After the Second World War, began a long and crucial period of the
cold war. It divided the world into two hostile blocs. This division
gave a new sense of peace to the peoples of the world. As a
consequence of the cold war, Vietnam was entangled into a hot war.
The atrocities being meted out to the oppressed people of Vietnam
roused the conscience of the enlightened peoples of the world to
sympathize with them. Voices for self determination of the people of
Vietnam were raised in the world literature. With it, an organized
world literary movement for establishing peace and stability in the
world took strong roots in every nook and corner of the globe.
Pashtun poets and writers were not lagging behind other peoples in
this regard. They too were desirous to bring peace and stability to
the chaotic world. A strong literary movement in Pashto started in
favour of Vietnam for establishing peace at all levels which is
reflective of Pashtun's love for peace. In this connection, two
masterpiece poems of the popular revolutionary poet and critic
Qalandar Momand can be quoted `Da Alami Zameer Pah noom' (In the
name of the world Conscience) and Da Veitnam Charbetay', they are
the representative poems of the Pashto literature. The rough English
translation of the first and last stanzas of the poem "Da Alami
Zameer Pa noom" is given."

Òۀ Ï ÊíÑæ Çæ ÙáãÊæäæ ÇÒáí ÏÔãä íã
á˜å Ï äãÑ ãې åãېÔå Ï Ôې ځíګÑ څíÑáÿ
ãÇ Îá ځÇä áãÈې ګÇááې ÒãÇ Òړۀ
Îæ ãې Ï Ôې ÍÌÇÈ Ï څړí˜íæ å ÎäÌÑ څíÑáÿ
ÊÑ Îáå Ï ãÙáæ㠁å ãÑÓÊå ټíäګ æáÇړ íã
ÇáÌÒÇÆÑ æ æښÊÆ æ ګæÑÆ ˜ÔãíÑ څۀ æÇÆí¿
ې ää å ãÇ Ïå äæ å ãÇ Ïå å ÇÑÇ㠁ÑÇÊۀ íÆ
íۀ ÏÏäíÇ ÇæáÓå !ÊÇÓæ Êå ÖãíÑ څۀ æÇÆí¿

"I am an absolute enemy of aggression and tyranny. / Like the sun
rays, I have torn down curtain of night's darkness. / I have carried
the burden of the hardships on my heart. / I have torn down the
curtain of night's darkness through the sword of my pang. ………………..I
have stood firmly by the destitute to the best of my capability. Ask
about Alga ire and what the Kashmir demands from you? / To day it is
my turn to have been in trouble. Tomorrow it will be yours. O! The
peoples of the world, prick your conscience what does it tell to you?
Likewise, poems in Pashto literature have been created to throw
light on every such big incidence of prime importance. Pashtun poets
and writers have expressed deep anguish and concern over any kind of
aggression and have resisted it strongly in their writings. The
poems `Lomumba' and `Da AlgazireJameela' of Fazle Haq Shaida reflect
the hatred for war and strong desire for reconciliation and peace.
In the wake of the world struggle for peace, Pashtun poets and
writers too gave a significant place to this interesting subject.
The impact of the world literary movement filtered down and cast
indelible marks on the modern Pashto literature too. The poem `Amn'
( Peace) of the twentieth century Pashtun poet was even recommended
for entering in the gallery of United Nations Organizations (UNO)
and a letter in this regard was also written to the then Secretary
General of the UNO. The poem written on the subject of peace also
carried the title of `Amn' (Peace). This earned the title of Shaair-
i- Amn to the senior Pashto poet Pir Gauhar and still enjoys fame by
this title. Translation of the first and last stanzas of the poem is
presented as a specimen.

Òۀ ÛæÇړ㠁å Çãä áå ÇÒÛíæ Ï ÇېÔíÇ áãä
äå ÛæÇړ㠍ې Óæځí å áãÈæ Ï ÇېÔíÇ áãä
ډ˜å Ïې æí Êá å ګáæ ÓÑæ Ï ÇېÔíÇ áãä
ÓÊÇ íãå ÔÇÚÑ å ښÊæ Ï ÇېÔíÇ áãä
ÈÓ å ÍÞ ÇäÕáÝ Ïې å ÑíÔÊíÇ ÎÈÑå Ӂíäå Ôí
ÛæÇړãå ې ټæáå ÏäíÇ ãíäå ãíäå ãíäå Ôí
ÏÇ ÏÈÇÔÚæÑæ äړۍ ÛæÇړ㠍ې ÇÈÇÏå æí
æј Ïې Ôí Èãæäå Çæ Ìäګæäå ãᘠÈÑÈÇÏæí
Çãä Çãä Çãä ÈÓ å Çãä Ïې Êá ښÇÏå æí
ÏÇ ځÇäګæ Ï Çãä Ïې ÑېÔÊíÇ å Çãä íÇÏå æí
ځÇÑ Ïې ÇãÑí˜å áå ÑæÓå ÑæÓ Ïې ځÇÑ áå íäå Ôí
ÛæÇړãå ې ټæáå ÏäíÇ ãíäå ãíäå ãíäå Ôí

" I wish Asia to be secured from thorns (in oriental poetry thorn is
the symbol of evil) / I am against the flames of war which burn the
land of Asia. / I wish the flowers of peace be blossomed in Asia. /
I am a poet of Pashto and admire peaceful Asia in my mother
tongue. / Let all the disputes be settled through dialogue on
merit. / I wish the whole world to be bound in the net of love…………I
wish this world of the civilized people should remain prosperous. /
To hell with bombs and wars that bring destruction. /Let the world
should remain joyful through peace and peace alone. / Let this
cradle of peace be always remembered as peace loving region. / Let
America befriend Russia and Russia be tied into the knot of
friendship with China.
The sense of having love for peace and hatred for war which had been
aroused among Pashtuns as a result of an organized movement is of
much historical significance and could be termed as a historic
revolution. This movement was launched in the earlier decades of the
twentieth century when all the Pashtuns were gathered and took up
arms to resist the British aggression against their territory and
values system. During freedom struggle of the subcontinent from the
British clutches of power, the efforts of non -violence of great
Pakhtun leader Abdul Ghaffar Khan popularly known as Baacha Khan are
crystal clear to every one in the world. Likewise, his views on
different political issues after partition regarding India, Kashmir
and Afghanistan have proved true and hundred percent correct. This
shows the inert and innate Pakhtun philosophy towards peace and
mutual understanding. This visionary, revolutionary, farsighted and
peacemaker leader of a charismatic qualities, Khan Abdul Ghaffar
Khan popularly known as Baacha Khan appeared on the scene and gave a
slogan of peace to this centuries war stricken warrior Pashtun folk.
He was a Khan (landlord) by status but his heart was throbbing with
pains of the poor masses. He initiated a movement along with some of
his other sincere companions which was not new in nature but
unprecedented in the history of Pashtuns on their land.
The movement came to be known as Khudai Khidmatgaar Tehrik. The
manifesto of this movement was the philosophy of nonviolence,
brotherhood and peacemaking. It was a successful movement which
turned even the warrior Pashtuns into nonviolent. The Khudai
Khidmatgaar Tehrik of Baacha Khan drove away the rapture of Khanism
and feudalism from the powerful Khans and landlords among Pashtuns.
It defeated the pride of the powerful people and gave a new hope to
the weak and the destitute. The movement united both Khan and poor
at one single platform. For the first time, Baacha Khan brought
unity in the ranks of Pashtuns. He then took along all including
Khan, tenant, labourer, wager, and craftsman to get freedom through
equity and humanism. He taught them the meaning of human freedom in
clear words. Baacha Khan freed Pashtun folk from the clutches of the
Britishers through the philosophy of nonviolence. His determination
was firm like a rock. The ordeals and tribulations of imprisonments
could not weaken his strong will. He suffered every kind of trouble
for the sake of his people. People from every walk of life were
drawn to Khudai Khidmatgaar Tehrik.
The movement cast deep impact on Pashto language and literature. So
the nonviolence philosophy carved out a niche in the Pashto
literature and occupied a prominent place for itself. That is why we
see glimpses of thoughts and desire for peace, fraternity,
reconciliation along with the freedom struggle. It is, therefore,
deemed as the brilliant chapter in the history of Pashtuns. It was
the era when the Great Game was being played on the land of
Pashtuns. After the Great Game, Second World War, the cold war, soon
the land was once again trapped into the Russian invasion. It might
have left some psychological impact on the minds of Pashtuns. It is
very difficult to judge this fact that as to why Pashtuns are termed
as the warrior nation.
They fight war for Nung (Honour) only. But unfortunately, nobody has
taken pains to understand the value of Nung in Pashtun's culture;
otherwise their inclination towards peace could have been revealed
very easily. World peoples have condemned the Russian aggression
against Pashtuns but remained oblivious to their incredible
sufferings. The Russian invasion created such unrest on the land of
Pashtuns that forced every peace loving Pashtun to take up arms
which resulted in the disintegration of the former USSR. Warlords
were emerged to serve the interests of the West, the negative
consequences of which are still actively visible in the fabric of
the whole society. In the back drop of 9/11, once again a disastrous
chaos was imposed on the territory of Pashtuns in the name of peace.
Once again Pashtuns came into lime light to be called as terrorists
and religious fanatics across the globe.
This is in fact another blunder. Superpowers being unaware of the
Pashtun culture, history and psyche think that they (Pashtuns) could
be subjugated on the gunpoint. This goes against the tide of
learning from history. Someone has justifiably said, "We learn from
history that we don't learn from history." It may not be difficult
to grab Pashtun's territory by force but to digest it by force is
the most crucial task. The other historians too have termed Pashtuns
as a warrior race in the annals of the history but it is not the
whole truth.
Looking into the chapters of history will reveal to us that growing
up of the glorious Gandhara civilization and reaching its zenith
reflects the Pashtun's natural love for peace. Also collectively
accepting the religion of Islam as a result of the decision of the
Jirga provides us a proof of their love for peace and security as
stems from the very spirit of the religion. It is a different view
altogether that Islam is also being considered now a days as the
religion of terror and threat to the world peace which is in fact a
misunderstanding and borders on the clash of civilizations to some
extent. It needs explanation as to why civilized Pashtunwali
drenched in the teachings of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam
should be presented in such a way to the world peoples.
What are the various aspects of Pashtunwali, the world today wants
to know about the true nature of Pashtun values system. If they are
serious about it then they must keep in mind that in addition to its
own indigenous natural characteristics is also a medley of all those
features of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam which can guarantee
the world peace. The question is why peace should not be maintained
on the land where Zoroaster spread its teachings successfully, where
Gandhara civilization attained the pinnacle and where Islam is being
practiced in its true letter and spirit. As we have mentioned
earlier, Pashtunwali and its culture is the unwritten constitution,
it is preserved mostly in oral traditions of Pashtuns. It would be
not an exaggeration to say that Pashtun society has more peace
inviting terminologies than any other peace loving society in the
world. The practical examples that can be cited as Rogha , Saaz,
Teega, Panah, Jirga, Maraka, Baramta, Mailmastia and many more.
Hujra is the hub of many social activities in Pashtun's way of life.
It plays very important role in keeping peace among various sections
of the village people. The term Hujra Jummat (Hujra and Mosque)
symbolizes the sense of decorum and seriousness of the situations
regarding social and religious responsibilities of a Pashtun.
Different issues relating to peace and stability and other village
disputes are brought under discussion in the Hujra and resolved
through the census of the Jirga.
These are practically in use in everyday life of Pashtuns. The
message that can be drawn from folk songs for peace has an
interesting background. Also one can feel an intense and clearly
visible propensity towards peace and stability in the classical
literature of Pashtuns. This concept of peace is closely linked to
the cultural values of Pashtuns. This value is held in high esteem
by Pashtuns. If there is no threat to Pashtun's honour (Namoos) both
on individual and collective levels and if it is secured, then the
question doesn't arise that any Pashtun will take up arms. If the
thing is the other way round, then saving this honour is a positive
aspect of Pashtun's culture. True Pashtunwali also favours this
concept. Khushhal Khan Khattak versifies this in his couplet.

ÌåÇä ÔÑã äÇã æ ääګ Ïÿ
˜ۀ ÏÇ äå æí ÌåÇä ړäګ Ïÿ

"It is to live with honour in this world, without it, the world is
anarchy." Lord Russell said, "If peace can not be maintained with
honour, it is no longer peace." Pashtuns are always desirous of
strengthening this honour for the sake of constant peace, they
prefer to leave their hearths and homes but never compromise on the
question of honour. Perhaps it is the reason that Pashtuns do not
build cemented houses which are either left behind or demolished for
safeguarding the cause of honour.
An intellectual has said, "Peace won by compromise is usually a
short lived achievement." Having natural democratic thinking about
safeguarding the honour, Pashtuns are equal irrespective of their
social status. Honour has the same meaning for poor, affluent, small
and big Pashtun folk. Therefore, it is obligatory upon everybody to
take care of everybody's honour. Large number of Pashto proverbs
contains this concept. A few examples are given here. "A city can be
run better by a sweet tongue than by a sharp sword." A hundred
rupees are not worth a single good word." "To rule requires wisdom."
Avoiding beating a man with your finger and he will not kick you."
History is witnessed to this very fact that uncertain situations
have always forced Pashtuns to take up arms. These uncertain
situations are nothing but the fear to lose this honour due to the
foreign intervention.
If even today the world superpowers ensure the protection of
Pashtun's honour, not a single Pashtun will ever like to go on war
with anyone at any cost. It is to make it very clear that this
honour is not a so called misnomer rather it is very meaningful in
its individualistic perspective. Being tired of the centuries old
wars at the hands of the foreign powers at the behest of their
expansionistic desires, Pashtuns of the modern day whose country and
people have been destroyed have a strong desire for peace.
The world should now understand the true spirit of Pashtunwali and
Pashtuns and should access them through their cultural tradition. No
other nation perhaps knows better the importance of dialogue than
Pashtuns. Khushhal Khan Khattak the national poet of Pashtuns has
said long ago,

ÈäÏæÈÓÊ Ï ããá˜Ê Ôí å ÎÈÑæ
íæ ÊÑ Óáæ ÕÏÞå Ôå Óá ÊÑ ÒÑæ

"State can be managed best through means of dialogue. / One could be
sacrificed for hundred and so the hundred be sacrificed over the
number of the opinion of thousand persons." One can derive deep
meanings reflecting the democratic thought of the poet in this
couplet. In another couplet, Khushhal Khan Baba says,

äæÑÇäí ˜Ç åÛå ځÇÆ ې ÓÑå ˜ښېäí
ÏېÑíäå څáæÑ íÇÑÇä å ãÕáÍÊ

"If sit together a few close friends for reaching a compromise, they
will enlighten the very place." Emphasizing the need for dialogue
Khushhal Baba says,

ÑÎäå ګÑ åÑ ګÒ Ï ãá˜ Ï Ñېښææ äå Ïÿ
˜ۀ åÑ څæ Æې ÔÝÇÚÊ ÔېÎ æ ãáÇ ˜Ç

"Any dispute that could be resolved through moderation, then there
is no need to resolve it through war." Condemning the miscreants and
trouble makers the great Baba says," The trouble maker should not be
tolerated in the country at any cost, even if he has the support of
Mullah or a saint." Advocating and adopting the way of dialogue for
arriving at a census on any issue is very old among Pashtun culture.
All the Pashtun intellectuals, poets and writers have advocated the
adoption of democratic norms in their writings in a befitting
manner. The other prominent and deep impact on the Pashtun's outlook
comes from their spiritual leaders and literary giants. The Pir
Roshan's teachings and the whole Roshanite literature advocate the
promotion of the cause of peace and reconciliation. Different mystic
disciplines have created poets like Rahman Baba whom we call as the
poet of humanism. The tremendous popularity of Rahman Baba among
Pashtun's society is an ample evidence of their love and deep
attachment with peace.
Large portion of Rahman Baba's poetry consists of the verses which
gives the message of morality and the high human values. Had peace
been against Pashtun nature, how would Rahman Baba gain such
enormous popularity among Pashtuns? The fact is that those verses of
Rahman Baba have received much world wide public applause which
contains the message of peace. He says,

˜Ñ Ï ګáæ ˜ړå ې Óíãå Ïې ګáÒÇÑ Ôí
ÇÒÛí ãۀ ˜Ñå å ښæ ˜ښې Èå Ïې ÎÇÑ Ôí

"Grow the crop of flowers so as to make the whole area flowery/
don't grow thorns, they will prick your own feet." While teaching
goodness, at another place, Rahman Baba says,

˜ۀ Èá ÈÏ ˜ÇäÏí Êۀ ښۀ æÑÓÑå æ˜Ç
åÑ íæ äÎá ې ãېæå áÑí ÓäګÓÇÑ Ôí

"You do well to others despite their mistreatment to you. Look at a
tree bearing ripe fruit , it will give you fruit when throw stones
at it." Advocating humbleness and humility he says,

ÏåÞÇä ˜Ñ å áæړå Òã˜å ÈÇäÏې äå ˜Ç
ÓÑ ˜æÒí ˜æå ې Èڼ Ïې ãÑÛÒÇÑ Ôí

"The farmer does not grow crop on high fields, likewise you too
should remain submissive and humble to get your garden flourished

ÒåÑ ښۀ Ïí ˜ۀ å ÕáÍ å ÕáÇÍ æíäۀ
äۀ Ô˜Ñې å ÝÊäæ Çæ å ÛæÛÇ

"Getting of poison through peaceful way is better than getting of
sweets through means of fighting."

ې Ï æÑæÑ Ï ÚÒíÒ Òړۀ Ñې ÇÒÇÑېږí
ÍÇÕá ãå Ôå åÓې Ñäګې ãÏÚÇ

"It is better not to achieve any goal which hurts dear and near
one's hearts." There is no end to such sublime verses.
The gray colour of Pashtun's dress symbolizes their down to earth
nature. Pashtuns like the dye of ashes of spalmai (Calotropis
Gigantea) and also this colour is a symbol of tradition of
nonviolence. One can't help to put these questions as to why and
what for the peace loving Pashtuns were forced to long for grabbing
power and resorted to aggression. Why the Pashtuns who used to live
a prosperous life in their clay made muddy houses were compelled to
build up forts and towers. They used to decorate flowers in their
turbans once upon a time but now carry guns on their shoulders. Who
did all this mischief to them? This is simply tragic and nothing
else. Pashtuns are misrepresented and misinterpreted by world media
and have leashed out an anti-Pashtuns propaganda calling them
terrorist and religious fanatics which they had never been and would
never be. This is a serious blunder committed by the world community
the consequences were worst in the past and will also cast black
shadows in future for the world peace. The best thing would be to
discover and explore Pashtuns, their history, social traditions and
customs and cultural heritage in true perspective. People should
know and understand the structure and functioning of Pashtun's Jirga
system. They should try to comprehend the philosophy of Jirga as a
social institution.
If the Bonn conference of Loya Jirga could bring peace, stability
and democracy to a war ravaged country of Afghanistan, then Pashtuns
can also play their due role in establishing world peace and can
contribute a lot to the spreading of the global peace culture. But
mutual understanding is a perquisite for accomplishing such a
gigantic task. Before converging on one platform, the world cultures
should develop and enhance a sense of tolerance and mutual
understating in a better way among their peoples. For establishing
everlasting peace on the surface of the earth, Pashtun's moral
system can be best exploited at world level in this regard.
Jirga and its institution have a very long history since the times
of the Aryans; Sabah, Shura, Ghunda and Naasta, Maraka are the other
names of the Pashtun council but Jirga/ Jurga are the actual names
which are widely known. It is this Jirga which makes the Pashtun
culture and Pashtuns peaceful and peace loving. The very concept of
Jirga is based on peace Jirga is the council of elders whose
representatives are selected from among the different Khels
(sections) of the village, Seema (Area) and Qabeela (tribe). Jirga
and its tradition are very old. It is the best peacemaking
institution. Pashtuns resolve all of their disputes and conflicts
through the decisions of Jirga. Jirga functions at local as well as
national level. Local Jirga works for resolving the various issues
and conflicts arising among village people while national Jirga
(Loya Jirga) is a big council which is held to resolve the
conflicts , issues and other affairs according to whether pertaining
to bringing peace among the warring tribes and also to select the
head of the government. This Jirga enjoys the powers to resolve
political, social, economic, cultural and religious issues. It
eliminates tension, quarrels and misunderstanding existing among
people of the society. Jirga is preceded by Maraka (discussion)
which develops a census among members of the Jirga before taking a
firm and righteous decision regarding any issue at hand. To accept
Jirga's verdict is considered as a sacred social responsibility.
Nobody can violate laws of the Jirga, whether a huge penalty in
terms of money, demolition of house and excommunication.
The local Jirga comprises of those well chosen representatives whose
honesty, fairness, courage and straightforwardness are widely
acknowledged by village people. It is essential for every member of
the Jirga to have character integrity, truthfulness and
outspokenness. He must have the quality of being intelligent,
farsighted and must know the rules and regulations of the Jirga and
Pashtunwali. Jirga actually functions and takes decisions according
to the principles and laws of the Pashtunwali. It is a must for the
Jirga to be held at a neutral place where all the members would sit
on ground traditionally in circle. That is why every member can be
seen carrying a chadar (sheet of cloth) so that he could lay it to
sit on.
The Pashto proverb "You better leave the village but don't ignore
the customs of the village" explains one of the basic principles of
the Jirga means that one can leave the village but can not violate
the principles laid down in the traditions and customs of
Pashtunwali. At local level too, the Jirga paves way for brining
peace and reconciliation among people regarding any issue or
conflict. Jirga enjoys the authority conferred on its members by the
people hailing from every walk of life. Jirga has the capability to
resolve conflicts between two opposing groups, tribes and even two
nations. It can play its due role for creating a favourable
atmosphere for peace and tranquility between government's forces and
tribesmen as well. The decisions of the Jirga are so long-lasting
that they are still honoured once made with the Britishers in the
tribal agencies. The present unrest and uprising in the Waziristan
is said to be because of the violation of those decisions by the
government. Had the government taken the tribesmen into confidence
through Jirga, the resistance of the army would have not been that
severe. The history tells us that the strength of the Ghori and
Lodhi dynasties was the result of consultation of brethren Pashtuns
through Jirga of the earlier Monarchs before Ibrahim Lodhi when he
ignored this practice of his forefathers, the Pashtuns left him
alone and this caused his defeat in the first battle of Panipat.
Ahmad Shah Abdali fondly remembered as Ahmad Shah Baba, the founder
of modern Afghanistan had got access to the throne through the
decision of Jirga. Though the history of all those historical Jirgas
has not been written so far, but there are many historical Jirgas
which have changed the course of history. Many interesting evidences
could be found while arriving at the historical decisions. All the
peace agreements that had been reached between the Britishers and
Pashtuns were taken by Jirga.
It is need of the hour that we should know the depth of the
prediction of Allama Muhammad Iqbal which he had made in of one his
Persian couplets. "Asia is a body made up of water and clay. The
Afghans (Pashtuns) possess the place of heart in this body.
Disturbances in this heart will cause disturbance to the whole of
Asia and its nourishment is the flourishing of o Asia.

ÇÓíÇ í˜ í˜Ñ ÇÈ æ ګá ÇÓÊ
ãáÊ ÇÝÛÇä ÏÑÂä í˜Ñ Ïá ÇÓÊ

" This one prophesy of a visionary poet is sufficient for the world
peoples to open their eyes. Don't go any far. We have recently
experienced this phenomenon in Afghanistan. The unprecedented war
destruction in Afghanistan took the whole world to uncertainty and
political turmoil. Now the war on terrorism is being fought on
Pashtun's land without going into the depth of understanding the
psyche of Pakhtuns. It could be made effective only if a way of
dialogue according to the cultural traditions and social norms of
Pakhtuns is adopted and also an understanding of their moral system
is a must which regulates and governs their inner and outer life
style. This moral system is embedded in their language and
Many Pakhtun poets have composed poems reflecting and highlighting
the miserable plight and horrible situations of Pakhtuns focusing on
how they are suffering under the ropes of great powers of the vested
interests. Now when there is a paradigm shift causing a remarkable
change in Pashtun's cultures leading them to perpetual peace,
Pakhtuns are also contributing towards the efforts of making peace
at world level. In addition, they have speeded up the pace of peace
making efforts at local level.
They are very much conscious of the so called clash of civilizations
which results in the absence of dialogue and mutual understanding.
The democratic nations of the world should keep in view that other
civilizations should also have the right to flourish and that they
should avoid hurting feelings of the peoples who come from various
cultural identities across the globe. This is in fact an
evolutionary process while revolution invites war and conflict.
Exercising power will not work to resolve issues and `Change' in the
world could be brought through evolutionary process which may take
years and even centuries as the maxim goes `Rome was not built in
one day'. Everybody should work to eliminate Machiavellian way of
ruling from the world. We strongly believe that peace efforts could
only be made effective if peace elements in the world cultures are
highlighted and the general masses are made aware of this human's
everlasting tie. Pakhtun history, culture, social traditions and
literature can work as catalyst for accelerating the pace of peace
process in the world.

(The research paper was read out at an international peace workshop
recently held in Karachi)