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Monday, April 23, 2007

The Massacre at the Story tellers bazaar

By Dr Abdul Jalil Popalzai

In a century-old province, the major milestone of its history vis-à-vis the Qissa Khwani tragedy of April 23, 1930, in spite of its paramount importance is still shrouded in mystery as regards its real basis. The only historic incident on the sub-continent which can match it in gravity is the Jalianwala Bagh firing. Now the vested interests of certain quarters have been successful in distorting our history and replacing it with the personal activities and gatherings of the khans, nawabs and sardars. The result of this practice is the sheer ignorance of the fact that the Qissa Khwani massacre was in fact an all-out struggle launched for the restoration of human rights and civil liberties and freedom of expression of the inhabitants of the NWFP. No doubt the slogans against the Salt act and Sarda act were also used to associate it with the general uprising in the country in that movement, but had it been simply defiance of the Salt act, hundreds of people who laid down their lives in Qissa Khwani would have done so in Landhi where Gandhi himself was leading a long march. The strange side of the story is that while the Jalianwala Bagh incident has earned international fame to such as extent that the Queen of Britain had to go to India in the recent years and pay tributes to those who died due to the firing ordered by General Dyre on a large gathering considered defiant to the freshly-introduced Rowlette Bill. The tragic part of the freedom struggle is the fact that even the people who now belong to Qissa Khwani have been kept ignorant of the great battle for human rights and freedom of press no less important than the Jalianwala Bagh incident. The record of the Peshawar Archives still provides testimony to the fact that the Qissa Khwani massacre occurred because there were discriminatory and tyrant laws promulgated only in the NWFP and not anywhere else in the British-ruled India. Hundreds of men, women and children came out to sacrifice their lives for a movement launched in the name of human rights and civil liberties at least equal to those existing elsewhere in the dominion’s provinces. This historic milestone reminds us of the state terrorism to which the non-violent people of the NWFP were subjected.The discriminatory and despotic laws enforced in the NWFP in the early twentieth century were the Frontier Crimes Regulation, the Frontier Security Regulation, the Frontier Murderous Outrage Regulation (also called the Ghazi Act) and the Safety Regulation etc. In response to this act, a large protest gathering was announced in Shahi Bagh on the same evening. In this public meeting, Maulana Abdur Rahim Popalzai, who was the Mufti-e-Sarhad, moved a resolution of strong protest and condemnation. This protest resolution became the central theme of the speeches by all the speakers who included Pir Shahinshah of Kohat, Maulana Khan Mir Hilali, Rahim Bakhsh Ghaznawi, Lala Para Khan of DI Khan and Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar. In this public meeting, the programme of picketing at liquor shops and holding demonstrations in Peshawar was agreed upon. The next day secret meetings were held at the residences of Allama Abdur Rahim Popalzai and Agha Syed Lal Badshah Bukhari, the leaders of the twelve-member war council. The names of the members had been published in the daily Tribune, Lahore, dated April 26, 1930, and later quoted by the IG police, Icemonger, in his report which can be consulted at the Peshawar Archives in TRC bundle No 64 at serial No 1775. In the late hours of the night, most of the leaders of the war council were arrested. The arrest of Allama Abdur Rahim Popalzai by a special DSP was narrated in the Bang-e-Haram dated May 28, 1958, by Kakaji Sanober Hussain Mohmand who was an eyewitness in the house of Allama Abdur Rahim Popalzai. He wrote that at the time of the Maulana’s arrest, the DSP remarked, "If we do not arrest you now, you are going to bring a revolution in the morning." The last two members of the war council who were arrested in the morning near the Clock Tower provoked an already agitated mob. They burst the tyres of the police van and two members, Allah Bakhsh Barqi and Ghulam Rabbani Sethi, were set free. They persuaded the SHO to let them offer court arrest in the police station, Kabuli. The mob followed the two members of the war council. When they entered the police station to offer themselves for arrest, the mob became unruly and raised the slogans of "long live revolution". Some participants pelted stones at the police. In the meantime, the deputy commissioner entered the city from the cantonment side and some four armoured cars with infantry followed. The cars drove with such a speed that half a dozen people were crushed under them. It became difficult now to control the mob and some one hit the deputy commissioner with a brick. He was wounded and fell unconscious. A water-carrier, named Abdur Rehman, alias Mani, hit an English motorcyclist and killed him. Mani was later arrested and tired for murder. The English troops had put advancing the Gorhwali Rifles platoons ahead of them. When ordered to fire on the mob, they plainly refused to fire at the innocent people. They were disarmed and later court martialled. The troops continued hunting the Peshawarites indiscriminately for six hours. Jean Sharp has described in his work on non-violent movements that the youth came forward and offered themselves for sacrifice one after the other and the troops did not hesitate to open fire at them. When the news of the killing of hundreds of the Peshawarites was heard by the prisoners of the Central Jail, they began to revolt. They broke their cells and came out and the jail authorities had to run away for their lives. In the meantime, Allama Abdur Rahim Popalzai and Agha Lal Badshah addressed the violent prisoners and cooled them down by saying that even if they committed some violent act in a single jail it would be of no benefit to the movement because they were not under a proper discipline and command and violence and anarchy by no means could be translated into a desired revolution. Later on, the troops took over the jail as well and the leaders of the war council were taken to the Bala Hisar fort for trial. Within a week’s time they were awarded punishments and sent to the Gujrat special jail. On the way to Gujrat, every two leaders were chained in a single handcuff. The maximum punishment was awarded to the Imam-i-Hurriat, Allama Abdur Rahim Popalzai, and his associate, Rahim Bakhsh Ghaznavi. Both of them were sentenced to nine years of rigorous imprisonment in three different cases. This was presumably because Maulana Popalzai was a radical leader of the movement and he had while addressing a large gathering at the Shahi Bagh on April 15, 1930, remarked that he planned to overthrow the English rulers. Rahim Bakhsh Ghaznavi had openly said in the same meeting that he was a rebel. Agha Lal Badshah Bukhari was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The same three years imprisonment was awarded to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan who had on his way to Peshawar near the Nahqi police station refused to furnish a security under section 40 of the FCR. Source: STATESMAN

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Great Game And The Suffering Of Pakhtuns

The Great Game And The Suffering Of Pakhtuns

Fatima Ahmed

An analysis of the dynamics of the current Pak-Afghan relations and conflict in the region is a difficult and sensitive issue. Tall claims of friendly relations based on a shared history, common religion and intermingling culture notwithstanding, the strain in relations has very deep and entrenched roots. Most politicians, military leaders and intelligentsia alike choose to overlook history when they attempt to tackle this issue. The same ignorance of understanding history translates into wrong policy formulation at regional and national level with devastating effects for the Pukhtuns as well as the broader region. As some sage said, ‘If we don not know our history, we will never be able to master our future.’ Recourse to history might give us clues how to deal with the current issues for the benefit of both the countries, the wider world and more importantly the people that inhibit these borderlands - the Pukhtuns. Sadly it is the 42 million Pukhtuns, one of the largest ethnic groups in the world that are the worst sufferers of this conflict. And their suffering started that fateful year, 1839 when the Colonial British Empire crossed the Suleman Range in an attempt to extend their Empire to Central Asia before the Tzarist Russia could swallow it. The ‘Great Game’, as it was called; has been played over and over again ever since and continues to define the politics of this region. During the two hundred and fifty years since then, the players and the nature of the game has changed and so has the prize; the only constant factor has been the playground and suffering of the Pukhtuns. That attempt by the British Empire failed to enslave the Pakhtuns completely, but it started a chain of events that bedevils them till today, strain the relations between various states in the region, particularly Pakistan and Afghanistan and draws in external powers. That fateful attempt was also historic, because it represented a change in a centuries old phenomenon. For millennia, countless people and races from Central and South West Asia had been coming southwards, passing through the lands inhibited by the Pukhtuns in the hope of capturing the Indian treasures. Among them were the Greeks under Alexander the Great, Tamerlane, the Mongol hordes, Ghaznavids, the Mughuls to name a few. The British Empire’ through this action reversed that process. For centuries the flow of cultures, languages, traditions and social values had been southwards. This act beside its political implications also introduced the process of flow of social and cultural values in the opposite direction. On the political side the first round of the Great Game in the 19th century resulted in the division of the Pakhtun nation into three zones of British political influence, the fully controlled settled areas, the semi-autonomous tribal areas and the independent Afghanistan, sowing the seeds for the subsequent conflict that continues even today.The second round of this great game, which started with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 70s with the intension of reaching the warm waters culminated in the destruction of the social fabric of the Pukhtuns on both sides of the Durand Line by introducing fundamentalism, religious extremism, obscurantism, violence and drugs. This also left them the company of a plethora of various brands of Jihadies, chief among them Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens, Turkmen, South East Asians and even some westerners – a conglomerate of freelance mercenaries with no allegiance to any state or religion, collected by the CIA and its clients for the purpose of defeating communism. The ideological weapon given to this terrorist conglomerate was ‘Jihad’, and the ammunition was religion. These phenomena, over a period of time shifted the political control from the traditional liberal political leadership to the fringe clergy which culminated in bringing the hardliner Taleban in power. This also resulted in their association with the terrorists of the world exemplified by Osama Bin Laden and his shadowy organisation Al-Qaeeda. These wrong policies set in motion a chain reaction of radicalisation of the Pakhtun society, the effects of which are still spreading as proved by the events in FATA and even some settled areas of NWFP. The third round was a logical consequence of this phenomenon and was apparently triggered by the events of 9/11 but had at the core other motives too; the emergence of China as a potential contender for global power, the world’s second largest oil and gas reserves in Central Asia and perceived western objective of bringing democracy to the Muslim world. This game is still being played out in the deserts, valleys and hamlets of Helmand , Kandahar and Kabul but also in the tribal areas and NWFP, though at a different level. One wonders where this round will leave the Pakhtuns? The hapless Pakhtuns can only wish it ends in something positive, hopefully democracy, peace and social development. The chances may seem remote, given the current sequence of events, however, the hope lies in the fact that this time around the players are global and so are the stakes. However, unfortunately, the global players this time around too, are not letting the Pukhtuns; the worst sufferers to have a say in what is to be their future. If past history is any guide, the solution lies in letting this proud nation to unite and decide for themselves, what is best for them. If they are in peace, the whole region is likely to enjoy peace and prosperity. A failure this time around will be catastrophic not only for the Pakhtuns but also for the entire region and even the world as proved by the events of September 11, 2001.That the regional and global policy makers either ignore to acknowledge or continue to sweep under the carpet the fact that Pukhtuns lie at the heart of the conflict and also hold solution to it, is an understatement. Whatever way, we might approach it, the one thing which history suggests is that unless the wrongs done to this poor but proud nation, during the past two and a half centuries are addressed; no long term solution can be found to the conflict which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, mostly Pakhtuns. Till the sufferings of the unfortunate Pakhtun nation on both sides of the Durand Line are mitigated; no one in the region is likely to live in peace. The question arises, how this suffering can be mitigated. This question demands answers which no one seems to want to answer. It is in fact a fundamental dichotomy in the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as the political division of the Pakhtun lands and people within Pakistan which make the basis of the conflict and suffering in this region. The existence of the Durand Line which divides the Pakhtun nation unnaturally without any consideration of humanity coupled with the divisions of their polity within Pakistan, ensures that we the Pukhtuns will continue to suffer and the region will remain mired in conflict. Historically, all divided nationalities, particularly those inhabiting buffer regions between major powers, as is the case of Pakhtuns, have been victims of conflict, abuse, manipulation and at times being used as proxies. Kurds who are divided between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran are another case in point. Add to this the complexities of competing political ideologies, language, culture, tribalism, backwardness and illiteracy and to top it all an influx of religious extremism and you find yourself in a quagmire like the Pashtuns find themselves. The solution lies in making the Pukhtun body whole - once again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pakhtun Nationalism and Talibanisation

Pakhtun Nationalism and Talibanisation

Mohammad Ayub Khan

Pakhtun social setup varies from region to region, particularly towards the south and central areas on both side of the infamous Durand Line; it is closely connected on tribal lines. No matter, on which side these tribes live, but they are always one and never allowed the invisible border come between their social interactions. Contrary to their southern brethren, Pakhtun living in the highlands in the Eastern parts of Himalayan/Hindukush ranges, they are more or less in semi tribal environment and rarely cross to the other side for social interactions. Apart from these predominated regions stretching from East to South West, covering around 2500 km, Pakhtuns have also moved during the last couple of centuries towards the northern plains of Afghanistan and close to the central Asian Republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Kandooz is Pakhtun dominated province the northern parts of Afghanistan, other than scatted around pockets in the adjoining areas. All Pakhtun are Afghan by default and they are very proud of their history and ethnicity too. During the 19th and 20th century the whole world was divided by a couple of colonialists, such as Spain, Italy, France and British etc and the world demographic map was dotted from one pole to another with these enslaved human colonies, established by these capitalists and imperialists to exploit their natural and human resources. Indian subcontinent remained part of the British colonies and one of the best jewels of their crown. To secure this jewel for ever, they had to keep fighting the Afghans/Pakhtun on their northern slopes of the Central Asia, but could not subdue them. The whole Muslim world, particularly the Middle East where the holiest shrines are located, occupied by them but it was only the Afghan soil remained outside of their influences. Love with national freedom cost them half of their motherland in 1893 and thousand of martyrs; however their continued struggle for independence and freedom opened the door of freedom for the enslaved nations and colonized communities around the world, when Afghanistan declared its full independence on 19th August 1919. a matchless honour and a priceless gift to the world of oppressed nations. British were not happy to test defeats at the hands of this poorly equipped Pakhtun /Afghan and applied every conceivable method to bring back their lost honour. In the battlefield Pakhtun/Afghan proven beyond any doubt that they are the superior warriors than their trained and fully equipped British forces, however in the area of espionage and stratagem they have no experience neither mindset. Ghazi Amanullah Khan initiated openness of the Afghan/Pakhtun society in a very aggressive mode and the British realized the urgency to bring him down in order foil his endeavor for development and progress in Afghanistan.. This time they used a non-traditional mode of battling their foes and attacked the liberal monarch with the most effective tool of sold out clerics and Mawlanas. Fatwa sellers issued their fatwa against Ghazi Amanullah Khan and his policy of social changes and declared him unfit to rule the Muslim Afghans. Ironically they did not bother, that the whole Muslim world is under the thumb of non Muslim even their close neighborhood Indian subcontinent, however they had no concern with this as their masters sitting in London have paid them to remove Ghazi Amanullah Khan from power and they obliged. During that period and before, clerics never dreamt of taking over reign of power to rule Afghan/Pakhtun at any phase of their history. They could only issued fatwa to describe an issue at hand, and their influence could not go beyond that perimeters. With the arrival of Red Soviets in Kabul during late 70s, these scions of Pir Mukaram Shah and Mullah Shorbazar of 1920s, found another employer with higher salary offer to declare jihad on infidels and took the rout towards the South to play with petrodollars and sophisticated weapons. Since 1978 till 1989, hundred of thousand of Afghan lost their lives and homes but none of these so called Islamic leaders suffered an inch of their property or lost any distant kith or kin. They enjoyed their lives to the maximum and built palaces in many parts of the world, certainly outside of communist block. Fighting the join enemy never realize them to form unified party or group and remained divided in seven big and numerous small parties. Not long before, these seven party leaders used to travel in motorcade of several vehicles and used to fly in the best possible jets. Mr Ronald Regan declared them Mujahideen and the defenders of the free world but in fact destroyer of their own poor country. They did not leave any wall standing neither any bridge hanging in Afghanistan. After the Soviet withdrawn and the collapse of the Dr. Najibullah Government in Afghanistan, the world witnessed another bout of annihilation and killings. Male, female and children were bombed alike by these pious Mujahideen. Taliban is the continuation of same process but more brute and more oppressive. Nasirullah Babar declared publicly many a times that these are his babies and their hatching farms are inside the tribal areas and some settled districts of NWFP. Taliban completed the last phase of humiliation and destruction of Afghanistan. They forced the young men to shout Allaho Akbar instead of clapping to enjoy soccer matches. Hundred of thousands fundamentalists and terrorists were invited to settle in Afghanistan and establish their propaganda and training centres and send their operatives to initiate Jihad all around. All types of progressive thinking, literature, music, journalism, education, diplomacy, governing system and peaceful coexistence were discouraged. Minorities lived along with Afghan/Pakhtun for centuries as part of Afghan honour and never faced any problem, but they were also forced to wear yellow stars in order to distinguish them. Millenniums old Giant Buddha statues of Bamyan were bombed and hundred of cows were slaughtered on the spot to pay for the negligence they committed for not doing this noble job years ago, Afghan honour and dignity came to the lowest ebb, when their Foreign Minister came to Islamabad for treatment and was carrying one pair of cloth in plastic shopping bag. Unfortunately Taliban not only destroyed each and every inch of Afghanistan and sold its honour but they were found facilitating terrorists of the whole world too. Their covert support to these uninvited guests brought the world to the brink of disaster in 2001, but instead of throwing these terrorists outside of their country they ignored the world criticism and allowed them to stay there at the cost of Afghanistan. Luckily Taliban were uprooted but they did not die so easily since their twin was already breathing on this side of the border. These new Taliban were facilitated to emerge victorious in the 2002 elections and were allowed to take over one full and another half provincial governments in Pakistan. Since the time of their arrival in 2002 and assuming a friendly opposition role in the centre, every effort is used to keep continue their elder brother’s ruthless agenda of brutality towards minorities, women, democracy, development and progressive tendencies. True to their rigid world view, music and culture was taken out of the daily carte du jour. Even the ordinary signboards on the main road, carrying women images were broken down. Musicians were insulted in broad day light and their musical instruments were thrown on the roads and burnt them. The only culture centre, Nishtar Hall was closed down since then and Talibanization process was ensued to take root in ever sphere of our social lives. In Pakhtun society, Taliban (or Chanri) are the weakest and most neglected aspect of our social setup. Whenever a poor family finds it difficult to feed their offspring, they are sent to the Madrasah where they are fed by local community and taught the religious (mostly Arabic scriptures) teachings and at the end of the day become a Mawlavi.
Every day and thrice a day Taliban go to each and every household and collect whatever they are offered. Thus nourished on the leftovers and often on alms food, they loss the guts to stand and speak the truth or face the brunt of leading a tribe or nation. Their only concern and objective is how to motivate a wealthy individual to build a mosque where he can start his job as Peshaimam and enjoy the restful life with his family. Believe me, there was one such a Mawlavi in Islamabad few years back, who sold his job of Mosque including facilities with 1.6 million to another Mawlavi. With no brain to use and coming from deprived strata of society, probably they avenge in a way their poverty and backwardness. Every one is now in the full knowledge of what role these Taliban under MMA are assigned or what should we expect from them in the near future. All those petty and useless fatwa sellers using FM or any other means to assert their existence are nothing but sold out fish. As proven from their past history that they are always ready to strike a deal with the enemies of Pushtoon, enslave them, kill their pride, wipe out their identify, culture, language and obliterate their land. Ironically they sell their pseudo piousness and use the sacred pulpit and mosque for their own vested interests and those of their master’s orders and damn care if innocent Pakhtun get killed or their families destroyed. Just imagine in 2001, when the poor Pakhtun were taken to the killing field in Afghanistan to fight against the cutting edge technology with shotguns in hands or in some instances rocket propelled grenades on their shoulders. What happened in the aftermath, thousand of these innocent young men perished and many more imprisoned. Today we are standing at a very sensitive cross road of our existence. Criminal and anti Pakhtun elements have worn the sacred garb of Taliban and bent upon to kill, maim or out rightly slur all those wishing to see a prosperous and developed Pakhtun nation. War against terror is nothing but to give Pakhtun a bad name and kill them. Pakhtun are the first and the last victim and on other hand these selfish political Mawlanas and their manufacturers are the ultimate beneficiaries. It won’t help if President Musharraf declares Talibanization is a sole serious internal threat to national solidarity. We need to see concrete steps on the part of his administration to give up their patronization and encouragement of political Mawlanas. Democracy and strengthening of democratic system and discouraging the exploitation of faith for political means must come to an end. Rule of law and tolerance for divergent political views, is the correct recipe for a forward looking society. Let us hope this nightmare is over soon and Afghan/Pakhtun stands tall again like their forefathers in the committee of the nations.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Pushtoon Nationalism or Provincialism

Pushtoon Nationalism or Provincialism.
Since the days Pakistan came into being; the very first crises related to provincial autonomy hit the headlines, rather than asking to hold election for a constitutional assembly in order to frame a constitution for the new state or demanded a truly representative government in the centre. Bengalis were not satisfied with the level of provincial autonomy by then and they demanded to bring back the March 1940 Lahore resolution into life, which recommended only four subjects to the centre while leaving the rest for the federating units to play with. Answering this question since 1950s, every trick was applied by the successive governments, ranging from parity formula of our lone Field Marshal to the 5 points compromise with Sheikh Mujeeb, purely to deny this legitimate demand from the federating units. Playing around and not taking this issue seriously resulted in the burying of two nations theory, the very raison d’être of this new country, for ever and a country conceived by Chaudhry Rahmat Ali rather than Mohammad Ali Jinnah was allowed to pop up on the political map of the world after 1971 debacle.

We should have learnt the lesson to grant maximum autonomy to the federating units, though after paying a high cost, but unfortunately, nothing like that happened afterward. Bhutto government was given free hand to prepare constitution after 1971 separation of our eastern wing, without asking him to hold fresh election as the earlier were held wherein Awami League won the majority seats and constitutionally Bhutto government had no standing since these were held when East Pakistan was part of the country. Despite many reservations from Pushtoon, Baloch and Sindhi parliamentarians a new constitution was drafted and passed by the parliament after receiving the assurance of federal government to transfer the majority of departments to the federating units within 20 years time. What happened to the constitution and the country is an open secrete. Making one whole clause of Article 6 in the Constitution for punishing the unlawful taker over, the country experienced the two longest marshal law regimes of its history, since the unanimously approved constitution of 1973 came into life.

Pushtoon national movement in the first half of the 20th century remained one of the prominent political struggles against the British government in India. Unfortunately because of few political mistakes committed by Pushtoon leadership, none of the objectives could be achieved and the sum of the decades long struggle, offering thousands of martyrs and prisoners, is the cursing of our historical and national heroes, our cultural, political and economical subjugation if not outright enslavement and the exodus of million of Pushtoon in search of jobs and better life outside of our own mother land. Under the forced referendum from British government when the elected government in NWFP refused to take part, our province became par of the newly created state of Pakistan and Bacha Khan went to the new parliament and took oath of allegiance in February 1948.

Since Bacha Khan’s surrender to the new government in Karachi and his oath of loyalties, his past alliance with Indian national Congress remained enough reason to keep him inside the bars for many years by various Pakistani governments. Ironically the Pushtoon political struggle before 1947 was not clear what they were looking for neither later in the 2nd half of the 20th century the same syndrome of confusion remained the major cause of their total perplexity and failure. Bacha Khan and his colleagues always talked about reforms in Pushtoon society but never talked about the political emancipation of Pushtoon masses and neither went for an appropriate course, resulting in the total chaos at the time of the departure of British government in India and later they had to be content with the change of NWFP to Pushtoonkhwa plus the control of natural resources by the provincial government.
Amazingly the long drawn political history of Pushtoon national movement and today the heirs of the Bacha Khan political legacy are demanding provincial autonomy for NWFP only. Provincial autonomy, however, does not answer the Pushtoon national question, as we have many issues, the said demand can not cover. Unlike Baloch, Sindhi, Seraiki and Punjabi, Pushtoon are administratively divided in four separate but contiguously geographical regions. NWFP is the largest part of these pieces, whereas Pushtoon area of northern Balochistan forms the 2nd larger piece. FATA, with seven tribal agencies the 3rd part, followed by the districts of Mianwali and Attock, which previously remained parts of the NWFP but during the one unit dissolution process unjustifiably given to the Punjab province.

Secondly a question is still to be decided about Pushtoon identify within the federation of Pakistan. Balochistan was allowed to replace o with u for correct spelling of their title, while Sindh was allowed to add h at the end of their name for the same purposes, however, whenever Pushtoon ask for changing their name to either Pushtoonkhwa, Pushtoonistan or Afghania, a range of alternatives are put forward to deny their legitimate demand. In this respect few of the options and reasons are very interesting. One, we are told that the other two provinces have their identity because of the presence of prominent rivers on their land, such as Sindh because of Indus (local name for Indus) and Punjab - the land of five rivers, thus a suitable name would be Abbaseen (Pashto name for Indus). Another option is Khyber, the name of historical valley and entrance point for invaders towards the Indian sub continent. Some anti Pushtoon section totally reject any thing based on Pushtoon national identity and suggest something religious or closer to the Pakistani identity. These elements also cite that Pushtoon are no majority hence have no claim for their identity.

Let me quote the recently held census of 1998 in the following table which clearly rejects the stand of anti Pushtoon elements and shows that who is how much in their respective provinces. Pushtoon forms 73.90 of the total population in NWFP and that too without the adjacent tribal areas, wherein 99.10 are Pushtoon. In this calculation unfortunately, Jadoon, Tareen, Mashwani and few other minor Pushtoon tribes are not included who are Pushtoon but can not speak Pashto. The 20.44% non Pashto population also include the speakers of 27 different languages in Frontier Province according to the recently held conference sponsored by the former NWFP Chief Secretary and advocated by Dr. Zahoor Ahmad Awan of Hindko Adabi board. They did their best to mislead the opinion makers and belittle Pashto and Pushtoon but utterly failed in their nefarious planning. In Sindh this ratio is less than 60% and in Balochistan less than 55% but still both these provinces are named Sindh and Balochistan. In Balochistan there is no prominent river, but their identity is based on their ethnicity just like Pushtoon, who does not need anything else to recognize themselves but their own national tag of Pushtoon. Click the link to access data.
Area -Punjabi-Pashto -Sindhi-Seraiki-Urdu- Balochi-Others
Punjab province:
Punjabi :75.23
Pashtoon :1.16
Sindhi : 0.13
Seraiki :17.36
Urdu : 4.51
Balochi : 0.66
Others :0.95

Sindh Province:
Punjabi :6.99
Pashtoon: 4.19
Sindhi: 59.73
urdu: 21.01
balochi :2.11
Others: 4.97
3-Pukhtoonkhwa(NWFP )
punjabi: 0.97
Pashto : 73.90
seraiki: 3.86

Sindhi: 5.58

sindhi :0.01

Total Pakistan

Obviously Pushtoon needs to demand National autonomy rather than provincial autonomy since we need to bring together the divided pieces together and give it their legitimate identity inside the federation of Pakistan. For this purpose it is essential to search for peaceful and democratic means and we have to keeping educating our people about their national rights. One such anomaly noticed belong to the Pushtoon representation in the Parliament. According to the following mentioned table wherein data is extracted from the recently held census of 1998 Pushtoon are given less representation that their due share of 15.42% against the existing ratio of 13.31%, depriving them of their 2.11% representation. This 2.11 in terms of National Assembly representation is more than eight or nine seats. On the other hand Punjab 11.93%, Sindh 9.09% and Balochistan 1.43 are enjoying more than their due right.

Population and Representation in the National Assembly

Province -Population -NA Seats ---%ag/seat ---NA % -Language -Diff
Punjab---- 73.621 -----148-------0.497-----56.08----44.15----11.93

Total -------131.274 ----270 ------100 ---77.24

Over population is liability in the modern financial system. That is why population control concept as well as an appropriate equilibrium between the economic and population growth is always one of the prime objectives for economic wizards. Here in Pakistan more population means more resources from the divisible pool. Criteria for NFC must be changed and the resources allocation must be based on the needs of the areas. Most importantly nations should be handed over control over their natural resources and they must be allowed to plan for their development separately. It is because provinces or federating unit decided to create Pakistan and not the other way round.

Lastly supporting Pushtoonkhwa, Pushtoonistan or Afghania to replace the infamous NWFP, lets see what Chaudhry Rahmat Ali, a Punjabi student in London writes on Page 2 in his booklet Now or Never (January 28, 1933) “at this solemn hours in the history, when British and Indian statesmen are laying the foundations of a Federal Constitution for that land we address this appeal to you, in the name of our common heritage, on behalf of our 30 million Muslim brethren, who live in PAKSTAN – by which we mean the five northern units of India viz,: Punjab, North West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan – for your sympathy and support in our grim and fateful struggle against political crucifixion and complete annihilation”. Click the following link to reach the document.

Looking to the above statement he knew very well the future of his proposed state and perhaps he deliberately kept the northern and central Muslim parts (Hyderabad, Bengal, UP, Slihat etc) of India out of his scheme, which formed two third of total muslim population by then. Secondly he used Afghan province for NWFP as his suggested replacement. After Pakistan established he was flatly denied Pakistani Passport by the Muslim leadership governing Pakistan from those excluded areas of his Pakistan. His dreamed Pakistan came into being after 1971, but he was already dead in1951. Let’s replace NWFP with Afghania to commemorate our great Punjabi thinker and visionary which covers most, if not all cultural, historical, linguistic and social aspects of this region.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pakhtuns are unique in their nature & mood says Mr David L. Gosling principal Edwardes College, Pesh

Pakhtuns are unique in their nature & mood says Mr David L. Gosling principal Edwardes College, Pesh

Saturday, 31 March 2007
By Sher Alam ShinwariPESHAWAR: Pakhto Society Edwardes College, Peshawar arranged a grand annual Pashto mushaira at its main hall here Thursday. More than 60 poets from Kohat, Mardan, Swabi, Dir, Charsadda, Nowshera, Bannu, Peshawar, Malakand, and Khyber Agency participated in the event. Mr David L. Gosling principal of the Edwardes College ,Peshawar in his welcome address said the appeal of poetry is universal. "All the poets are unacknowledged legislators" he said having quoted Mathew Arnold and Shelley, the two English literary giants. The great Khushhal Khan Khattak and mystic legend Rahman Baba will remain the fountain of perpetual inspiration for Pakhtun people. Poetry instills the spirit of love, peace, humanism, mutual harmony among the youngsters. Poetry recital is a healthy activity and provides a good platform for the students to express their views freely. The College literary body deserves great appreciation for getting involved students in positive activities like poetry recital. 'Pakhtuns are unique in their nature and mood. They can express themselves in three languages namely Pashto, Urdu and English with much ease and fluency', he said.
Prominent poet and researcher Salim Raz while speaking as chief guest on the occasion said poetry arouses the sense of self identity, social awareness, national dignity and a reflection on cultural evolution. "he credit goes to Edwardes College's Pakhto Society for arranging such a grand literary event which would go a long way in improving the literary and creative capabilities of the students, "Salim Raz added. Senior poet and research scholar Hamish Khalil in his presidential remarks pointed out that poetry is mirror to society and people. Genuine poets always give vent to the problems faced by masses at every level. We live in a high tech modern world. The importance of literary activities can not be ignored, rather its value has increased manifold. Great revolutions have been in the world heralded by great poets and men of letters,' Khalil observed. He advised the students to go through the Pashto poetry both classic and modern after completing their studies so that they could be aware of their glorious history and tradition. Prof Dr Yar Mohammad Maghmoom Khattak, patron of the Pakhto Society appreciated the college administration for providing assistance in arranging such literary activities to the college literary body. "It is a unique honour of the Pakhto Society to have held grand mushairas and other cultural programmes for the entertainment and honing literary taste of the students," he maintained. The four hours long poetry recital kept the tasteful audience gluing to their seats. Three humorous poets Dad Mohammad Dilsoz, Zafar Khan Zafar and Itibaar Gul Zarswaandai rolled the participants with hearty laughter by reciting their hilarious poetic pieces. Shazia Khattak a small girl howver, stole the scene by reading out an inspiring ghazal of her poet father Naikamal Khattak. She received a big applause from the audience. Rahmat Shah Sail a popular progressive poet was given a standing ovation when he appeared on the stage. He recited his ghazal in his unique melodious voice. Senior poet Ghazi Sial also presented his verses in his beautiful voice and was given a big hand. Ikramullah Gran, Sardar Khan Fana, Dr Fazal Din Khattak, Prof Dr Sahib Shah Sabir, Majeedullah Khalil, Mohibullah Shuaq, Masil Khan Atish, Fayyaz Mashaal, Prof Aslam Taseer, Muqaddar Shah Muqaddar Afridi, Riaz Afridi, Akram Umarzai, Jahanzeb Shaoor, Iqbal Shakir, Wadood Ashnaghrai, Dr Ishaq Sabawoon, Jamshed Momand and Hilal Ahadyar (poet of the campus) were among prominent poets. Masoom Shah President Edwardes College Pakhto Society presented vote of thanks on behalf of the college administration and the Edwardians to the guest poets and espcially students of Peshawar Public School and College, Warsak Road, Peshawar for gracing the event with their presence. Large number of students, teachers and poetry lovers attended the mushaira. Prof Abaseen Yousafzai and Prof Dr Izharullah Izhar conducted the mega literary event in a befitting manner.

Love Thy Neighbor; Kill Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor; Kill Thy Neighbor - Part 1
Take a look at this piece! Don't you guys think Afghanistan has had to pay a very heavy price for its support to the Pukhtoonistan movement, the Pukhtoon nationalist leadership and not withdrawing from its historical claim over the Pukhtoon populated areas of Pakistan? Isn't it controrary to the notion presented by some of us that what Afghanistan has done for the unification is a mere lip-service as an eye wash?? And beside, what about the turns in the policies of our elders in the last 70/80 years? Do we deny the fact that in the colonial era our elders struggled for an autonomous Pukhtoon state in a united India? Do we as well deny the fact that soon after the partition our elders altered their separtist policy with an absolute integrationist approach and had to struggle hard to show their loyalties towards the federation of Pakistan? When was the last time our nationalist leaders spoke of a merger with Afghanistan?? Or shall I refer to the historical events to prove what I want to prove? Going through the first part of this article, I felt extremely ashamed of the fact that it has been us, the so called “Pakistani-Pukhtoons”, since day first who did the dirty work for the Punjabis against Afghanistan and its people. We can not simply pass the buck by holding a few individuals responsible for it! The irony is that it still happens to be us who do not let any opportunity slip away to demonize our Afghan brothers for the individual acts of some rulers at some point in history, to justify our “NO” to the idea of “LOY AFGHANISTAN”! What a Shame! What a paradox!Anyway, here is the article: Thy Neighbor; Kill Thy Neighbor Pakistan's Afghan policyBy: Dr. Hamid HussainPublished July 14, 2004IntroductionWe have earned the right to have (in Kabul) a power, which is very friendly toward us. We have taken risks as a front-line state, and we will not permit a return to the prewar situation, marked by a large Indian and Soviet influence and Afghan claims on our territory. Pakistani President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (1) Pakistan and Afghanistan are neighbors with geographic, historic, linguistic and economic ties dating back to centuries before the emergence of modern nation states. Pakistan’s major security dilemma has been its poor relations with the large eastern neighbor India. On the issue of the disputed territory of Kashmir the two countries have fought a few wars and many skirmishes souring their relations. In this background, Pakistan has always been suspicious and frustrated by the unfriendly attitude of Afghan governments who had claimed influence over the Pushtun populations on the Pakistani side. Before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the two countries had been involved in diplomatic and propaganda campaigns against each other resulting sometimes in breaking of diplomatic and economic relations. After the Soviet invasion in 1979, a major change in the relationship between them occurred. Close to three million Afghan refugees came to Pakistan and Pakistan assisted the Afghan resistance with money, weapons and diplomatic support in close association with the United States and Europe. This changed the dynamics of relations between two countries and Pakistan became more deeply and directly involved in the affairs of Afghanistan for almost three decades. The relations between these two countries have seen many shifts and changes depending on the prevailing regional and international events and pressures, in addition to internal factors operating in two countries. BackgroundSince the emergence of Pakistan as an independent state in 1947, relations with its western neighbor, Afghanistan has not been smooth. The Afghanistan government claimed its influence over the bordering areas of Pakistan where Pushtuns lived. In a meeting of tribal chieftains in Kabul on July 26, 1949, the old agreements between British and Afghanistan were repudiated. A month later, a tribal meeting inside Pakistani territory in the Afridi heartland of Tirah, with the support of the Afghan government, went a step further and announced the establishment of Pushtunistan. It also announced the establishment of a national assembly and adopted a new flag. (2) In retaliation, in December 1949, Pakistan blocked the movement of Afghan goods from Pakistani territory. In 1955 and 1961, the dispute between the two countries resulted in closure of borders for several months.(3) Afghanistan is a landlocked country which was totally dependent on a trade agreement with British India and later Pakistan for transport of all goods through the Pakistani port of Karachi. Poor relations with Pakistan and frequent closures of the borders between two countries and diplomatic skirmishes had unintended consequences. One major outcome was the gradual increasing influence of Soviet Union by opening of the northern route bordering Soviet Union. It was the threat to the vital petroleum supplies of Afghanistan coming through Pakistan which resulted in the signing of the barter and transit agreement with Soviet Union. The agreement provided duty free transit of Afghan goods through Soviet territory and building of large gasoline storage tanks in several locations.(4) Both sides also resorted to foment trouble in each other’s backyard by stirring the turbulent border tribes striding the ill defined long and porous border (Durand Line) between two countries. Crude and rough interactions at the highest levels did not allow any room for constructive engagement. When the Afghan Foreign Minister Muhammad Naim met Ayub Khan after the coup of 1958, Ayub was very rude. He gave Naim a lecture about the military power of Pakistan and boasted that if he wanted he could take Kabul within a few hours.(5) On the part of Afghan government, in 1976 when Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto planned a visit to Afghanistan, the Kabul government declined to give visas to two important members of Bhutto’s delegation who were from border provinces (Yahya Bakhtiar from Balochistan and Naseerullah Khan Babar from North West Frontier Province).(6) In 1973, King Zahir Shah’s cousin Muhammad Daud became the country’s head after the coup. Daud was a complex personality with strong ideas of his own with limited long-term vision. He was the most ardent supporter of the irredentist Pushtunistan issue, which had spoiled relations with Pakistan. In the early part of his rule, relations between the two countries deteriorated markedly. However by 1976, Daud started rapprochement with Pakistan and Iran. Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited Kabul and Daud visited Pakistan and serious discussions to improve relations between the two countries were started. In this effort, the internal troubles facing both leaders were also instrumental. In Pakistan, Bhutto was facing a full scale rebellion by the Balochs whose areas were bordering Afghanistan while in Afghanistan the emerging tensions between Communist influenced political groups and Islamist opposition were threatening the long standing precarious balance in the country. Let the Games Begin The poor relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan moved to the next level when in early 1970s both countries started to host each other’s dissidents.(7) Afghanistan was hosting dissident Pushtun and Baluch leaders and Pakistan started to host some Islamist opposition leaders of Afghanistan. The Pakistani leadership was really apprehensive because it had recently witnessed the successful secession of the eastern wing of its country with active help of India. In December 1971, East Pakistan emerged as independent Bangladesh after a civil war and military intervention by India. Pakistan feared that a similar situation could happen on the western border with active involvement of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. It was in this background that Pakistan overhauled its Afghan policy. In 1973, the then Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IGFC), Brigadier (later Major General) Naseerullah Khan Babar presented a paper on Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas. Frontier Corps is a border paramilitary force led by Pakistani army officers seconded to the militia which guard’s the country’s western borders. The main thrust of the paper was the fear of Soviet hegemony and potential of Afghan providing support to tribes residing in Pakistani territory. In the light of this assessment, an Afghan Cell was created. This was a high level secret group, which included four members - Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Bhutto’s advisor on Foreign Affairs Aziz Ahmad, Chief of Army Staff General Tikka Khan and IGFC Babar. Dissidents from Afghanistan were brought to Pakistan where they were put on the payroll of FC and then sent to different locations and trained in handling of small arms and explosives. Babar’s two staff officers Colonel Ataur Rahman Kallu and Captain (later Major and a political leader) Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao helped Babar in coordination of some of these efforts. In this work, the then head of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) detachment in Peshawar, Major (later Brigadier Aslam Bodla) was also brought into the picture. Babar continued to supervise this operation after his retirement from the military when he was appointed governor of North West Frontier Province. Pakistan tried to recruit a small core group from each of the 29 provinces of Afghanistan. They would then go back and recruit more members inside Afghanistan. From 1973-77 about 2000-2500 Afghan dissidents were trained in Pakistan. Pakistanis provided them with Indian guns and explosives to avoid any negative fallout in case of exposure of the plan. (8)
After Bhutto’s visit to Kabul in June 1976 and Daud’s trip to Pakistan in August of the same year, Afghan dissidents were restrained by Pakistan. The initial group of dissidents which came to Pakistan included Burhanuddin Rabbani, Gulbaddin Hikmatyar, Ahmad Shah Masud and Sibghatullah Muajaddadi. In 1978, Najibullah (later a key member of the Afghan communist group and President) also came to Peshawar and met one of the Pakistani handlers of Afghan dissidents. He was introduced to Superintendent of Police Amanullah who was working as the Deputy Director of the civilian Intelligence Bureau (IB). However by that time General Zia-ul-Haq who had overthrown Bhutto’s government was in charge of the country and the Afghan dissidents had become orphans. Zia, busy with his own troubles didn’t continue the support of Afghan dissidents. First, a Pakistani mediator tried to hook them up with the Shah of Iran through the Iranian Consular General in Peshawar but there was no positive response as the Shah was already in big problem from his own Islamist challengers. The Afghans were then introduced to the Americans through diplomats based in Pakistan.(9) In 1978-79, as the internal power struggle inside Afghanistan intensified among Communist contenders, the contacts between the Pakistan government and these Afghan dissidents were revived, however they were low key. In 1973, the Pakistan army was fighting a full-scale insurgency in Balochistan. Some Balochs found refuge in Afghanistan where they were temporary settled in Helmand area. However, the Afghan government didn’t support them fully in their insurgency against the Pakistan government. In addition, some Pushtun dissidents like Ajmal Khattak of National Awami Party were given refuge in Kabul. There were many bombings in Pakistan’s bordering provinces, which Pakistan blamed on the Afghan government. In early 1980s, the son of former Prime Minister Bhutto, Murtaza Bhutto settled in Kabul with a small group of hard-core Pakistan Peoples Party workers to harass Zia’s government through sabotage. The Slippery Slope After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, a new set of realities emerged and the calculations for Pakistan changed enormously. Pakistan’s fears came true and Soviet soldiers were at its borders. For the first time, collaboration between India and Soviet Union to intensify pressures on eastern and western borders of Pakistan simultaneously became a reality. Internationally, General Zia ul Haq was isolated at that time and he attempted to get the support of the United States, Europe and the Islamic countries by convincing them that the next stop of Soviet troops was Pakistan. By early1980s, Pakistan was heavily involved in Afghan affairs on all fronts. In cooperation with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Saudi General Intelligence Directorate, Mukhabarat, Pakistani armed forces intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was now involved in a multi-billion dollar enterprise, which would change the dynamics of Pakistan’s internal and external affairs for a long time to come. (10) From 1980 to 1988, ISI kept firm control of Afghan policy trying not only to keep Americans at bay but also any other department of Pakistan. Pakistan’s President and army Chief General Zia ul Haq and Director General of ISI (DGISI) Lieutenant General (later General and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee) Akhtar Abdur Rahman planned and coordinated Pakistan’s interaction with many resistance groups based in Pakistan and their operations inside Afghanistan exclusively through ISI. In this effort, they even kept senior military brass out of the loop and information was shared with other senior officers only on as needed basis and very sparingly. (11) Pakistani decision makers were firm believers of the theory that the Soviets wanted to reach the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and after pacifying Afghanistan they would come towards Pakistan. The main objective at that time was to tie up Soviets in Afghanistan and there was not much interest in a negotiated settlement of the issue. In this analysis, U.S. administration and CIA agreed with Pakistan. (12) In this phase of Pakistan’s Afghan policy, there were many internal and external factors which were at play. Pakistani decision makers were not independent in charting their course about Afghanistan. During the Soviet occupation, Pakistan was not sure that a united Afghan resistance (even if it was possible) would be in Pakistan’s interest. Zia-ul-Haq who was a witness to Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) emergence as a strong force in Lebanon and especially Jordan (he was the member of Pakistan’s military mission assigned to Jordan and participated in the September1970 clash between Palestinian guerrillas and Jordanian forces) had latent fears that a united Afghan resistance could become a PLO-like monster, which may threaten its creator. In addition, an independent Afghan leadership saddled in the trans-border sensitive area could create a common cause with independent minded Pushtuns of Pakistan that could destabilize the western frontiers. (13) In addition, at that time, no one really thought that the ragtag Afghan fighters would be able to push the Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. They were mainly seen as a force, which would not allow complete pacification of the country by Soviets, thus increasing the cost of occupation. The phrase that the United States and Pakistan were willing to fight to the last bullet and the last Afghan had its origin in this policy. To date there is no evidence that a well thought out strategic Afghan policy was formulated by the highest decision makers of Pakistan looking at both the military and the political aspect. Pakistan, by controlling the flow of money and arms had control over Peshawar based Pushtun dominated resistance groups. However, many educated elite, supporters of former King Zahir Shah and many other independent minded Afghan commanders tried their best to overcome Pakistan’s dominance over the whole project. They lobbied in Europe, Washington and complained to the visiting delegations of analysts and Congressmen about ISI corruption and advocated more direct American involvement. By 1985, they began to understand that ‘one way to lobby for weapons and power – and to outflank ISI’s controlling Brigadiers - was to build their own independent relationships in Washington and Riyadh’.(14) Internal feuding among different Afghan factions, active manipulation by Pakistani intelligence to put Afghans not in line with Pakistan’s policy in their proper place and emergence of different sources of patronage created the confusion which would continue throughout the resistance struggle. On part of the ISI, they were deeply suspicious of many Afghan resistance groups. They never trusted Massoud since his announcement of temporary truce with Soviets in 1983 and used this argument with their CIA counterparts to cut him off completely. A former head of Afghan Bureau of ISI Brigadier Syed Raza Ali later in an interview referring to Massoud stated that, ‘He set a policy of local cease-fire’ and therefore ‘so a man who’s working against the Afghan war, why should we deal with him?’ (15) In their decision about the supply of money and weapons, ISI argued that they were giving more weapons to those who were fighting more efficiently. This argument was used to justify decreasing supply to independent commanders. In this phase, the major success of Pakistan was to keep the Americans at bay in Pakistan and limit their independent interaction with Afghan resistance as much as possible. (16) For various reasons, CIA accepted this arrangement although they tried to have independent links with Afghans.(17) In this phase of the operations, CIA and US diplomats in Islamabad were of the view that it was in America’s interest to accept a Pakistani sphere of influence in Afghanistan. The most negative impact was Pakistan’s support of Afghan resistance to carry out urban bombings, assassinations and indiscriminate rocket attacks on Kabul city causing deaths of numerous innocent civilians. (18) Exotic explosives and timing devices provided by CIA helped in this while CIA was able to keep its hands clean.(19) Many ordinary Afghans blamed Pakistan for this round of indiscriminate violence.
Bitter Harvest After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the deadly phase of internal struggle among various Afghan groups started. Pakistan was a major player in this phase of the war also. However, significant involvement of U.S., British and Saudi intelligence in Pakistan and Afghanistan complicated the picture. On the other hand, the newly independent Central Asian Republics bordering Afghanistan (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan), Russia, Iran and India got involved in Afghanistan further confusing the picture. By 1990, the failure of resistance groups to topple Najibullah resulted in a review of the policy. Although the main thrust was towards a military solution but the civilian government of Benazir Bhutto had also favored a political process to bring different factions together. Benazir, suspicious about the political role of the ISI, brought a retired officer Lt. General Shams Ur Rahman Kallu to head the agency. However, Kallu was successfully blocked out by his own agency and army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg. These internal intrigues and struggle for control of Afghan policy affected the overall operation. In addition, the State Department under an interagency Afghan group (it was led by Peter Tomsen and other members included Chief of Near East division of CIA Thomas Twetten, Richard Haas from National Security Council and delegates from Pentagon and sections of State Department) decided to strengthen the Afghan commanders inside Afghanistan. This effort by the State Department opened a new channel of money and guns to commanders. (20) Two meetings of National Commanders Shura in Paktia and Kunar alarmed the ISI who saw this as an effort to outflank them. They tried to break away some of these commanders and invited Massoud to Islamabad for a meeting. Later, ISI opened channels of negotiations with Najib and former King Zahir Shah. (21) In 1992, when Russia cut Najibullah off, a race for Kabul started. In Peshawar, ISI Chief Lieutenant General Asad Durrani and Saudi intelligence Chief Prince Turki al-Faisal with the help of some Saudi religious scholars unsuccessfully tried to bring feuding Afghans to agree to a transitional government. Hikmatyar, sitting with his fighters in Kabul’s suburb of Chaharasyab had cut a deal with Interior Ministry communists and expected to ride into Kabul as a victor. Massoud outsmarted all his opponents when his allies in Kabul got control of the airport and within hours Dostum’s Uzbek militiamen were pouring out of the transport planes to take control of the city. A frustrated and angry Hikmatyar lobbed rockets at Kabul while his fighters were chased out of Kabul.(22) From 1992 to 1996, Afghanistan was in total chaos where regional warlords and bandits were on the ascendancy making the life of citizens a living hell. Murders, lootings, extortion and rapes were rampant all over the country where warlords held sway over their swaths of territories. Then a storm started from the south of the country and very quickly overtook the country. The phenomenon of the emergence of Taliban baffled the world and surprised many observers. So little was known about this new Pushtun militia that was dominated by scholars and students of religious schools (madrassas), that a flurry of theories emerged to explain the movement. Some saw it as the response of a frustrated sincere group of Afghans who wanted to get rid of the anarchy while others saw them as another tool of the Pakistani intelligence subsidized by Saudi and U.S. intelligence. The movement was an indigenous phenomenon, which was quickly embraced by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to secure their own interests. The visible involvement of ISI and other segments of Pakistani government with the Taliban convinced everybody that they were the creation of Pakistani intelligence to serve its interest in the country. (23) The relationship between Pakistan and Taliban was the result of evolution of a complex set of events which occurred in both countries at that particular time. In 1993, after the sacking of the Nawaz Sharif government, army chief Abdul Waheed Kakar sacked DG ISI Lt. General Javed Nasir and appointed Lt. General Javed Ashraf Qazi to ‘cleanse’ the spy agency. A large number of officers, including those in the Afghan Bureau were retired or posted back to their units. However, many of them found their way back on the Afghan scene as military attaches and consulars in different cities of Afghanistan. The raging civil war centered on Kabul had frustrated Pakistani hopes of peace in the country. The civilian government of Benazir was thinking about a land link with the newly independent Central Asian Republics and the route through southern Afghanistan was the shortest, although infested with rapacious warlords. Pakistani policy makers thought that this new Pushtun militia based in the south might help unite Pushtuns and clear southern approach. Initially, Pakistan supplied fuel and gave some trade concessions to the Taliban. However, gradually the relationship grew rapidly as Taliban started to expand to other cities. The fall of Herat to Taliban indicated that the new militia might be able to take over the country. At that stage, Pakistan being under the sanctions imposed by the U.S. didn’t have any extra money to fund this adventure at its western borders. Pakistan introduced Taliban as a new stabilizing force to Saudis. In early 1995, Ahmad Badeeb, Chief of Staff to Saudi intelligence Chief Prince Turki al-Faisal visited Kandahar and later Turki met with Taliban representative Mullah Muhammad Rabbani in Islamabad. Mukhabarat and ISI relationships increased as now Saudi money was coming for the Afghan policy of Pakistan. (24) The Saudi connection with Taliban continued until they broke on the issue of Osama Bin Laden. Nawaz Sharif and later General Musharraf, coming under increasing international pressure unsuccessfully tried to influence the Taliban to moderate their policies on certain issues. The result was increasing frustration of Pakistanis but at the same time they had to keep engaged with them, as they had no other option. It was only after the September 11 catastrophe that Pakistan had to finally break the link with Taliban. Afghans are well known for their deal making but at the same time they are fiercely independent and many foreigners who had dealt with them had come to grief when they thought they could simply dictate to Afghans. Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf and Gulbaddin Hikmatyar had received large amounts of money and weapons form Saudi Arabia and direct patronage by Saudis helped their stature among resistance groups. However, during the First Gulf war in 1991, both of them denounced Saudi Arabia and supported Saddam Hussain. Hikmatyar had the audacity to go back to Saudi Arabia asking for help when the Taliban exiled him. Similarly, Pakistan was disappointed by many of its Afghan protégés frequently. Many of them refused to take Pakistani dictation and even ridiculed ISI officers who were assigned to them when the later tried to give them military advice. The Taliban refused to accept the Durand Line between two countries as the international boundary. On October 07, 1999, DG ISI Lieutenant General Khawaja Ziauddin Butt flew to Kandahar and confronted Mullah Omar with evidence of presence of training camps of extremist Sunni outfits that were involved in killing of Shias in Pakistan. He gave Ziauddin the cold shoulder telling him to go back to Pakistan to find the terrorist training camps there, as Afghanistan had none. (25) Similarly, in 2000-2001 Major General Faiz Jeelani of ISI would go to Kandahar to deal with the tricky issues. When Interior Minister retired Lieutenant General Moinuddin Haider was holding meeting with Mullah Omar complaining about Pakistani extremists hiding in Afghanistan, one of Omar’s aid took a Pakistani official aside and asked: ‘Does he really know what he is talking about, he is clueless about what is going on’.(26) Different Afghan factions made and broke alliances with such a dizzying speed that no one could make any sense of it. All Afghan factions who were killing each other with impunity also kept back channels open with their mortal enemies and willing to make a deal any moment. ‘The persistence of such back channels between opposing factions bedeviled their foreign sponsors throughout the post-Najibullah period, stymieing every attempt to orchestrate events on the ground according to the rules of hard-and-fast alliance’. (27) This factor not only puzzled their many Pakistani handlers but caused much resentment and anger when a particular individual or group, while taking everything from cash and weapons snubbed Pakistanis whenever the chance rose. In this, Afghans took advantage by aligning with different power centers in Pakistan.
Conclusion:After September 11, 2001, the international geo-strategic situation changed so quickly with focus on Afghanistan that Pakistan had to make a hasty retreat due to the compelling situation. After the completion of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan had time to think about the future course. It seems that the military brass is of the view that sooner or later the Americans will leave Afghanistan. They fear that then Afghanistan will divide on ethnic lines. In that case they want to have some control over Pushtuns of Afghanistan to prevent destabilization of their western border. Even if Afghanistan does not fragment, Pakistan’s genuine concern for a friendly Pushtun dominated regime in Kabul is a constant, which has not changed regardless of the religious factor and international changes. Like all other decisions of the country, Pakistan’s foreign policy is also a highly personalized affair. ‘The result of such highly personalized nature of the operation is the fact that when the person involved is gone, there is no continuity of the policy’ with ‘no organized coherent effort on the policy issues taking into account military, diplomatic, social and economic aspects of the conflict’. (28) Competition among various individuals and groups and more stress on intrigue rather than a well thought out plan prevented the emergence of a coherent policy towards Afghanistan. The central theme of Pakistan’s Afghan policy is the national security concern of securing the western border by having a sympathetic Pushtun government. This has not changed over decades. The policy, which Pakistan adopted in different times, resulted in events, which Pakistan could not comprehend fully, let alone control effectively. The result was that repeatedly, Pakistani decision makers found themselves in tough situations where they fully appreciated the dangers of the given policy but thought that there was no other alternative but to push through the given policy. In this, they never planned for control of unintended consequences of their Afghan policy, which were not limited to two countries but had wider regional and international repercussions. In the past, Pakistan attempted to address its genuine national security concerns through a policy of supporting its proxies with the hope that they will safeguard its interests. This was a wrong assumption, as never in the history of Afghanistan has any foreign power been able to achieve it. Recently, there was some deterioration of relations between two countries with firing between border guards and verbal assaults by diplomats of both countries. Afghan officials frustrated at the violence in border provinces protested publicly to Pakistan when Pakistan didn’t respond to their earlier concerns. (29) The United States, Afghanistan and Iran have to understand and accommodate some genuine security concerns of Pakistan. This is must for regional stability. A continuous dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan at different levels is must so that mutual concerns are discussed and ways found to overcome difficulties. Both countries have to accommodate each other. In the last two years, India, using its good relations with the Northern Alliance commanders has opened consulates in Mazar Sharif, Qandahar, Herat and Jalalabad. This has alarmed Pakistan and it views these developments as a newly emerging threat on the western borders. (30) The Afghan government and U.S. administration has to understand Pakistan’s genuine concerns about rapidly increasing influence of India in Afghanistan. While it is up to the Afghans to decide what is best for them, however they have to understand Pakistan’s genuine concerns and address them to improve relations and prevent misunderstandings and problems. Afghanistan itself is a long way from stability and it will need the help of Pakistan, which will be crucial. On the part of Pakistan, the policy makers, especially the military leadership has to come to grip with a changed international environment. While it has to safeguard its security interest on western borders and prevent upheaval among its border tribes, it has to be realistic in its objectives and need not to overstretch beyond its capabilities and position itself for hegemony over Afghanistan. Notes: 1- quoted in Steve Coll. Ghost Wars: The secret history of CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Ladin, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), p. 1752- Abdul Samad Ghaus. The Fall of Afghanistan: An Insider’s Account (London: Pergamon-Brassey’s International Defense Publishers, 1988), p. 713- for details of this mutual acrimony see Ghaus. The Fall of Afghanistan, p. 69-724- for details of this aspect see Henry S. Bradsher. Afghanistan and the Soviet Union (Durham: Duke University Press, 1985 New & expanded edition), p. 20-24 & 27-28 and Ghaus. The Fall of Afghanistan, p. 74-75 & 90-925- Ghaus. The Fall of Afghanistan, p. 906- Author’s interview with a Pakistani source close to this event, July 20047- for details of this see Anthony Hyman. Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination 1964-81 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982), p. 68-698- Author’s interview with a Pakistani source close to these events and with first hand knowledge of details of the operation, July 20049- Author’s interview with a Pakistani source close to these contacts, July 200410- for details of these operations see Hamid Hussain. United States-Pakistan Relations - Myths and Realities. Defence Journal, November 2003), p. 15-2111- Author’s interview with a senior army officer who served as Corps Commander at that time, 200212- for details of the complex relationship between CIA and ISI see Hamid Hussain. Forgotten Ties: CIA, ISI & Taliban. CovertAction Quarterly, No: 71, Spring 2002, p. 3-513- David B. Edwards. Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad (Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 2002), p. 26214- Coll. Ghost Wars, p. 101 & 130-3115- quoted in Coll. Ghost Wars, p. 11916- Mohammad Yousaf & Mark Adkin. The Bear Trap: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (Lahore: Jang Publishers, 1993, Fifth Edition), p. 8117- for details of this aspect, see Hamid Hussain. United States-Pakistan Relations - Myths & Realities, p. 16-1718- for details of these see Yousaf & Adkin. The Bear Trap, p. 146-4719- for details see George Crile. Charlie Wilson’s War (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003), p. 335 & 34920- Coll. Ghost Wars, p. 207-8 & 22521- Author’s interviews with two Pakistani sources close to these negotiations, October 2002, July 200422- Coll. Ghost Wars, p. 235-3723- for details of Pakistan and Taliban connection see Imtiaz Gul. The Unholy Nexus: Pak-Afghan Relations Under The Taliban (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 2002) and Ahmed Rashid. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 200024- Coll. Ghost Wars, p. 294-9625- Author’s interview with a source familiar with the incident, October 200226- Gul. The Unholy Nexus, p. 4927- Michael Griffin. Reaping The Whirl Wind: The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan (London: Pluto Press, 2001), p. 10628- Hamid Hussain. Time For Reflection: Pakistan’s Afghanistan Policy. Defence Journal, December 2001, p. 4929- Author’s interview with a Pakistani source close to events in Afghanistan, January 200430- for details of this concern on part of Pakistan see Hamid Hussain. Shifting Sands of Afghanistan. Defence Journal, November 2003

Love Thy Neighbor; Kill Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor; Kill Thy Neighbor - Part 1