Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Objectifying the Pakhtun
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Farhat Taj

Some people on the editorial pages of The News have have fantasies in which they objectify the Pakhtun. It is as if the Pakhtuns do not human needs, constraints and concerns but are objects programmed to behave in line with the fantasies of these people. Two of the people are Admiral (retired) Fasih Bukhari (Dec 15) and Zeenia Satti's article "Dangerous vacuum" (Dec 16).

in "Let's get our act together in South Asia," Mr Bukhari writes that in Afghanistan the coalition forces' "Operation Lion Heart" against Pathan supporters of the Afghan Taliban in NWFP "is an obvious reference to the third Christian Crusade of Richard II of England against Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi: obviously calculated to arouse anger in the highly religious tribesmen."

It is a fantasy that "Operation Lion Heart" will arouse Pakhtun tribesmen's anger. The connotation has nothing to do with the current realities of the Pakhtuns and their history, because the Crusades are not an episode in Pakhtun history. With a literacy rate of 17 percent among men and 3 percent among women in the tribal areas, most tribesmen and -women have little knowledge of the history of far away lands. However, the tribal people do have knowledge of Pakhtun history. For example, many tribal people would know something about the Pakhtun history of resistance to the Muslim Mughal Empire and the British Empire. I asked 411 tribesmen and -women in different places in the tribal areas to tell me how much they know about Richard II. Not a single man or woman knew who he was--including some individuals educated up to the level of MA. Only five people had heard about the Crusades (Salibi Jangey). Three of them had no idea about the geographic and ethnic identity of the peoples who participated in the Crusades. They just said that the Crusades were wars between Muslims and Christian somewhere in the world.

So how can the Americans provoke the "highly religious tribesmen" by naming their operation "Lion Heart"? Rather, the Americans were provoking, if indeed they were, the Arab militants holed up in the tribal areas.

Secondly, not all tribesmen are "highly religious." Pakhtun tribal society is like any other human society. Some individuals are highly religious but others are moderately so. Mostly, Pakhtun men and women live according to their Rewaj (Custom) not religion; religion is an important part of the Rewaj, but not the entire Rewaj.

Ms Satti writes that the Pakistani Taliban "have already benefited from the CIA's drone attacks. After each attack, the incumbents, entrusted with guarding the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan, are seen sitting on their plush sofas, doing effete 'muzammat'--while the Taliban are seen destroying NATO vehicles and firing at the drones. This has endeared them to NWFP residents, despite the Taliban's having caused the attacks, in the first place."

This statement is a wild fantasy when seen through the realities of the people of the NWFP. They are sick and tired of the Taliban. The Taliban have killed innocent people--men, women, children--they have destroyed the educational institutions in the area, devastated businesses and shattered the peace there. The Taliban even exhume and humiliate the dead bodies. The Army, an institution always respected by the people of the NWFP, is losing its prestige in the eyes of the people of the area for being seen as unable or unwilling to crush the Taliban. Despite all this, Ms Satti believes that the Taliban have become the darling of the NWFP people. Which NWFP is the writer talking about? The real NWFP, the federating unit of Pakistan, or some imaginary NWFP in the fantasies of the writer? What is the writer's source of information?

I sent the writer an email on Dec 17 and asked the following questions:

1. For whom does the Taliban's behaviour have an emotive appeal?

2) Could you explain a bit what you mean by "while the Taliban are seen destroying NATO vehicles and firing at the drones. This has endeared them to NWFP residents"?

3) When was the last time you were in the NWFP?

4) Are you from the NWFP or FATA?

The writer never replied to the email. One of my friends also sent her an email asking more or less the same questions. The writer never replied to this friend either. Perhaps the writer did not receive our emails, or perhaps she deliberately chose to ignore them. If we had received a response, we would have had a better idea of the logic behind her statement. Several people of the NWFP with whom I discussed her article expressed strong disagreement. One described it as "bizarre, naive and irresponsible."

I would request both Mr Bukhari and Zeenia Satti to check the bases of their assumptions about the Pakhtun areas against the concrete realities of the area, its people and their history before writing about them.

The writer is a research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo. Email:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hanging a dead pir

The News
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Farhat Taj

Pir Samiullah of Swat was reportedly encouraged by the army stationed in Swat to raise a lashkar against the Taliban. This invoked the rage of the Taliban who besieged him for days in his village. The army never showed up to help and finally he was killed. The Taliban exhumed his body and hung it in a public place for several hours.

What the Taliban did to the pir's body is tantamount to a kick to the face of civilisation. The Taliban, who had done the same with the body of Dr Najibullah, the former president of Afghanistan, will most probably do it again if given the opportunity.

As far as I know Pakhtun history has never seen such kicks to the face of civilisation, although a greater part of it has been a history of armed conflicts. This changed with the arrival of the holy warriors--the Mujahideen and Taliban.

The Pakhtun Taliban, it seems to me, have appropriated such means of disgrace from the history of their Arabs and Central Asians colleagues. The Umayad caliphs dug up graves of their opponents, exhumed bodies, put them on trial and hanged them.

What happened to Pir Samiullah's body is a dangerous symbolism, because to many people in Swat the disrespect to it was wilfully permitted by the Army. One person said: "The Army did not fire a single bullet while 300-400 of Taliban were firing at the Pir's supporters in Matta tehsil. When the Army knew that Taliban fighters had gathered in their hundreds, why didn't they take action?'

I have been in contact with a number of people from Swat, who complain that the Taliban terrorise and slaughter people and exhume dead bodies, but the Army is nowhere to protect them. They argued that the army is backing the Taliban. One person even said that the commander of the military operation in Swat sends Rs10 million every month to the Swat Taliban leader, Maulana Fazalullah, so he would not harm the army, and do whatever they want with the people and culture of Swat.

Many people who know the geography of the area believe that the military is capable of beating the Taliban by simply besieging their headquarters from three different directions--from the Matta and Madyan tehsil and from lower Dir. This will disrupt the Taliban's logistics and ultimately force them to surrender. The people of Matta had distributed sweets when the military arrived there.

Local residents complain that while the military has killed hundreds of civilians, it has killed only a few hardcore Taliban. The brother of a serving minister of the NWFP, who was in the police and was well-known for standing up to the Taliban, was killed in broad daylight in Mingora, and the perpetrators succeeded in escaping. How then can the people believe that the military is serious in its operation against the Taliban? The result is that an increasingly people in Swat see the Taliban and the Army as two sides of the same coin.

To crosscheck the views of the local people I had a long discussions with two Army offers, a colonel and a major. (Neither was stationed in Swat but the said they were aware of the situation of their colleagues in Swat.) They denied any notion of the army supporting the Taliban. They emphasised that the militants hid among the civilian population and the Army had to move very carefully to avoid civilian damage. They said the Army is constrained by its sensitivity to media reaction: there is media uproar when civilians are killed in military operations and almost complete silence when militants kill civilians. They also pointed out that the civil administration has abandoned the people of Swat. There is almost no one in areas cleared by the army--the police or the administration--to resume routine work. They also said that Army commanders in Swat had requested key federal and provincial political leaders to come to areas cleared by it, under full military protection, to restore the confidence of the people of Swat in the government and the Army, but to no avail.

Following my meeting with the two army officers I also met an NWFP journalist who had had had long discussions with the military commanders in Swat. The journalist more or less confirmed the views expressed by the two army officers.

There seem to be a lack of confidence between the Army in Swat and the politicians and this is to the disadvantage of the people of Swat. The two sides have to remove the lack of confidence in each other if they wish to retain respect among the people of Swat, who now feel abandoned by both the army and the political leaders.

The media should be robust in its response to the violence used by the Taliban. Many people in Swat also believe they have been abandoned by the media as well. One person told me he had been contacting famous media persons like, Hamid Mir, Kamran Khan and Dr Shahid Masood to as them to highlight in their TV shows the daily violence committed by the Taliban, but none of them ever replied.

Any civilised society would have come to a complete standstill upon an incident like the disrespect to the dead body of Pir Samiullah. But in Pakistan it has been business as usual. When the holy warriors insulted the dead body of Dr Najibullah the society in Pakistan remained indifferent. Now this act of disrespect has been committed well inside Pakistan--Swat has no border with Afghanistan. I am afraid that in future such acts could be repeating themselves in Lahore and Islamabad. People across Pakistan must send--for their self-interest, if not for moral reasons--a strong message to the Taliban that their brutal means of violence are not acceptable. Otherwise, we must be ready to see more such kicks to the face of civilisation in our country.

The writer is a research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo. Email:
Also see:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

شيرين يار يوسفزے

ماته ياد شی اے وطنه
ماته ياد شی او وطنه ----------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړه باندې پراتۀ دی------------- هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه
هغه زۀ چې يو ماشوم وم
زۀ به پروت وم پۀ ځانګو کښې
پۀ ځولۍ کښې کله ترخ کښې
ډېر پۀ ناز او پۀ نخرو کښې
ماته مور به الله هو وې
دَ اواز خوږو چپو کښې
خور او ورور للې للو وې
ترنم او پۀ نغمو کښې
لۀ دې پس شوم پۀ خپوړو
او بيا ساه راغے پاپو کښې
ما وهلې به بيا منډې
ستا پۀ پولو پۀ پټو کښې
پۀ تکل دَ تاروګو به
ګرځېدمه پۀ واخو کښې
يا مشغول به ووم پۀ لوبو
چرته ګټو پۀ ټيکرو کښې
چې رابره به سپوږمۍ شوه-------- ماغوښتل به ترې ممونه
پټ پټوڼی نه دَ ستورو ------------اخستل به مې خوندونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه --------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی ------------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه
ستا پۀ کلو پۀ بانډو کښې
هلکان چې به ټولګی وو
پۀ رنګ رنګ له هغه لوبې
ښۀ پۀ درز به ماښامی وو
يا به لوبه وه دَ سيو
ښۀ تاو شوی به لنډی وو
يا به لوبه مو دَ پاڼې
يا انګۍ کښې به ملی وو
يا جور کړی ې وادونه
دَ ګوډۍ او ګوډاګی وو
هم ې لوبې دَ موسَيّو
پۀ چيندرو کؤې الګوډی وو
يا داوونه پۀ ميرګاټو
''يا ونی'' او ''دووَنی''
چې به جوړ شو پۀ حجره کښې --------دَزلمو دوه طرفونه
يا دَ مخې ګوزارونه ---------------يا ټيکونه، اکوړونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه -------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی ------------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه
هغه ستا پۀ للمو،دشتو
چې به راغلۀ بهارونه
ټوکېدلی به غانټول وو
او لاله هم سرۀ مخونه
کله شين کله باران به
ځانله ځانله ې خوندونه
کۀ به جوړ دَ بودۍ ټال شو
دَ قدرت؛جمع رنګونه
هم اباد دې ګودرونه
مستې جونه قطارونه
پۀ ترخونو کښې منګی ئې
پۀ يو بل باندې ټېلونه
يا پۀ سيند کښې شازلميانو
چې پۀ مټ به کړۀ جالونه
پۀ مهيانو پسې چَړ کښې
پۀ څپياکو ګوزارونه
چې سيند غاړې ته پۀ اوړی-----------اچول به مو سپرونه
پۀ چپو کښې به تارۍ وې------------ تش بازو او شنازونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه ---------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی -------------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه هر ماښام هغه مابڼ ته
دَ مارغانو تلۀ سېلونه
پۀ اسمان کښې به روانې
هغه زاڼې قطارونه
پۀ بېلو کښې سرخابانو
چې به ونيؤل ناوُونه
پۀ ميره کښې چې به خراړو
راچېړل دَ زيل سُرونه
دَ طوطيانو،ښاروګانو
پۀ هر بڼ کښې اوازونه
دَ زرکانو ،طاؤسانو
هغه کړيکې او چړَ کونه
يا لۀ جاړو ترنګؤل چې
تاروګانو خپل تارونه
پۀ نارو به وُو تنزری
دَ مړز پِچ پړَ کونه
چې نغمې وې دَ بلبلو----------دَکوئل خواږۀ کُوکُونه
څنګه ډک وُو لۀ سروده-----------سحرونه،ماښامونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه----------هغه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی--------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه
هغه دنګ او اوچت غرونه
تر اسمانه ئې سَرونه
پۀ لمن کښې ئې غوزان وُو
پۀ سرونو نخترونه
ګرځېدل ئې سردرو کښې
دَ زمريانو کنډکونه
دانګېدلې غرڅنۍ به
شړړېدل به ابشارونه
پۀ هوا شيکری،باښې وې
پۀ غوټو به وُو بازونه
خزندو او درندو نه
سوړې ډکې هم غارونه
دمه شپه کښې راؤښکل به
شرمخانو اوازونه
پړقېدۀ به اورَ کی-هم
دَ پېريانو لاټينونه
چې جهان پرې ښائېسته وو-----------دَفطرت بلا رانګونه
زما سترګو کښې ځَلېږی-----------دَ حيات واړه عکسونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه--------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی------------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه
هغه موج اماج دَ زمکو
دَ هرچا زميندارې وې
پرې اباد وُو ارټونه
دَ هرچا قلبې،جوړې وې
دَ اسانو او غويانو
جوړ زغلونه او مېلې وې
ښۀ چيکار چيکار کندوان وو
ښې پرېوانه به غلې وې
وو محدود ضرورتونه
پۀ توڼۍ کښې څو توښې وې
بې ضَرر دَ خاورو لوښی
کۀ دوڼۍ،کټوۍ،کاسې وې
يو توشک،يوه شړۍ وه
کڼاوې وې او پڼې وې
دَ ژوندون اوږې وې سپکې
ملازې وې نۀ نخرې وې
چې پۀ لو او پۀ غوبل به----------------لګېدلی اشرونه
دَ يو بل پۀ کار راتلۀ به------------وُو دا هسې عالمونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی----------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه
هغه ډکه به حجره وه
سره ټول درانۀ پګونه
ښې درَنې درَنې کاټۍ وې
ښۀ دراز دراز قدونه
پۀ پټکو کښې شملې لکې
پۀ څنګ تورې،ټوپکونه
ګرځېدل به تاو برېتونه
دَ غَيرت او ننګ مړونه
پۀ جرګو هَوارَول ئې
ټول خندونه، جنجالونه
لاس پۀ نام ورته کسبيان وو
پۀ چکر ئې چېلمونه
ماسخوتن به دَ زلميانو
پۀ حجرو کښې محفلونه
دَ منګی هغه ټنګونه
پۀ رېلو ئې ربابونه
چې دَ خوند او دَ وقار وو------------ښکلی واړه ساعتونه
مينه مينه ورورولی وه--------------کشالې وې نۀ جنګونه
ماته ياد شی اے وطنه---------------همه تېر زاړۀ وختونه
زما زړۀ باندې پراتۀ دی------------هغه ډېر خواږۀ يادونه

Barbarism in Swat

Barbarism in Swat
By Khurshid Khan, Dawn, December 25, 2008

SWAT’S Sangota Public School was blown to smithereens on Oct 7, 2008 — a dark day in the history of the area.

This convent school was established in 1964 by Miangul Jahanzeb, popularly known as Wali sahib, the last ruler of Swat who not only donated land for the school but also provided generous financial aid for its construction and operations. It was renowned for its quality of education in the entire Malakand region.

This epitome of architectural perfection was situated in a beautiful and enchanting location on the left bank of the meandering and bounteous Swat river, spreading the light of education. Most of the teachers were Irish nuns who had devoted their lives to educating Swat’s children. They arrived in the bloom of their youth and returned in the autumn of their lives. They also educated the young girls in neighbouring villages and hamlets, without any thought of financial gains, teaching them the same courses as were being taught in the school in the morning.

A co-education system was in place until the 1990s but after the establishment of Excelsior College, the boys were shifted there and from then onwards only girls were admitted to this prestigious school. The school was closed on the DCO Swat’s orders because of the turbulence and volatile atmosphere in Swat much against the wishes of the students’ parents. The school administration decided to vacate the premises and as soon as it was vacated, it was razed to the ground by militants the next day, as was the premises of Excelsior College.

The first school in Swat was established in 1922 by Miangul Abdul Wadood. Both boys and girls were educated here until the primary level. It was not until 1926 when a separate school was established for girls. His successor Miangul Jehanzeb established a network of schools and colleges in the whole of Swat, Buner, Shanglapar and Indus-Kohistan which were then a part of the Swat state.

Education was not only encouraged but free. Scholarships were awarded and students were sent to western countries for higher education. Those who completed their education were given attractive employment. Thanks to these incentives, people swarmed to Swat for education. Students from Dir, Chitral, Malakand, Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi and other parts of the country turned to Swat for education.

After the merger of Swat state in 1969, several other schools and colleges in the public sector were opened, especially girls’ schools and colleges. Private schools also emerged. Gradually, Swat came to be regarded as a centre of learning by adjoining districts. But this evolution of education was strangulated by the militants in 2007 and 2008. Swat is now being pushed back to the pre-1922 period. Even then there were no militants who destroyed their own people.

Adjoining districts Shangla, Buner and Dir have suffered equally adverse effects. The people of these areas sent their children to Swat for education but now they are compelled to send their children to Peshawar, even to Punjab, where expenses are comparatively high.

Meanwhile, back to the Sangota Public School. The religious extremists and rival private schools generated negative propaganda against it but parents were not taken in by these rumours and continued to send their children to school there. They knew that not a single student had been converted to Christianity.

The people of the nearby villages looted the furniture, libraries, computers and other precious accessories of Sangota Public School and Excelsior College after their destruction declaring it war booty. The vandalism and looting continued all day. Security forces stationed in the overlooking mountains watched this humiliating process but still remained silent and unmoved. Eyewitnesses say that even if the forces had fired in the air, the looting would have stopped.

Taliban spokesperson Muslim Khan in a BBC interview alleged that the school had been following a co-educational system and was also preaching Christianity. Therefore, its signs had to be obliterated. But what about the scores of other schools where there was no linkage whatsoever with co-education or Christianity? Why were these demolished?

There may be two hidden motives, i.e. to discourage education and increase poverty in Swat. Ignorance and poverty breed extremism and this is actually happening in Swat. Unemployment is on the rise. People are drawn towards militancy because they are given a handsome remuneration for becoming one of the Taliban. State-of-the-art weapons, handsome salaries and the assurance of paradise in the hereafter are some of the temptations that lure the youth.

These young men are the major source of strength and power for militant leaders. Through them militants have succeeded in banishing the influential people of Swat and have compelled political leaders to kneel before them. Police do not dare to patrol the areas and the army is very cautious in its movements and operations here.

The barbaric Huns destroyed the Gandhara civilisation in the 5th century AD and burnt to ashes educational institutions including the university at Taxila. Today, all the laboriously constructed educational institutions are once again the victims of vandalism. Precious cultural antiquities are being destroyed. These barbaric activities are certainly the handiwork of a strange and peculiar mindset.

It is shocking and surprising that as schools and colleges in Swat are being levelled to the ground one after the other, the people do not protest and the government is averse to taking serious action. Parliamentarians are also silent spectators. Their tongues are tied and their hands fastened.

The process of Talibanisation is progressing in Swat. There are many simple-headed people there who either openly or secretly support the movement, all in ignorance and clearing the ground for it. The valley is fertile and all the ingredients of building and maintaining a civilisation are there in abundance. In spite of possessing all these valuable resources, if we still keep silent, then barbarism will certainly replace civilisation in the valley.

One hopes that the demolition of educational institutions, especially of girls’ schools, does not mean that the people of Swat will stop educating their children. After all, the wheel of time is not meant to reverse its direction; it must move forward.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pakhtunkhwa vs Punjab

Pakhtunkhwa vs politicians!
M Waqar
The Frontier Post
Monday, December 22, 2008
I was shocked to read some news reports and statements of PML(N) leaders over the name Pakhtunkhwa and it seems like they are generating new issue of hate and divide in this province. Let's not make it a political issue. One should not politicize an issue for own interest.I see no reason for denying Pukhtoons the legitimate name of their province on the grounds that this will increase ethnic tension. On the contrary, if anything, it will defuse the existing tension. Let's not forget what happened to East Pakistan when West Pakistan denied them their right of Bengali language. The problem is Pakistani politicians never learn from history, these politicians need to understand that Pakistan's imposition of Urdu on East Pakistan was a mistake. It seems like some opportunist politicians of PML(N) in the province are trying to create political tension over Pakhtunkhwa. People in Pakhtunkhwa wants to be recognized as a nationality in their own right and for this they want their living place to be given their name Pakhtunkhwa. Why can Punjabis have Punjab, Sindhis Sindh, Baluchis Balochistan, but Pakhtuns can't have Pakhtoonkhwa? why Pakhtoon are being treated like occupied Palestine who will breakaway at the first chance.? and if do decide to break off, trust me with all its might, Pakistan can't prevent that. Pakistan couldn't beat Bengalis into submission and it can never force Pakhtuns into submission. Its stupid that some people who consider themselves super patriotic imply that Pakhtuns are any less patriotic than themselves. Let me remind those self-declared super Pakistanis that Punjab did not have any option except joining Pakistan. Punjab had to join Pakistan. But we Pakhtuns had a choice to join our brothers in Afghanistan, with whom we share not only our ancestry but our culture, our history, our tradition, and our language, but Pakhtuns decided to stay with Pakistan. How can someone from Punjab or Sindh or any other part of Pakistan give us a lecture on patriotism? I think these people are the one who needs a lesson in patriotism, because by suppressing minorities right and denying them their identity they are weakening Pakistan NOT Pakhtuns. Its tragic that Pakistani politicians did NOT learn any lesson from history. Bengalis were at the forefront in the struggle for Pakistan but when Pakistan suppressed them and denied them their rights and their identity what happened? We all know the end result. By calling Bengalis traitors because they demanded their rights they were converted into traitors. Alas we could learn from history because if we don't, history is doomed to repeat itself. Acceptance of history is a good sign, no wonder, but learning no lesson from it is unforgivable. Please someone help me to understand how renaming NWFP is gonna break Pakistan or divide people in this province? And please don't give me the crap about patriotism and Islamic unity. Whats wrong with Pakhtuns having their identity in Pakistan like Punjabis, Sindhis, and Balochis? It's the politicians who are making mess over the name not the people living in this province. Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan are border provinces too why they are not called, east-south, north-east or south-west provinces why these provinces are called with identity of race residing inside that territory? We are unanimous on one thing that people from this province are all pathan if all are not Pashtun. So please take back the British name and give us our own name. The usage of Pakhtunkhwa in Pakhto poetry dates back to the middle ages. The word is a combination of two words - that is Pakhtun and Khwa. Pakhtun or Pashtun is a noun while Khwa means side. Culturally there is no doubt that the land was called Pakhtunkhwa in Pushtu literature since 15th century .The word Pakhtunkhwa was also used in the modern poetry by contemporary poets like Qalandar Momand (1930-2003) long before it was suggested as the nomenclature for the NWFP. The name NWFP is certainly a misnomer today since it does not satisfy the aspirations of the people of the province. Three of the four provinces the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, got their own identity either through their environment or inhabitants. But the NWFP has been named neither after the historical and cultural background of the inhabitants nor derived its name from environment. Since the name (NWFP) does not reflect the true ethnic identity of its inhabitants, therefore a demand for its change is a logical consequence but unfortunately the matter has turned into a controversial issue again by so-called politicians. Those opposing the word Pakhtunkhwa argue that the name will not represent non Pashto speaking population of the province. The argument is unjustified and impractical. There is hardly any country in the world which does not have ethnic minorities. Even in Pakistan; Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan have large number of people who do not speak the language their names ostensibly suggest. The 74 percent population of NWFP speaks Pashto as mother language in present day NWFP and the proportion will greatly increase when FATA will ultimately be merged in the province, choosing a proper name for the province is the fundamental right of its residents. It would help strengthen the federation besides removing the sense of deprivation among people of the smallest province of the country. It is time that politicians belonging to different factions of Muslim League too come out of their mindset and start objectively treating the demands the smaller provinces. It will help us build a stronger and more vibrant federation. Instead of debating again and again over this issue, politicians are wasting their time, they should either spend their time on development of this province or quit politics. There is no need to challenge the Pakhtunkhwa issue as it has been passed with overwhelming majority in the provincial assembly, members of this assembly should discuss how to solve the problems in this province. Renaming the NWFP to Pakhtunkhwa has a long political history in Pakistan. Pakhtuns and nationalist groups, which are passionate about naming their inhabited land after their identity as Pakhtuns, have been demanding change in the province's name for decades. But a number of political groups and opportunist politicians are not in favour of calling NW FP as Pakhtunkhwa and they are trying to divide people. These members of assembly should be discussing creating jobs, hiring police officers, opening new schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and providing clean water and electricity to their voters and keeping province safe, rid Province of violence and terror, generate productive employment for youth, provide education, healthcare, and bring progress to the doorstep of workers, farmers and small businesses, elimination of child labour etc . These are the issues for which people have elected these assembly members to solve.

Friday, December 12, 2008