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Sunday, March 29, 2009

New book on Ghani Khan published

New book on Ghani Khan published
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
KW news

PESHAWAR: Qalam Taqat Literary Society has published a new book about the literary achievements of Ghani Khan, the legendary Pashtun poet and phosphor. It is titled as "Ghani Khan- Da Pukhto Adab da Shalami Sadai Shakhsiat".

It is a thesis by late Fazli Ghani Ghani, the eminent Pashtun writer who was killed when a suicide bomber targeted the house of Asfandyar Wali Khan on October 2, 2008.

Since his college days Fazli Ghani Ghani (Shaheed) was greatly inspired by Ghani Khan's life and works. Being an enlightened nationalist himself Fazli Ghani Ghani always appreciated Ghani Khan's nationalistic fervor, his ecstatic poetry and his deep philosophical thought. A time came that the two Ghanis' found themselves in a stronger bond of mutual trust and friendship.

He was a regular visitor of Ghani Khan's study room where they would sit for hours and would resolve issues of an unseen world.

Based on his interviews with Ghani Khan, the writer delves deep into Ghani Khan's works and discovers him from quite new and refreshing angles. He discusses Ghani Khan's themes of love, Beauty, Truth and Death with the mastery of a prolific writer and seasoned critic.

Many other wrote about Ghani Khan's literary achievements and they wrote pretty well but this thesis written by one of Ghani Khan's most trusted lovers is totally different in its approaches and content. Fazli Ghani Ghani don't rely on accounts written by other people but he himself observes Ghani Khan from a very close angle, talking and laughing with him, learning from him and asking him why is he so different from others?

Literary circles have applauded Azad Hashtnaghri for publishing this original and refreshing thesis by his uncle Fazli Ghani Ghani (Shaheed) that discovers Ghani Khan in his true artistic and philosophical colours.

The book is available from all good book shops in the city.

The News International added;

The book spanning 115 pages is available for Rs100.

Since his college days, Fazli Ghani Ghani (Shaheed) was greatly inspired by Ghani Khan’s life and works. Being an enlightened nationalist himself, Fazli Ghani Ghani always appreciated Ghani Khan’s nationalistic fervour, his ecstatic poetry and his deep philosophical thought. A time came that the two Ghanis found themselves in a stronger bond of mutual trust and friendship. He was a regular visitor to Ghani Khan’s study room where they would sit for hours.

Based on his interviews with Ghani Khan, the writer delves deep into Ghani Khan’s works and discovers him from quite new and refreshing angles. He discusses Ghani Khan’s themes of love, beauty, truth and death with the mastery of a prolific writer and seasoned critic.

Many others wrote about Ghani Khan’s literary achievements and they wrote pretty well but this thesis written by one of Ghani Khan’s most trusted fan is totally different in its approach and contents.

Fazli Ghani Ghani does not rely on accounts written by other people but he himself observes Ghani Khan from a very close angle, talking and laughing with him, learning from him and asking him why is he so different from others?

Literary circles have applauded Azad Hashtnagri for publishing this original and refreshing thesis by his uncle Fazli Ghani Ghani (Shaheed) that discovers Ghani Khan in his true artistic and philosophical colours.

Social and Environmental Impact of Hujra

Social and Environmental Impact of Hujra
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Mughal B. Khan
Government. College of Technology Mingora Swat.
Abdul R. Ghumman
Department of Civil Engineering UET Taxilla.
Hashim N. Hashmi
Department of Civil Engineering UET Taxilla.

The main aim of this paper is to identify the social and environmental impacts of the fall (change) of the hujra culture. Hujra in Swat, Pakistan has been taken as a case study. Its impacts on eco-neighborhood, controlling health hazards, water pollution and disasters have been investigated. These may be beneficial for planners, sociologists and environmentalists. The means adapted in the study include literature review, web search and survey through open-ended questionnaires, field visits and interviews. The study area was divided into various zones. Eleven communities have been studied in different social units. Different age groups and professionals have been included in the survey to know about different views and information. It is concluded that hujra culture used to have more positive and less negative impacts on various aspects of life of people in Swat. aspects of life of people in Swat.
Complete Article:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Nonviolent Philosophy of Bacha Khan, Today and Tomorrow

khyberwatch News

Pakhtoon Thinkers Forum is a Karachi-based Pakhtoon political group which is working on the issues facing by Pakhtoon living in Karachi. PTF always played its vital role in the political arena of Karachi to address and raise the voice on Pakhtun issues by organizing seminars, gatherings, protest, art seminars and Mushairas.

Now we are addressing the seminar entitled “The Nonviolent Philosophy of Bacha Khan, Today and Tomorrow” in the context of the prevailing ongoing Genocide of Pakhtoon in the region in general and threats facing by Pakhtuns in Karachi. We are providing an opportunity to leaders of all partiers to set together in order to discuss and find out a political solution of the problems facing by Pakhtuns.

Program is scheduled as:

When: 4 pm, March 8th, 2009, Sunday

Where: PMA House, Off M.A Jinnah Road, Karachi

Main Speakers;

Dr. Farooq Sattar
Mir Hasil Bezanjo
Nafees Ahmad Siddiqui
Parveen Malal
Salahuddin Gandapoor
Dr. Jabbar Khattak
Dr. Haider Lasharie

You are cordially invited to participate in the program.

Love and Peace

Muhammad Arshad Khan (MAK)

Pakhtoon Thinkers Forum, Karachi
pukhtoonthinkersforum@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

FATA is beyond my domain. CM Pakhtunkhwa

KhyberWatch News

Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti has said that his government will spare no efforts for the enforcement of Nizam-e Adl Regulation, establishment of government’s writ, rehabilitation of the affectees and distribution of payments and reconstruction in Swat. "Swat, Hangu and Dera Ismael Khan are injured parts of my body and to take care of it is my top most responsibility".

Nations are tested and face challenges but alive nations face these challenges generously and appear triumphant. Nizam-e-Adl is the just demand and right of the people of Malakand and for its fulfillment government has taken practical and sincere steps. All the political forces, Ulemas and civil society must assist the government in making these efforts successful. He expressed these views during a forum with BBC Urdu service. On the occasion representatives of people from all section of district Swat, students and senior journalists were also present.
The chief minister reject the perception that the peace accord took place of someone pressure and clarified that Nizam-e Adl Regulation 2009 will be enforced in Malakand Division and peaceful districts of Chitral and Kohistan. Purpose of the accord is to provide system of speedy justice to the people available to them during the reign of Walai Swat. After the affiliation of the state with Pakistan, space occurred people were not able to comply with the slow system for providing of justice to them. Later twice efforts were taken for the enforcement of Adl Regulation but due to no practical steps dismay and consternation produced among the people. He said that some people raise arms for this purpose.
The chief minister said that after the enforcement of Nizam-e Adl Regulation they have left with no justification of raising arms. After this those people who have raised arms, will left that are stick to an agenda for destabilization of the region.
“Their agenda is consternation and lawlessness and not peace. The government and the society must collectively fight such handful elements. Every one has the right of criticism for the sake of betterment but there is no justification for criticism for the sake of criticism. Successful implementation of Nizam-e Adl Regulation is the government and civil society’s responsibility.” he asserted.
He said that the President of Pakistan will sign the Adl Regulation by the grace of God in a few days and will be implemented soon.
The chief minister said: “Judicial officers will be appointed by the provincial government and will be provided training for this purpose. Soon a workshop of judicial officers will be conducted in Swat in which prominent religious scholars will be invited.”
The chief minister on a question of practical implementation of the accord said that the provincial government is sincere and committed for the restoration of peace, establishment of government’s writ and practical implementation of Nizam-e Adl Regulation.
He lauded the bravery and courage of the people of Swat who haven’t left patience in such long challenging circumstances.
He clarified that the government has made resolution with peace loving religious scholar Maulana Sufi Muhammad and the people of Swat and will follow it.
To a question on situations in Bajaur and FATA Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti said that FATA is beyond his domain however being a Pakhtoon he will play his role positively in these regions as well. He said that peace and stability in Afghanistan, FATA and in the province are inter-linked.
“Peace is not a problem of a single part but is a collective problem of the whole region and every need to play its role positively for its solution.” he maintained.
On the attack on the shrine of great Pashto poet Rahman Baba the other day the chief minister said that attacking the shrine of rector of love, peace and brotherhood Sufi poet is a highly condemnable act.
The chief minister on the occasion also answered queries of the attendees.
The chief minister expressed the hope that journey of the people of Malakand Division particularly of Swat has started from darkness towards brightness and Inshallah every passing day will be more lighted and bright.

Lahore Attacks: Mumbai Deja Vu

Shaheryar Ali

Today in Lahore the Sri Lankan cricket team was ambushed by a dozen or so Jihadi terrorists. Pakistan TV showed footage of gunmen with rifles and back packs running in the streets of Lahore and firing indiscriminately. The Jihadis were armed with AK 47, hand grenades, rockets and rocket launchers.

The convoy was ambushed as it slowed down at a traffic circle near Lahore’s Qadafi Stadium. The Sri lankan sports minister stated that 5 players and their coach were injured in the attack. All of them remain out of danger. Spokesman for Punjab police acknowledged death of 5 police men in the attack.

Lahore attacks
It has also been reported that the Jihadis threw a grenade under the bus which fortunately failed to detonate otherwise the guest team would have been blown up. The Lahore attack in its operative mechanics looks remarkably similar to Mumbai attacks. The terrorists looked much trained. Those who have studied these attacks in detail can tell that it had the signature marks of LeT. The ISI controlled Wahabi group based in Muridkay Punjab.

The administrative head of the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer stated, “One thing I want to say, it’s the same pattern, the same terrorists who attacked Mumbai”. While the governor is saying what’s obvious but it’s not that simple. Who were the real attackers of Mumbai? , Governor Taseer knows better than what he has publicly stated. LeT is an ISI proxy; it was made, trained and funded by Pakistani agencies. When Pakistan joined United State’s War on Terror, LeT was protected from United States assaults by banning it and allowing it to operate with another name “Jammatuddawa”. When Mumbai attacks took place, it was clearly visible who was responsible for these attacks, the facts spoke for them but Pakistani establishment adopted a policy of denial.

We than wrote on this politics of denial and how it has resulted in the current crisis of Pakistan. We were abused and ridiculed not only by Islamists but also by the pseudo-secular self proclaimed vanguards of Pakistani patriotism. We had written than that the democratic regime of Pakistan is a virtual hostage of Pakistani establishment, which does these sorts of acts to increase pressure on it. A virulent anti-India line was taken under cloak of supporting the “democratic Pakistani regime”. In our article “Pakistan at cross-roads: Democracy, Terror and Politics of Denial”, we had written:

“With a country in democratic transition, we often forget that policies of post-colonial states especially those like Pakistan which had taken Neo-fascist turn some time in their history [Zia era], cannot be reversed in few months. It needs a structural reform within the state itself. With a few months of PPP-ANP coalition such a structural reform has not yet occurred. Attempts to do such reform have been severely criticized by dominant classes in Pakistan and hence have to be abandoned. Attempts by PPP to bring ISI under political control were converted into a scandal by corporate media and its allies. Similar campaign is going on with the Pakhtoonkhawa issue where Right wing has openly come up in arms against government. These two issues represent the core issues when it comes to challenge the oligarchy. ISI has been blamed by almost all political forces in Pakistan for its attempts to control democracy and for spreading Jihad———In all this patriotic discourse, what we are forgetting is that it’s Pakistan not India which has more at stake. The first victim of this sort of patriotism, which subscribes to values of Oligarchy and its State and not to the values of people, will be democracy in Pakistan and this time the state, may not recover from its consequences. When Mr Manmohan Singh talks about “certain elements within Pakistan” being responsible for the attacks we are fast to condemn it. But are we that naive or suffering from collective amnesia. Have we forgotten that our agencies along with CIA supported insurgency in a country against a government which we recognized as legal government and had diplomatic ties with? For all the period of Afghan Jihad, our government at all international forums shamelessly maintained that Pakistan is “not interfering” in Afghanistan and our support is strictly moral and humanitarian in nature. Then any one who tried to warn oligarchy against it was termed as a “soviet agent” or “RAW agent”. Did our denial do us any good?—— Most of these organizations were allowed to operate by different names in General Musharraf’s time but were they were destroyed? Have Mureedke and Mansoora been shut down? Hafiz Saeed and Molana Masood Azhar serving time in prisons?” The article can be reached here
When I wrote this article most self proclaimed secularists were busy lecturing India and mocking Ajmal Kasab’s story, such was their contempt and self righteousness that they couldn’t find “Faridkot” on map of Pakistan. Within the few days Faridkot was on world’s map and lies of Pakistani establishment and so called patriots became a joke in International politics. Now Steve Cole, the Pulitzer Prize winner and famous investigative journalist has written an article in the prestigious New Yorker magazine. The article basically is about the “back channel” diplomacy between India and Pakistan which resulted in a near settlement of Kashmir dispute during General Musharraf. This brilliant expose confirms the position which we have long been taking that Pakistani establishment and ISI is using terrorism for gaining certain political and strategic objectives. One such objective is to weaken Peoples Party-ANP government. Cole in his article confirms what we wrote about mistrust between PPP government and ISI and also about it involvement in Mumbai attacks

“The historical ties between Lashkar and the Pakistani security services are for the most part undisputed; one book that describes them, published in 2005 and entitled “Between Mosque and Military,” was written by Husain Haqqani, who is currently Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.——— On July 7th, a suicide bomber rammed a car loaded with explosives into the gates of India’s Embassy in Kabul, killing fifty-four people, including the Indian defense attaché. The United States intercepted communications between active I.S.I. personnel and the Taliban-aligned network of Jalaluddin Haqqani, which is believed by U.S. military and intelligence officials to have carried out the Kabul Embassy attack. Haqqani has a long history of collaboration and contact with the I.S.I.; he was also a paid client of the Central Intelligence Agency during the late nineteen-eighties—-Pakistan’s new civilian President, Asif Zardari, had entered into his own struggle with those in the Pakistani security services who favor the jihadis and covert war against India. Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party has fought the Army for power since the late nineteen-seventies; neither institution fully trusts the other, although they have sometimes collaborated. (Some P.P.P. officials believe that the I.S.I. may have been involved in Benazir Bhutto’s murder.)Last May, Zardari tried to assert civilian control over the I.S.I. by placing it under the authority of the Interior Ministry; the Army rejected this order, and Zardari backed down. In November, speaking extemporaneously by video at a conference in New Delhi, Zardari declared that Pakistan might be willing to follow a policy of “no first use” of its nuclear weapons, a remarkable departure from past Pakistan Army doctrine. Privately, in discussions with Indian officials, Zardari affirmed his interest in picking up the back-channel negotiations . Some Indian officials and analysts interpreted Mumbai as a kind of warning from the I.S.I. to Zardari—“Zardari’s Kargil,” as some Indians put it, meaning that it was a deliberate effort by the Pakistan Army to disrupt Zardari’s peace overtures. Several Pakistani and American officials told me that Zardari is now deeply worried about his personal security”

Steve Cole, the Back Channel, New Yorker March 2009

What has to be understood that in the final year of General Musharraf , even the “cosmetic anti terror” acts became unacceptable for Islamist section of Pakistani establishment which started open revolt [series of suicide attacks on Army and certain agencies ] and started supporting anti Mush political agitation. The lawyer’s movement which started as a non political, secular protest against dictatorship was linked with Right Wing. Now this cooption is complete. The Islamist section of establishment wants PPP out and restores the glorious Islamic jihadi era of Zia and his political son Sharif. Now let’s come to Lahore attacks. I agree with Taseer that it was done by those who attacked Mumbai, though he just like Hussein Haqani cannot explain this “who”. Punjab was a safe heaven for Taliban during Shahbaz Sharif ministry who was slowly Islamizing the province; He had turned a blind eye to Talibanization in southern Punjab, Lahore and other areas. Punjab police acted 24 hours later to implementation of United Nation’s resolution of banning Jamat-ud-Dawa [front of LeT], the result was Jihadies evacuated their offices in comfort and took all the record with them. The Supreme Court’s decision ended SS’s control over Punjab. The right wing political alliance and its masters in Pakistani establishment were and are hoping to topple Zardari regime in this unrest. Unfortunately for them, PML-N failed miserably to get public support. Their agitation was limited to 3 cities in central Punjab and even there it took shape of mob violence. The call of general strike failed. Streets went silent on 2nd day and PPP was able to mobilize its workers all over the country to protest on desecration of Benazir Bhutto’s monument in Rawalpindi. Even in Lahore which is considered hub of Sharifs PPP was able to conduct a big rally. Millions were mobilized in Karachi by MQM against PML-N. Mr Shaif couldn’t bring 1/4th of this crowd in Lahore. In Saraiki Multan and Baluch Quetta , PML-N armed goons had to run away due to clashes with PPP.

With the failure of political agitation and expected failure of long march due to strong arm administrative tactics of Governor Taseer , it became critical for certain invisibles to create unrest and the good old Jihadis did the trick. Weather its LeT or some other new name, the hands behind them is same. There should be no doubt about the motives of Lahore attacks and on its responsibility after listening to Ansar Abbasai’s attacks on Salman Taseer’s administrative failure and SS’s warning about possible “RAW” attacks in Lahore. Now a rightwing and their secular patriotic counterparts will start a violent attack against India. This will further marginalize Peoples Party’s regime which will give in more to establishment’s demands. More chaos will be created and our beloved Qazi Hussein Ahmad and Nawaz Sharif both supporters of Sharia and Jihad will come to power. But I warn again that Pakistani state is so much over stretched due to organic decay and war between its different faction that it can no longer sustain this stress. Zardari may fall but Pakistan will not remain standing.

PS: With Lahore attacks every conscientious Pakistani should hold Jihadi sympathizer Imran Khan accountable for deliberately confusing the cricketing world and Pakistan by downplaying the issue of terrorism. Mr Khan declared that terrorists will not attack cricketers, Mr Khan I can just say “Shame on you”.

صوفي شاعر خدای بخښلی عبدالرحمن بابا

رحمان بابا رح Rahman Baba Poetry:

Rahman Baba

Voice: Kamela Taher

Desecration of Rahman Baba’s tomb is desecration of humanity

Desecration of Rahman Baba’s tomb is desecration of humanity”

It is a matter of national shame for Pakistan to have sunk this low. Rahman Baba (1653 -1711 AD) commands a universal following for his mystic syncretism, has now fallen prey to the cannibalistic doctrine of bigotry and intolerance.

The desecration of his resting place is a desecration of humanity. Jens Enevoldsen in a preface of translated poetry “Selections from Rahman Baba” 1977, says, “Rahman Baba, son of Abdur Sattar, belonged to Khalil Mohmand tribe bordering Peshawar. Born in Bahadur Killi, Rahman Baba was the king of love, the guide to contemplation, master of virtue and piety, the walking stick of the blind, the leader of poets, the saint of Pukhtuns and the master of simple verse”.

"Return the bad things done to you with good,
For trees are only stoned when they bear fruit;
The good man always suffers from the bad
The insects always seek the tender wood;

In every storm that heart shall stay afloat
Which carries people’s burden like a boat;
Though God may not let evil run its course,
RAHMAN must still the prayer for pardon quote”
(The Golden Rule)

Gandhara heritage which survived the Huns, Hindu Shahi, Moghal, Sikh and British periods is at mortal risk in the Islamic state of Pakistan. The buck does not stop here. The icons of sufi tradition, preaching peace and tranquility are now at the mercy of terrorists, which the Pakistani state refuses to eradicate.

The Pukhtuns need to make a national decision today as they are being systematically annihilated and their history wiped out by the salafi wahabi tradition and their bigoted gangs, to stand up and challenge the state sponsored anarchy. For the past one year, centuries old tombs and shrines have fallen victim to terrorism disguised as Taliban vigilantism.

The first victim was a 400 year old shrine of Abu Saeed Baba at Shaikan village, bordering Bara Tehsil, by L I vigilantes, besides killing many innocent civilians in March 2008. Later saboteurs bombed the revered shrine of Ashaab Baba at Mathra village. Besides, several historic shrines and worship places in the province have fallen prey to premeditated acts of terrorism. Renowned shrine of Pir Baba in Buner narrowly survived an attempted attack last December.

The ANP-PPP government prides itself on being secular, too has fallen victim to this organized annihilation of their constituencies. They stand helpless and speechless. It is time the UNESCO, UN and other world bodies come to the rescue of NWFP and investigate the organized genocide and destruction of their heritage landmarks as both the government and state, has failed to identify and take action against shady terrorist organizations.

Sarhad Conservation Network

SCN Press Release

Najib Aamir Nazam:Da Malang Pa Astana ie dazai Okrre

دملنګ په استانه یې ډزې وکړې

نجیب عامر

د رحمان په هدیره یې ډزې وکړې
دپښتون په هر کاله یې ډزې وکړې
شیطاني لښکرې څومره شوې پیاوړې
د حرم په مناره یې ډزې وکړې
پښتنې جونې په زلفو خاورې نولي
په ګودر او تناره یې ډزې وکړې
چې د ګردې پښتونخوا لپاره بس وه
په هغه لویه هجره یې ډزې وکړې
دا وجدان نه قلاریږي راته وایي
هوش کې وو که په نشه یې ډزې وکړې ؟
ټول یې پیژني ، خو شونډې یې ګنډلي
او تپوس کوي په څه یې ډزې وکړې ؟
اوس نو وچې شونډې ګرځئ افغانانو
دساقي په پیمانه یې ډزې وکړې
ستوری ستوری آسمان نشته تروږمۍ ده
د سپوږمۍ په پلوشه یې ډزې وکړې
خود کشور د افغانانو پرې ګلګون شو
چې د ګلو په غونچه یې ډزې وکړې
په دې چم به عذابونه را نازل شي
دملنګ په استانه یې ډزې وکړې
ماڼو ګانو تدبیرونه مو عبث دي
ډوبیدل دي په جاله یې ډزې وکړې


Attack on Rehman Baba is attack on Pashtun identity

Editorial: Attack on Rehman Baba is attack on Pashtun identity
Daily Times, March 7, 2009

On Thursday, terrorists from Khyber Agency blew up the mausoleum of the great poet of the Pashtun and put the state of Pakistan on notice once again about their intent against Pakistani culture. The tomb of Rehman Baba was rebuilt as a complex in 1994 and it included other tombs of great Pashtun cultural icons, such as Akhund Darweza. The Taliban had come to the mausoleum and told the devotees that saying namaz at the mosque attached to the grave was “haram”. The administration knew that a strike would take place but did nothing.

Rehman Baba (1632-1707), who appeared on a Pakistani postage stamp in 2005, is an acknowledged cultural symbol of the Pashtun and Afghan people. While Khushal Khan Khattak (1613–1689) stands together with him as a classical foil, Rehman Baba has moved the soul of the Pashtun far more. He also stands at the root of Pashtun nationalism and has been adopted in the past by all kinds of secular and conservative movements. He marks a significant phase in the development of Pashto language and his lines are often quoted spontaneously by the speakers of the language. The various schools of thought in the Sufi tradition like the Naqshbandiya, Chishtiya and Qadiriya have claimed him as their own, so great was his appeal among the masses.

In Pakistan, religious culture has been traditionally represented by the Sufi tradition. The culture of the elite, represented by painting, architecture and calligraphy, doesn’t touch the masses whose way of life is reflected more accurately in the collective celebration of Islam’s mystical heritage. The Sufi taught the people how to link their faith with their entertainment and imbue their culture with their religious belief. It is often said that many of the Muslims of the region of Pakistan were brought inside the pale of Islam by the Sufi who sang of Allah’s divinity in the music and dance he inculcated among them, composed in the classical tradition.

It is this culture of the masses that has been targeted by Talibanisation, a new faith born out of the terrorist coercion of Al Qaeda which is steeped in the anti-mystical Saudi-Wahhabi Islam. The trend towards anti-culture extremism, however, is seen across the Islamic world, much aided in the 1990s by Saudi investment in the spread of the Wahhabi faith. Pakistan’s culture has also been under assault from the Taliban who target the dominant Barelvi school of Pakistani Hanafi jurisprudence as representing the “impure” faith. In 2006, a large congregation of Barelvi clerics and leaders was suicide-bombed in Karachi where, too, scores of Barelvi mosques have been grabbed by the more powerful Deobandis.

Pakistan committed cultural suicide when it allowed a purely Deobandi jihad in Afghanistan after 1996, empowering jihadi militias increasingly under the influence of Al Qaeda. Those who planned this strategy were devoid of any sense of culture. This was helped by the fact that Pakistan’s Constitution is silent on culture, most probably because the framers, bedevilled by clashing linguistic and regional identities, were unwilling to define it. Today, the violence of terrorism is expressed through its assault on culture, on entertainment in general, on female education, and the destruction of cultural landmarks.

In Khyber Agency, the Sufi tradition was defeated and ousted by the Taliban as the state stood by and watched. The Sufi leaders fled the agency and left the field open to the extremists. In Swat, a Sufi leader was killed and later exhumed from his grave and made to hang in the city square. Without the refinement of culture, Pakistan is a rudderless society characterised by extremism. The masses are deprived of all collective celebration and are losing their male children to the Taliban as suicide-bombers. The Sindhi, whose mysticism-based culture is still intact in the interior of the province, is yet to appear as a suicide-bomber in the service of Al Qaeda. But even that could change in the face of relentless assault by the Taliban and the desperate secession of the writ of the state. *

Rahman Baba poetry:

English translation of Rahman Baba's Poetry

Friday, March 06, 2009

Rahman Baba:The Pashtuns' most revered poet

Picture:Bacha Khan Media cell


Chairman Pakhtun Democratic Council zar ali khan musazai has strongly condemned the
explosion at the Tomb of Rehman Baba by the hands of terrorists.
He said terrorists and miscreants committed a crime which is unforgivable and this
is a clear declaration of the WAR against Pashtun Nation. Rehman Baba masoleum is as
sacred for us as Makka and Madina for Muslims because he followed the true teachings
of Islam and he was the real lover of the prophet of Islam. Those who bombed the
tomb are the real enemies of the Pashtun or they are doing such heinous crimes on
the directives of their masters who have been opponents to Pashtun nation for long
time.He demanded of the government to arrest the criminals immediately otherwise the
rage of Pashtun at this incident has reached to the point which is to be exploded.
Zar ali musazai called upon all Pashtun to rise against this barbarism of the
terrorists and their mentors who have no regard for the elders of Pashtun nation.
Shan said...
The destruction of the shrine of Rahman Baba, the Pashtun mystic and poet who is widely regarded, indeed revered, across NWFP is yet another indicator of the advancing wave of intolerance and extremism that now engulfs us. Reports say that the shrine was blown up by militants using up to 40kg of explosive because it was frequented by women. There are reports that militants had warned that they would not tolerate women attending the shrine, and that they suspected them of involvement in immorality or 'illegal acts'. It is difficult to imagine precisely what immoral or illegal acts might have been performed by pious women - but not difficult to imagine the misogynist mindset of those who would banish women forever to a darkened room where their sole function is to cook and produce male children. The deal done in Swat is a Pandora's Box of troubles that now pour out everywhere. The validation of one set of extremist demands now gives them the green light to make other demands wherever they choose in the entire country where they wish their vrit to run. Let us be under no illusion here – the militants now ruling in NWFP have their sights set on ruling Pakistan. All of Pakistan. They wish their interpretation of Islam to be the one followed by all of our people, no matter what their Muslim denomination or their faith – which is why our religious minorities fear for their safety and their future.

Are we to see the great shrines of Uch Sharif similarly attacked? Are we prepared to see our cultural heritage destroyed before our very eyes? Remember the Buddhas of Bamiyan, those ancient structures in Afghanistan that had stood for over a thousand years? Remember their destruction, just a few short years ago? Or the Buddhist statues in Swat? Or the agitation for the destruction of Buddhist and Hindu rock carvings of great antiquity at Chilas? Are we to see the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro pulverized because they are from a time before Islam or our museums razed to the ground in an iconoclastic frenzy that will leave us bereft of our cultural past? How long will it be before bookshops are burning, following hard on the heels of music and video shops? Ours is a land which was a part of the cradle of civilization. Within what are now our borders were sown the seeds of human greatness and invention. We are the custodians of that heritage. We have a duty to ourselves and the rest of the world to protect it. A duty which, as of recent times, we might be said to be failing in. Dark tides,
Friday, March 06, 2009, The News.

06 March 2009 07:27
Dirjae said:
This is a crime against the Pashtun Nation, specifically against our culture and heritage. Rehman Baba was a great Pashto poet and Sufi and a Wali. It is strange beacuse the mosques and seminaries, breeding grounds of terrorism, remain safe and actually are multiplying but symbols of Pashtun Heritage are under threat. I condemn this barbaric and savage act.
Khurshid Khan :
A great matter of concern for all of us as wel as a wake call for Pukhtunkwa Govt.
The bloody game is in progress. Today Rakhman Baba, tommorow the tomb of Khushal Khan Baba, Pir Baba and other saints and leaders.

پېښور : نن سحر په ساخت کښې د پښتنو د صوفي شاعر عبدالرحمان بابا په مزار يوه بمي چاؤدنه اوشوه ـ په مزار کښې پروت هر يو څيز ټوک ټوک اؤ ذرې ذرې شولو ـ

د خبر مطابق سحر وختي ځنې نامعلومه شرخوښو دلته يو پنځه کلو وزني بم اېښودے وۀ چې په يو غټ درز سره اوچاودو ـ

هر څو چې د آبادۍ بنياد سلامت پاتې شوے دے ، په دې کښې پراته هر څه تس نس شوي دي اؤ په ديوال کښې ئې يو غټ سورے هم جوړ کړے دے ـ

د رحمان بابا په مزار د پښتونخوا د پخواني وزير اعلے خدائې بخلي امير افضل خان په وخت کښې کار پئېل شوے وۀ اؤ ايله اوس اوس څو مياشتې وړاندې د افغانستان د حکومت په مرسته ددې سرسڼه سر ته رسيدلې وه ـ

په دې اړه نن سحر په باچاخان ريسرچ سنټر کښې يوه هنګامي غونډه هم اوشوه چې مشري ئې د باچاخان ريسرچ سنټر ډائريکټر ډاکټر فضل الرحيم مروت کوله ـ په دې غونډه کښې د نورو نه علاوۀ نوموړي شاعر اؤ د پښتون مجلي مشر ايډيټر ښاغلي رحمت شاه سائل ، ليکوال مشتاق مجروح يوسف زئې ، ځلان مومند ، فضل الرحمان زاهد ، امجد شهزاد اؤ عبدالله اؤ قاضي حضور الله هم شرکت درلود ـ

په غونډه کښې په دې واقعه د زړه د تلۀ افسوس اوشو دا ئې يو ډېر ناوړه کار اوبالۀ ـ

په اجلاس کښې رحمت شاه سائيل وئيل چې دا چاؤدنه يواځې د پښتون صوفي شاعر په مزار نه ده بلکه دې دا سوال پېدا کړے دے چې په سيمه کښې د پښتنو نور تاريخي اؤ مقدس مقامات په څه حال کښې دي ـ

دوۍ زياته کړه چې که ګډ وډۍ اؤ اړي ګړي دا کار داسې جاري اوساتل شي نو دا به يواځې په پښتنه سيمه خپل اغېز نه پرېباسي بلکه په منطقه کښې به هيڅ يو مقدس ، تاريخي ځائې هم په امن پاتې نه شي ـ

(( د رحمان بابا په مزار چاؤدنه به اخر ناخر د بللهے شاه ، داتا دربار ، بټهائي اؤ نور مقدس ځايونه هم په خطره کښې واچول ـ

فضل الرحمان زاهد

Militants Bomb Mausoleum Of Legendary Pashtun Poet

Shaheen Buneri
Thu, 05-Mar-2009

Destroyed Portion of Rahmab Baba's Mausoleum. PPost Photo

PESHAWAR: Unidentified militants Thursday bombed the mausoleum of Abdurrahman Baba, the 17th century legendary Sufi poet of the Pashtuns in Hazarkhwani area close to Peshawar city in North West Frontier province (NWFP) of Pakistan.

Police confirms that the outer wall of the Mausoleum completely destroyed.

Locals told the Pashtunpost, that a group of unidentified militants used remote control bombs to destroy the four pillars of the under-construction building in the premises of Rahman Baba’s Mausoleum.

The bomb explosion has partially damaged the building. Eye witnesses say that if timely efforts are not taken the building may collapse.

Yousaf Ali Dilsoz, President of Rahman Baba Adabi Jirga says that Rahman Baba is the icon of Pashtuns spirituality and their love for peace and tolerance.

“In wake of the raising militancy in the region, it is cry of the hour that we understand and spread the message of peace and universal humanity conveyed by Rahman Baba through his poetry. By targeting the Shrine the militants want to destroy our identity and want to present us to the world as a wild and uncivilized nation”, he maintained.

It merits a mention here that every year in the month of April, fans of Rahman Baba hold a grand cultural festival at the Mausoleum. Poets, writers and lovers of Rahman Baba from Afghanistan and Pakistan Pashtun dominated areas would come together to celebrate the festival. This time the festival was scheduled for April 5.

“By bombing Rahman Baba shrine, the forces of darkness want to discourage people not to participate in the festival and to forcefully divert them to their extremist and fundamentalist agenda”, says Usman Ulasyar, president of Swat Cultural Society and a devouted lover of the poetry of Rahman Baba.

Rahman Baba was born in 1632 A.D. at Bahadur Kala, a village, 4 km south of Peshawar. He enjoys the same status in Pashto poetry as Hafiz Shirazi does in the Persian Literature.

Rahman Baba’s poetry is popular for its simplicity, spontaneity and universality not only among Pashtuns but all those who are interested in evolution of Sufi thought in the region.

Besides many others, Major Reverty in his book "Selection from the poetry of Afghans" has also paid rich contributes to him. He writes; Rehman Baba's poetry is the heart beat of every Afghan and is recited through the Afghan lands.

Saidu Baba, a revered saint from Swat valley, is known to have said that if the Pashtuns were ever asked to pray on a book other than the Koran, they would undoubtedly go for Rahman Baba's work.

English writer Robert Sampson introduced Rahman Baba to the western world by translating his poetry and writing commentaries on his work. The translated work is titled Rahman Baba - Poet of the Pashtuns.

Earlier Janes Enveldson translated a selection from Rahman Baba’s poetry and published it as “Nightingale of Peshawar”.

A selection of Rahman Baba's poetry

Sow Flowers

Sow flowers so your surroundings become a garden
Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick your feet

If you shoot arrows at others,
Know that the same arrow will come back to hit you.

Don’t dig a well in another’s path,
In case you come to the well’s edge

You look at everyone with hungry eyes
But you will be first to become mere dirt.

Humans are all one body,
Whoever tortures another, wounds himself.

-- Rahman Baba


Why I’m not dying

Why I’m not dying
Why I’m not dying,
Of the sorrow of separation,
Why I’m not dying,
Of this mourning intense.
Why I’m not dying,
Of the cruelty of this age,
Which snatches a lover from the lover.
Why I’m not dying
Of witnessing these mornings,
Which laugh at my sobs every rising day.
Why I’m not dying
Without my lover,
For it is a death, not to stare in the lover’s eyes.
Why I’m not dying,
To see these unfaithful drops of dew,
That leave the flower upon seeing a slight warmth.
Why I’m not dying,
Of this deadly miserable life,
That I’m carrying with myself,
O’Rehman from so long.

(trans: Adil Shah)

Such have your sorrows overpowered me

Such have your sorrows overpowered me,
That I’ve lost every place in and out. My sobs have rendered people restless,
Like fire of a burning dry wood engulfing the moistured.In your pain, I’m weeping like a candle,
But you are smiling at me like a bright morn.

My heart’s hanging in your path,
Like your black hair dangling in front of your face.

Tis’ a norm for all the sorrows to be crushed under your feet,
When you are burdened with that single grief.

They come towards you, leaving me behind,
All those who advisingly forbade me from your path.

Such is the effect of yours over the face of Rehman,
Like a flame of fire over a thinly dry stalk.

(trans: Adil Shah)

Barbarians strike at the Pashtuns' great poet

The damaged mausoleum of Abdurrahman Baba (Pashtun Post)
I arrived in Peshawar last night much quicker than I expected. This frontier city is now only a two-hour drive from Islambad along the new motorway. Instead of the chaos and confusion of the Grand Trunk (GT) Road, the journey was almost serene as the road cut through green fields and orchards and crossed river after river. Peshawar was once considered an Afghan city, until the Sikhs won it in battle and then the British defeated the Sikhs. Thus was it inherited by Pakistan.
But at its heart Peshawar is still Afghan to the core. Its huge expansion in the last 30 years, fuelled by the millions of Afghan refugees for whom it became home during the war against the Soviets, has done nothing to lessen this feeling. Women wearing the Afghan burka can be seen everywhere and whole districts are populated by those Afghans who never returned home.
More particularly, Peshawar is a Pashtun city, sitting in the heart of the North West Frontier Province and close by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
And it is increasingly a Taliban city. Although they have no electoral support, theTaliban have the muscle and the influence to dominate the city. Since I arrived I have heard many accounts of Pashto language poets and singers giving up their profession for their own safety. Some have left for foreign countries and even - ironically - for Afghanistan, where they feel less constrained than here, where the Wahhabi influence is strong and growing.
One consequence of all this is that few visitors come here any more. Last night I went to the Khan Club for dinner. This magnificent and famous five-storey haveli or guesthouse in the old part of the city, boasts five-star rooms decorated with wonderful local carpets, "classical eastern music" and "full service eastern and western fare restaurant".
In fact, when we arrived, there were no guests. We were the first foreigners to enter the building since February 2008. Despite this, our hosts produced a wonderful meal, served to us by candlelight.
This morning, the reality of the alien intolerance introduced by the Arabs of al-Qaeda into Pashtun culture was brought home in the usual way - by an explosion. There have been many explosions in this city, but few were as poignant as this one. No one was killed, but every Pushtun was hurt by this bomb.
The target was the mausoleum of Abdurrahman Baba, the greatest of the Pashtun Sufi poets. The outer wall of his mausoleum in the Hazarkhwani area of the city was completely destroyed. According to an article in the Pashtun Post a group of unidentified militants used remote control bombs to destroy the four pillars of the building.
No matter which misguided people carried out this bombing, it was aimed at destroying Pashtun culture - the poems of Khushal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baba and later followers such as Ameer Hamza Shinwari and the journalist Mahmud Tarzi.
None was more important to Pashtun culture than Rahman Baba. He was born in 1632 just to the south of Peshawar and was a great Sufi poet in the tradition of Rumi. His wonderful poems teach the need for toleration, peace and spirituality. What could justify an attack on his mortal remains?
Four years ago Robert Sampson and Momin Khan Jaja published the 900-page The Poetry of Rahman Baba - Poet of the Pashtuns, the poet's complete works. You can find out more about the book here. In fact, I urge you to buy a copy, just to show the bastards who did this today that the pen of a great man is mightier than the sword.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, the Pashtuns are the real victims of the vicious strain of Wahhabi Islam that was introduced into this region during the anti-Soviet jihad and which is now in the ascendancy. It is not their choice, but one that is being imposed on them by outsiders. Their culture is being strangled by gunmen and killers who care nothing for the great traditions of a proud people.

Explosion at Rahman Baba's tomb


Rahman Baba

Friday, March 06, 2009
Harris Khalique

After the tragedy in Lahore where eight people, including six policemen, died and six of our guests from Sri Lankan cricket team got injured by an assault by terrorists, the news of the bombing of the shrine of Rahman Baba in Peshawar came as another severe blow.

It is not only an attack on Pakhtun culture, history and civilisation, it is an attack on Shah Latif, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, Ghulam Farid, Mast Tawakkali, Amir Khusrau, Mir, Ghalib and, above all, Rumi. It is an attack on Iqbal. It is an attempt to desecrate and dishonour everything that we could be proud of as a part of the cross-countries Muslim civilisation spread over Central and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

It is comparable only to the destruction of the historic Buddhas of Bamiyan under Taliban rule in Afghanistan and the damaging of Quli Qutub Shah's tomb in Indian Gujarat by Hindu fanatics. The Sufis, the writers, poets and artists, of this godforsaken country must rise up against this madness now and fight the battle for our survival.

The battle for our survival is actually a war that has three battles to be fought simultaneously. The battle of ideas where bigotry, obscurantism, reactionary thought and eloquent legitimisation of violent means to impose your brand of Islam on others through our print and electronic media, have to be taken on by professing intellectual freedom and tolerance, promoting rational understanding of what is happening around us and encouraging creativity and critical thinking.

This battle has to be fought in schools, colleges and universities, on television, radio, in newspapers and in all public spaces. Michael Ignatieff once said that television is the church of modern authority. The current domination of our primetime discussion hours on key news channels by the semi-literate, reactionary and pompous television anchors needs to be challenged. Exceptions are few and far between. Likewise, newspaper columns, especially in Urdu, which is the language of public discourse in Pakistan, make heroes out of those who inflict pain and suffering on the masses in the name of Islam. The editors have to wake up now and give equally prominent space to rebuttals of such nonsense or to writers who are logical and progressive.

The second is the battle to save, strengthen or establish social and political institutions in the face of chaos, terrorism, mediocrity and plutocracy. What we need is a sovereign Parliament, an independent judiciary and a competent executive. We need political parties which are strong and democratic from within and a military which focuses on professional excellence and defending the country when faced with outside aggression.

The third is the battle to be fought on the streets of Pakistan, where people need to come out and ask for their right to a safe, secure and decent life. They have to ask for their legitimate right to employment, education, health, clean drinking water and basic infrastructure. They have to assert their right to a life with dignity where the justice system works and where all citizens are equal in the eyes of the state whether they are women or religious minorities.

Once common people demonstrate their desire for change, newer and stronger pro-people political forces will emerge from within to challenge plutocracy and incompetence. But is it incompetence alone which makes the provincial information minister of the NWFP (to be or not to be Pashtunkhwa) request the TNSM leader that he ask the militants in Swat to stop random firing on the government's security forces? Mind you, he has publicly said after taking charge of Swat that he considers democracy to be an un-Islamic concept.

It will not end in Swat. When a local spiritual leader was killed and buried by the militants, their commander was not fully satisfied. So they decided to exhume his body and hung it by a tree or a pole for some days. Now there is an attack on the symbol of our civilisation, Rahman Baba. Should we now request the TNSM not to let these things happen in future?

The writer is an Islamabad-based poet and rights campaigner. Email:

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Milestones in Pashto Literature

Milestones in Pashto Literature
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Hamish Khalil, in his book Da Qalam Khawandaan (A directory of Pakhtun men of letters), has mentioned around 3,000 Pakhtun poets and writers between 1800 and 1975 who were prolific writers and have contributed to Pashto language and literature by writing books both in prose and poetry.

Sher Alam Shinwari

The history of the written word in Pashto goes back to 522-486 BCE with the discovery of a three-line poetic piece engraved on the rock of a mountain near Baghistan, Iran. If so it can be assumed that the written history of Pashto is 2,500 years old. However, researchers have identified three periods of the history of Pashto literature.
The first period begins with Ameer Korer Ghuri (747 CE), the second period starts with Bayazid Ansari (1535-1579) popularly known as ‘Pir Roshan’ or the enlightened Pir, while the third period — according to one theory — began in 1908 when Rahat Zakheli Baba (1884-1963) wrote the first ever short story in Pashto language.

Hamish Khalil, in his book Da Qalam Khawandaan (A directory of Pakhtun men of letters), has mentioned around 3,000 Pakhtun poets and writers between 1800 and 1975 who were prolific writers and have contributed to Pashto language and literature by writing books both in prose and poetry.

Pashto has never enjoyed official recognition and patronage, as it has never been the court language despite the fact that Ahmed Shah Abdali and Sher Shah Suri were Pakhtun kings; even they preferred Persian to Pashto for court proceedings and other matters.

After the advent of the British, Pashto language and literature took a new turn. The British and Orientalists rediscovered literary giants like Khushhal Khan Khattak (1613-1690), Rahman Baba (16531711) and other classical poets and writers.

Pakhtun writers and poets of the early 20th century began to express their feelings and emotions by bringing out literary magazines and pamphlets.

These journals not only helped Pashto to flourish but also brought about a change in the social, political and cultural vision of the Pakhtun nation. Translations were also done into Pashto from English.

Nun Paroon was one such literary magazine published from New Delhi in pre-partition era edited by the founding director of the Pashto Academy University of Peshawar, Maulana Abdul Qadir (1905-1969).

Abdul Ghafoor alias Saidu Baba brought out the first ever Pashto monthly magazine in the pre-parti tion era titled Islam in 1884. In addition to Pashto, it used to publish scholastic and literary translations from Persian as well as Urdu classics. It was followed by Anjuman, and Payam-i-Haq Anjuman-iHimayat-i-Islam.

One cannot term these journals as being pure literary as they carried religious teachings too. Often they would not touch upon social issues or criticise government policies. After all, the environment was not conducive for freedom of expression under the British Raj.

Many attempts at bringing out weekly newspapers and monthly journals were made but each one faced closure following the imposition of the 1910 Press Act. Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Bacha Khan), founder of the Khudai Khidmatgaar Tehrik, launched the first ever full-fledged Pashto magazine Pakhtun under the auspices of Anjuman Islah-i-Afaghina in 1927 to bring about a qualitative change in the outlook of the Pakhtuns.

Prominent men of letters affiliated with the Tehrik would contribute their poetic and prose works in it but in 1930 Bacha Khan was arrested and the magazine was closed down.

It was re-launched in 1931 under Abdul Khaliq Khaleeq and after several closures and re-launches, it was finally banned it in 1948.

With the publication of Pashto weeklies and monthlies like Sailaab (1931), Strray Mashay (1932), Azad Pakhtun (1932), Rahbar (1936) and Jamhooriat (1937), the scope of public awareness was enhanced.

Social issues became dazzling headlines and fiery editorials were printed. After partition, Abdul Haleem Asr (1910-1978) brought out the first Pashto weekly magazine Insaaf in 1948 from Mardan which published literary pieces and research articles aimed at promoting the region’s language and literature.

A government sponsored magazine (later Jamhoor-i-Islam renamed Abaseen) attracted writers and poets as it paid well and also highlight the government’s policies and programmes. Apart from these magazines, some Urdu daily newspapers like Shabaz, Anjaam and Baang-i-Harum also catered to Pashto readers by publishing a separate supplement.

The magazines Pakhto and Qand also contributed to modern Pashto literature. So much so that two professors have recently submitted their doctorate theses to the University of Peshawar on the role and contributions of these historic literary journals.

Today more than 100 literary magazines are published in Pashto from various places like Afghanistan and of course from Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Bannu, D.I.Khan, Charsadda, Karachi and Quetta. Most of these literary magazines have gone out of print due to financial constraints, yet they are considered milestones in the history of Pashto literature.

Despite various problems, it is the poets and writers who have had kept the Pashto language alive and enriched.