Abdul Rahim |
Pakistan is a unique country on the map of the world. Since its inception in 1947, the politics of maligning nationalists with treachery is at its peak. Politically and religiously, we are still living in the dark ages. The hollow and unwise politicians have always stamped Sindhi, Balochi, and Pashtun nationalists with the disgraceful allegation of treachery. Abdul Ghaffar Khan (famous for Bacha khan), Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai (famous for Khan Shaheed), and Ghous Bax Bezenjo lived a major part of their lives in Pakistani prisons as traitors. Still, in secondary school books in Punjab, Pashtun nationalists of 1947 are defined as anti-Pakistanis and pro- Indian during Pakistan movement. Baloch people are depicted as barbarians living on the bank of river Indus through centuries. They are defined as the people who are famous for taking revenge. Bengalis were also on the list of traitors but their separation from Pakistan ended this game forever.
What does all this mean? Are only Punjabis the real patriots? What about the rest of the Pakistanis?
Since 9/11, Pashtun nationalists have been facing a war-like situation that has blown up a number of key Pashtun leaders. They have, as an ethnic group, have seriously borne the brunt of terrorism in both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.
In the current Pakistani political scenario, Pashtun nationalists, in general, and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami party Chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai, in particular, are the subject of politics of treachery. In the recent National Assembly session, held on 18th of May, discussing FATA reforms bill and FATA’s merger in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Shah Mahmud Qureshi alleged Mahmood Khan Achakzai for not accepting Pakistan wholeheartedly. Moreover, a number of other national Assembly members of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf) and Pakistan People’s Party blamed Mr. Achakzai for being anti-Pakistani and called him a traitor.
Mahmood khan Achakzai is an elected member of National Assembly. He has taken the oath of loyalty to Pakistani constitution, to protect parliament, and remain obedient to Pakistani laws. Here, the unfortunate story of treachery must come to an end.
Is it the possible way to make Pakistan politically integrated?
Since 9/11, Pashtun nationalists have been facing a war-like situation that has blown up a number of key Pashtun leaders. They have, as an ethnic group, have seriously borne the brunt of terrorism in both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. The terrorists have successfully attempted to divide Pakistan on the ethnic and linguistic basis. In this situation, unwise remarks and foolishness of politicians will help the hostile states to fish in the hot water.
The Central government and responsible authorities have never let the deprived FATA’s people enjoy their rightful freedom of choice.
Blaming Mr. Achakzai and other Pashtun nationalists for treason and not accepting Pakistan wholeheartedly can, in no way, prove to be beneficial for Pakistan. The ethnic differences are only going to weaken the country. To be honest, Mr. Achakzai is a man of principles and staunch supporter of democracy. Despite his father’s (Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai) assassination on 2nd of December, 1973 in Quetta, Mahmood Achakzai, being a staunch Pashtun nationalist and powerful influence in Afghanistan and over Afghan government, has always supported democracy and constitutional supremacy in Pakistan. Blaming him for ‘being dishonest with Pakistan’ is unfair and unfavorable for an integrated Pakistan. Along with Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman (Chief of Jamiat Ulama e Islam), Mr. Achakzai’s stance on plebiscite in FATA’s merger in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is democratic. The plebiscite will ensure future stability. The consent of FATA’s people is important. It will help tribesmen to decide either they want a merger with KPK or to have new province under the constitution of Pakistan.
The Central government and responsible authorities have never let the deprived FATA’s people enjoy their rightful freedom of choice. Self-centred politicians and officials have already given the worst gift of separation of Bangladesh. Neither the federal government nor powerful officials have left any stone unturned to exploit poor masses of deprived provinces of Pakistan. Ethnic, religious, regional, and linguistic issues have already shaken Pakistan. No doubt, Pakistan is seriously passing through the most volatile phase of its history. In this situation, bypassing FATA’s people on plebiscite will create future problems. The people should be given a choice between integrating with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or having a separate province.
Pakistan is a Federation where Pashtun, Baloch, Punjabi, and Sindhi have equal rights and no one claim to be more Pakistani than the others.
But the unfortunate debate in Pakistani parliament on the issue of FATA and the question of patriotism is taking the situation to somewhere else. PML-N-led government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must play a role of national leader to end this issue and restrain politicians from blaming members of parliament for treachery with the constitution of Pakistan. It will help to air the issue of ethnic nationalism and regionalism which is a serious threat to integrated Pakistan. Short-sighted and hollow comments of politicians will open a door to ethnic hatred and political biases- leading the situation to democratic failure and political instability in the state.
Blaming someone for treachery and securing political interests will blow national integrity in the air and would endanger the very fabric of national stability. There is need of political maturity. Politicians must play wisely. The responsible powers of the state must direct all politicians to avoid doing so. No one should be allowed to issue certificates of treachery and patriotism. Pakistan is a Federation where Pashtun, Baloch, Punjabi, and Sindhi have equal rights and no one claim to be more Pakistani than the others.
Abdul Rahim has completed his M. Phil degree with a focus on foreign policies, regional security, and strategic affairs at International Islamic University, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.