Thursday, 24 November 2016

QK Archives: Mahmood Khan Achakzai

Originally published by THE NEWS on Sunday
30 April 2006

Mahmood Khan Achakzai

For a new constitution Pakistan must be a federation like Switzerland is -- where each nation is treated equally and all languages of nations have the status of national languages

By Raza Rehman Qazi

Son of great freedom fighter Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, Mahmood Khan Achakzai is a democrat in his own right. A brilliant speaker and diehard Pakhtoon nationalist from Balochistan, Achakzai is the Chairman of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP). He is the only Pakhtoon nationalist MNA in the present National Assembly after the rout of ANP in the last general election.

Senior politician and political opponent Sher Afgan pays him a compliment in these words, "Mahmood Khan is the only real democrat in the sitting parliament of Pakistan."

Mahmood Khan Achakzai received his B.Sc . Engineering degree in 1971 from Peshawar.

Achakzai can be credited for offering a scientific solution to the problems of Pakistan and its Pakhtoon population. Achakzai rarely talks to media. TNS got hold of him recently in Peshawar and talked about Pakhtoon grievances, overall nationalist politics, Kalabagh Dam and other water issues. Excerpts follow:

The News on Sunday: What is the aim of your 'solo fight' for Pakhtoon rights?

Mahmood Khan Achakzai: Ours is an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and democratic party. Our aim is that in the backdrop of peculiar problems of Pakhtoons, all Pakhtoon areas of Pakistan have to be united. We consider Pakistan a multi-ethnic state in which every nation is occupying its historical territory. The federation of Pakistan is a voluntary one where no nation is a slave of another. It is the century of equality of nations and democracy. We don't consider Pakistan a special state with a peculiar ideology. We are a part of the global village. After centuries of death and destruction, the collective wisdom of humanity has reached a consensus that military will have no role in politics. This is how it is in the civilised world. Similarly the civilised world and religions recognise the importance of mother tongues.

If political parties in Pakistan want to take the country out of crisis, they will have to agree that the armed forces and intelligence agencies will have no role in politics. Moreover, historically people comprising Pakistan are not one people. Pakhtoons and Baloch are basically Central Asians while Sindhis and Punjabis had been part of the subcontinent. The vicissitudes and tyranny of history has brought us together in one country.

Going by history, Pakhtoons are Afghans. I would not be wrong if I say I am an Afghan but a part of Pakistan. We were colonised by the British and made a part of Pakistan. We accept it. But Pakistan must be a federation like Switzerland is -- where each nation is treated equally and all languages of nations have the status of national languages.

Italian speaking territories of Switzerland have borders with Italy and likewise in the case of German and French territories of Switzerland . However, never does one hear supra-national claims or demands being made there. We don't have any such intentions either.

Some people say if Pakhtoons are given their rights they would decide to become part of Afghanistan. It is completely wrong. In 1940 Lahore Resolution the words used are 'sovereign states' that would form Pakistan. We want a federation on the basis of the 1940 Resolution -- whether bi-cameral or otherwise.

In the light of the bitter experience of Pashtoon parties' alliance with All India National Congress and after partition with other democratic forces in NAP, we decided to form a purely Pashtoon party -- to strive for the peculiar problems of our nation.

TNS: But what would be the status of the 1973 constitution?

MKA: Those who consider restoration of 1973 constitution the panacea for all maladies of Pakistan live in a fool's paradise. The 1973 constitution has institutionalised the division of Pakhtoon areas. It doesn't recognise my mother tongue and it has legitimised the ownership of others on my (Pakhtoon) resources. The 1973 constitution does not exist, what's left of it is a patchwork of the whims of dictators. This constitution legitimises the sins of three martial laws.

There is need of a new social contract between the nations of Pakistan. The 1940 Resolution provides the ideal solution. We would keep Pakistan intact on the basis of equality and humanity. The real power in the new social contract should be in the hands of the Senate. What good is the present senate if it does not have control over finances, appointment of judges, foreign and home policies? It can't even interfere in the affairs of semi-autonomous departments.
Defence, foreign affairs, currency and communication should be with the centre. Political parties should sit together and devise the formula for protection of the new constitution. In order to free Pakistan from the stranglehold of the military, it would not be a mistake if a clause is inserted into the new social contract that if the military again subverts, abrogates or violates the constitution, every federating unit would have the right to secede.

TNS: What do you think about unifying Pakhtoon nationalist parties?

MKA: I think his unification should not be symbolic. If any other party wants to make a front with PKMAP, it is welcome to do so. But this front must be purposeful and goal-oriented -- to address peculiar problems of Pakhtoons. Pakhtoon masses should be witness to the formation of the front that should present uncompromising resistance, nothing cosmetic.

Its first demand should be that all Pakhtoons of Pakistan are united in a single province. Secondly, there should be no contracts, relations, and connections with the army and intelligence agencies. Whatever decision the central committee of the front takes ought to be open. However, we would not enter into national level alliances.

TNS: How could legislative equality be achieved among ethnicities?

MKA: It requires good intention and everything under the sun is possible. Pakistan was made when it seemed an impossibility. Having a new social contract is not a big deal. The plan for restructuring Pakistan that we have presented would provide a lasting solution to Pakistan's problems. We want Pakistan to survive and it can be done as political minds understand it. In its present shape Pakistan can't function. Under which law does income from Punjab's cotton goes to Punjab while the duty on Pakhtoonkhwa's Virginia-quality tobacco goes to the centre?

Why are they compelling us to go to the International Court of Justice over every problem? If my father, Samad Khan Achakzai as an MPA signs an agreement regarding water, you make this a basis for usurping my water till doomsday. But when 50 Samad Khans pass a resolution against Kalabagh Dam you reject it. What sort of justice this is?

TNS: What is your party's stand on 1990 Water Accord?

MKA: We reject it unequivocally. First, Afghanistan should have been part of it because two of the big rivers emanate from there. It has the right over them being the upper riparian. Then how can you divide the water of NWFP's rivers. There is 113 MAF of water outflow near Attock in which we have been given just 85 per cent share. Under what formula? While Punjab would have 50 per cent share. Why? Even Attock, Mianwali and the adjacent areas are not traditionally Punjab's part and are inhabited by Pakhtoon majority.

The 1990 Water Accord was not approved by Council of Common Interests (CCI), joint sitting of parliament or NWFP provincial assembly. KBD dam is basically the result of this accord. Why don't we have the right to construct a Barrage on Khushal Garh to irrigate our very fertile but arid lands. Moreover, Pakhtoonkhwa produces hydel power several times more than its requirements and the per unit cost over it is 20 paisas. This electricity is given to the length and breadth of the country and resold to NWFP at Rs. 5 a unit. Why?

We don't get a share in the profits of Punjab and Sindh's industries run on our electricity. When we say give us our rights, we are told that Pakistan would disintegrate.

There is so much mass poverty among Pakhtoons that had it not been their honourable code of life they would tell every one of their hunger. We must educate our people that we don't hate anyone on the basis of language, colour, and religion. We don't seek alms from someone like USAID, or Arabs but want that our land's resources are used by our children.

TNS: Pakhtoons are labelled as terrorists. Why?

MKA: In the 3,500 years of recorded history you would find no instance of terrorism or sectarianism among Pakhtoons. On the contrary we have been subjected to continuous terrorism. The first perpetrator of which was Alexander.

TNS: You have comprehensive agenda for Pakhtoons but many non-Pahstoons live in Pakhtoon areas?

MKA: We know that some of our big cities like Peshawar, D.I. Khan, Abbottabad, Quetta etc are bilingual. But we are very clear about non-Pakhtoons and consider them as sons of the soil. If they speak a different language it does not make any difference. Even a down-trodden Afghanistan has decided that every child would be given education in his mother tongue. So, if Hindkowans, Hindko Academy and we have the authority we would facilitate them in every way.

TNS: What is the solution to the Waziristan crisis?

MKA: The Waziristan issue cannot be resolved until all aliens as well as Pakistan army have left the area. We have a firm belief that the Qaumi Jirga of Waziristan can resolve the problem. Again the solution lies in democratisation. What are foreigners doing there? Is it a resort?

TNS: It is said that Talibanisation is going on in the Pakhtoon belt of Pakistan?

MKA: Prayers, fasting, madrassa and talib are a part of society. But during Zia's martial, religious institutions of Pakhtoon areas suffered from a peculiar kind of interference. God knows for what purpose -- may be for Kashmir. In fact, the problem in Pakistan is that people have never been involved in its external policymaking.

TNS: What is your political philosophy?

MKA: I consider human needs sacrosanct; more sacred than any constitution or law.

TNS: How could a mass level political movement be successfully launched in Pakistan?

MKA: First, major parties have to agree that armed forces will have no role in politics. Second, the parties have to throw time-servers out.

TNS: Why don't the national democratic forces have their traditional strong manifestation among Pakhtoons now?

MKA: The reason is absence of transparent democracy. We are democratic people. We don't clamp restriction on people to vote for us. If my land's people vote for mullas instead of PKMAP, we welcome it. But not under duress or chicanery or maneuvering of intelligence agencies.

TNS: What could be done for industrialisation of Pakhtoon areas of Balochistan?

MKA: We could do industrialisation in Pakhtoon belt more easily than it could be done elsewhere provided we have power over our resources. We have the cheapest electricity in the world and now we have discovered large reservoirs of gas. We have raw material and educated and skilled workforce. Moreover, Pakhtoon areas have been centres of Buddhist civilisation. If these areas have peace, tourism industry could flourish and could earn us millions of dollars.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

QK archives: How green is my Kurram valley

How green is my Kurram valley.....
Rahimullah Yusufzai

Published circa 2000

PESHAWAR: The Kurram valley is the greenest of all the seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Plentiful rains over the last year have made it even more green and pleasant. Alas, there is no tourism in the tribal areas bordering an unstable Afghanistan or Kurram would have been one of the most popular tourist destinations.

The spring is brief in the NWFP but it tends to linger on in the enchanting Kurram valley. During a recent visit, one found the weather still getting chilly at night. The blooming flowers and the abundant shrubs release a fragrance that is unique and overpowering. Standing tall are the stately Chinar trees, which gave Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency, its identity. The dried trunk of the old Chinar that inspired the founders of Parachinar has been preserved for posterity.

Talking of Chinar, one saw a tree by the roadside in the picturesque Shalozan village that defies description. It is huge, its trunk measuring a few marlas according to a villager even after having lost part of it to builders widening the road. Social worker Nisar Hussain said his late grandmother used to tell the family at the ripe old age of 90-plus that she never discerned any changes in the said Chinar tree since her childhood. It was the same when she was young and had changed little when she turned a grandmother. Forest department experts estimated this particular Chinar to be about 250 years old. By the way, people in Kurram Agency believe the Chinar catches fire every 100 years and it requires a collective effort by the villagers on such occasions to save their precious trees.

Kurram valley's famed beauty has inspired poets and lured invaders, traders and settlers. A large number of Afghan refugees have also made it home and in the process altered its delicate demographic balance. Being Sunnis, their arrival alarmed the Shias, who belong to the Turi, Bangash and Orakzai Pashtun tribes, and sometimes fuelled sectarian strife. Mercifully, there have been no sectarian riots for the last seven years. The resultant peace has brought harmony in Shia-Sunni relations and allowed the economy to grow and development activities to flourish. However, the distrust nurtured by years of sectarian divide is still deep and there is little hope of revival of inter-marriages in the near future. The two instances in which Shia boys married Sunni girls involved bridegrooms from Kurram Agency and brides from Thall and Dir, both outside Kurram.

The disastrous consequences of past sectarian strife have prompted both Shia and Sunni tribal elders and religious scholars to preach peace and tolerance. A Shia cleric, affectionately called Sur (red) Mullah on account of his healthy red cheeks, urged brotherhood among members of the two communities during a meeting in a Shiite village, Shakh Daulatkhel. Describing Kurram valley as a heavenly land, he advocated peaceful co-existence and unity between the two sects of Islam so that they could jointly foil the conspiracies of anti-Muslim forces. Similar messages are conveyed by Sunni Ulema in stark contrast with the past conduct of religious leaders of the two sects when all they preached was hatred.

The imposing Spinghar mountain range was still covered with snow, glistening in the sun and promising a bountiful supply of water when it would start melting in the summer. The bazaars in Parachinar, Sadda, Alizai, Baggan and other towns were busy and the shops full. Vehicles, mostly non-customs paid, plied not only on the re-carpetted main road from Chapari to Parachinar but also to every village in the valley. Remittances sent by Kurmaywals, dwellers of Kurram, working in the Gulf countries have brought a level of prosperity to many families. Glimpses of this wealth are visible through newly built houses, tubewells, vehicles and weapons.

However, it would be naïve to claim that the Kurram valley being a paradise on earth is problem-free. Unemployment is acute, lack of water in part of the valley is a fact of life, there is no industry worth the name, and proliferation of arms due to Kurram valley's proximity to Afghanistan is a matter of concern. Villagers resorted to cultivation of poppies this year after a lapse of more than two decades not only to cash in on the fabulous prices being offered for opium but also to invite the government's attention to their long-standing problems. The authorities are presently busy destroying the standing poppy crop by employing the classic carrot and stick approach.

In fact, Kurram suffers from the same official neglect that is the fate of all tribal agencies. The tribesmen frequently complain about the unresponsive system of political administration that considers the tribals untrustworthy subjects rather than as partners. Coercive laws, such as the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), also arouse anger and frustration. The introduction of universal adult franchise in 1997 did help in empowering common tribesmen and weakening the stranglehold of the hereditary Maliks but the government's indecision in extending the devolution plan to FATA and offering representation to the tribesmen in the NWFP Assembly is again fuelling despondency. It is going to be another long wait before our rulers start trusting and empowering the tribal people.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

QK Archives: Maulvi Jee and Jabran Adeel

Maulvi Jee and Jabran Adeel
Rahimullah Yusufzai
Originally published by THE NEWS circa 2004

Two widely mourned deaths of a very old and young man

PESHAWAR: Two Peshawarites, one very old and the other young, died recently and both were widely mourned. Syed Amir Shah Qadri, or Maulvi Jee as he was affectionately called, passed away at the ripe old age of 85 and yet his demise was deeply felt. Jabran Adeel, 33, couldn’t accomplish all that he was capable of, but his death still cast a gloom.

The choice of the venue for the two funerals said it all. The Nimaz-i-Janaza for Maulvi Jee was performed at the vast Wazir Bagh because there were few places in Peshawar that could have accommodated the crowd of mourners who wanted to pay their last respects to the revered old man. And the spacious Jinnah Park was chosen to hold the throngs of people who wanted to share Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haji Mohammad Adeel’s grief on the untimely death of his dear son Jabran. Peshawarites no doubt formed the bulk of the mourners at both places, but people came from all over the Frontier and beyond.

A lot has been written about Maulvi Jee, extolling his qualities of head and heart and recalling his services for the country and Islam. The “Barakan Walay Syed,” as he was often referred to by his fans in his mother tongue Hindko, belonged to the Barelvi school of thought, but the faithful from every sect gave him respect. He had varied interests, authoring books, publishing a religious journal, patronizing social, cultural and literary organizations, promoting sectarian tolerance, and occasionally dabbling in politics from the platform of late Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani’s JUP. It was, therefore, hardly surprising that his death was mourned by so many people.

Dying young is rightly described as a tragedy, more so if the person passing away is talented and full of promise. The same can be said about Jabran Adeel, who lived a full life but left this world before making use of his true potential. He hadn’t married yet and was only beginning to make an impact in politics and business. He had been elected the Peshawar city district vice-president of the ANP, the latest version of the nationalist movement to which his father and grandfather had devoted all their lives. He was already doing political work in PF-4, the old provincial assembly seat of his father who had shifted to the neighbouring PF-6 constituency in the last general elections and lost to an MMA candidate.

Jabran Adeel had twice won election as an executive member in the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI). His win was remarkable because it was achieved despite opposition by the powerful Bilour group. In due course of time, he would have contested election for a provincial assembly seat and for a major SCCI office.

His interest was not confined to politics and business. He was a painter, winning an All Pakistan painting contest. He loved photography and had an artistic mind, creating furniture and taking interest in arts and the crafts. He was part of an STN project to make a film on his beloved Peshawar. It was titled “Pushpapur to Peshawar.” He had filmed the city with his digital camera and selected only five minutes footage from a video-tape spread over16 hours. He was also a good speaker and debater. His skills as a speaker were acknowledged when he conducted the proceedings of a Peshawar function organized by a traders-run NGO, Ittefaq Kidney Centre with former corps commander Lt Gen Ali Mohammad Orakzai as the chief guest.

Jabran Adeel spent five and a half years in the US, qualifying in economics and business administration from the Boston University. He took active part in students’ politics and even tried to contest the election for the union’s president despite being very young. He could have stayed back in the US and hunted a job, but he opted to return to Pakistan in 1996. It was the start of a new life for the young man, who could adapt himself to enjoy the company of both the rich and the powerful and the poor and the weak.

Those who knew Jabran Adeel found him a humble man, who was both religious and secular. His grieving father said Jabran was modern and liberal and yet he prayed regularly and kept books on Sufism in his personal library. He said he was surprised to find out after his death that Jabran regularly interacted with known Frontier intellectuals Abdullah, Prof Mussarrat Shah and Abasin Yousafzai.

The cause of his death isn’t known. Doctors have speculated that it was cardiac arrest or his lungs got punctured. He did suffer from pollen allergy but his condition wasn’t diagnosed as asthma. One would have to conclude that Jabran Adeel was destined to die young, leaving a lively and friendly man such as Haji Adeel dejected and withdrawn. Those who lose young sons and two prominent men immediately come to mind, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, have known this pain before it inflicted Haji Adeel. May God give them and all other fathers the strength to bear such an irreparable loss!

Friday, 18 November 2016

QK Archives: Interview with Haji Adeel

QK archives: This interview was originally published (March 2008) by THE NEWS on Sunday. 
Haji Muhammad  Adeel (b. October 25, 1944 - d. 18 November 2016) was a veteran politican affiliated with the Awami National Party and its predecessors. A former Senator who played a role in the passage of the 18th amendment and prior to that deputy speaker Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly.

Provincial rights

Our opposition to foreigners is not limited just to foreign armies. We are against all foreign soldiers, whether regular or irregular, Al-Qaeda or Taliban.

By Raza Rahman Khan

Haji Muhammad Adeel is a prominent leader of the Awami National Party (ANP). He is the son of a famous Khudai Khidmatgar activist Haji Abdul Jalil Nadvi, who was the first political prisoner from India to be imprisoned in Andaman Islands by the British authorities under the Rollet Act.Haji Adeel has worked as the provincial finance minister and as the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly in the Frontier. He has also served as the ANP's central information secretary. These days he is the central vice-president of his party. The News on Sunday talked to him recently in Peshawar. Excerpts of his interview follow:

The News on Sunday: How do you feel being a Hindko-speaking leader of a party which espouses Pakhtoon nationalism?

Haji Adeel: I am very comfortable with that. Hindko is as old a language as Pashto is. Both Hindko and Pashto are the languages of Pashtoons. Hindko is not a dialect of Punjabi which is only 500 years old.
Then there are other Hindko speakers in the ANP -- Ilyas Bilour, Haji Ghulam Bilour, Qazi Anwar, Aqil Shah etc. Even in pre-partition days, there was Yahya Jan, a Hindko speaker who served as a minister in Ghaffar Khan's provincial government. The ANP has accommodated Hindkowans more than their strength warrants. It has given tickets to Hindkowans where they enjoy the support of the majority, like in Peshawar the party has awarded tickets to me, Haji Bilour, Bashir Bilour and Aqil Shah.

TNS: Are there any talks going on between the ANP and the Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami (Party PkMAP) for unification?

HA: No talks are being held now, though we have made some attempts in the past. But on 95 per cent of the issues, the two parties have similar views. The difference is over technical details. We would like to come together under one umbrella. If that does not happen, the ANP has a policy not to contest elections against other nationalist forces.

TNS: Recently, a number of people have joined the ANP and some have left it. Does this means some radical shift has occurred after the visit of the party's president Asfandyar Wali Khan's visit to the United States?

HA: No, there is no radical shift. Our principled stance (on all national and international issues) is very much intact. About the joining of politicians like Khwaja Hoti, Ghani Dad, Sarfaraz Khan, I welcome them. But at the same time I want to clarify that no one has left ANP. If someone says former senator Qazi Anwar has done so, then I will says he retired from politics in 2003. So, he has not left ANP to join some other party. He has rather re-joined active politics.

TNS: Pakistan is undergoing a lot of political turmoil. What do you think is the remedy for that. Can 1973 constitution put all this in order.

HA: If you abrogate the 1973 constitution, it will be very difficult to form a new constitution. Smaller provinces have lost faith in Islamabad and they are very like to seek a confederation if and when we try to forge a new constitution.
We want the Constitution restored in its original form. We want all the amendments made by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf removed, except for one or two amendments which were unanimously passed.
But at the same time we ask for some other constitutional amendments. For instance, we would like to give more powers to the Senate like on moving and passing of the Finance Bill. We would also like to make amendments to ensure provincial autonomy by leaving only four subjects with the federal government -- that is, foreign affairs, currency, defence and inter-provincial communication. In fact, when the 1973 constitution was unanimously passed, it guaranteed this autonomy but unfortunately it did not materialise. Now, all this can be ensured by introducing 18th Amendment in the constitution.
If dictators like Zia and Musharraf can change the constitution with the help of the mullahs, why can't it be changed genuinely for attaining the purposes I have mentioned earlier.

TNS: That means that you are a firm believer in the federal system. Do you believe Pakistan is a genuine federation?

HA: When we talk of a federal structure, we are talking about provincial autonomy and financial autonomy and when we say giving the subject of currency to the Centre we are not saying that we will give financial powers to the federal government. But people mix up the two things. At the moment, the State Bank of Pakistan and the Central Board of Revenue are controlling all the financial affairs of the provinces. These bodies follow the directives of the central government and in the provincial governments they have their lobbies. We, instead, want provincial boards of revenue

There is a mafia operating in Pakistan which consists of Punjab's bureaucrats, that province's billionaires, Karachi's rich and powerful billionaires and the military and civil bureaucracy in Islamabad. I will also like to add Wapda (Water and Power Development Authority) to this list because it is not giving us our share of profit it earns from power generation in our province. The accumulated arrears in this head amount to 6 trillion rupees. I have calculated the figure keeping in view the interest rates which the State Bank charges from my province on its loans. When our money is lying with the federal bank, why shouldn't we charge interest on it.
Same goes for natural gas pumped from Sui in Balochistan. The town has been providing gas since 1952 to the whole country. Around the same time, natural gas was discovered in the Gulf states. Look at the current conditions in Gulf states and compare it with Dera Bugti. There is no match. We are buying gas from Sui at the rate of 50 paisas per unit. Now Iran is asking for eight dollars per unit of gas for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. Though Pakistan thinks the Iranian demand is irrational, it is ready to pay four dollars per unit. Moreover, every year Rs 9 billion subsidy is given to Sindh, Punjab, Pakhtoonkhwa (Frontier) and cement and fertilizer industries for the purchase of Sui gas. Why is this subsidy given from the income generated by natural gas in Balochistan? If subsidy has to be given, then the federal government should pay it from its own resources. Same is the case with Pakhtoonkhwa because we are not getting our share in the Central Excise Duty on tobacco grown here. Also we are not paid our share in the money earned from the export of timber and precious and semi-precious stones. Punjab is using one million acre feet of our share of water without our permission. Its half a million land is being cultivated by our waters but Punjab does not give us even a single grain of wheat to compensate for that. Instead Punjab imposes restrictions on the inter-provincial movement of wheat (to prevent it from landing in the Frontier).

TNS: Why is the federal structure not being successful in Pakistan?

HA: First of all you have to treat all the units equally in sectors like health, education, infrastructure and above all job opportunities. A healthy competition (among the federating units) and a uniform institutional development, therefore, cannot be expected. Then we have a resource sharing formula which strongly favours Punjab because of its larger population. It was Punjab which rejected the federal divisible pool on the basis of population when Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan. Even in the political sphere, Punjab then did not accept population as a basis for allocating seats in the parliament.

TNS: Of late, there has been a statement by President Musharraf that no foreign troops will be allowed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). How do you foresee situation unfolding in Fata in the context of this statement?

HA: We will never approve of any foreign troops on the land of Pakistan. The ANP has been against the American presence in Pakistan since 1950s. But our opposition to foreigners is not limited just to foreign armies. We are against all foreign soldiers, whether regular or irregular, Al-Qaeda or Taliban.
In Fata, irregular armies are present and the responsibility for their presence lies with our agencies. Al-Qaeda men came to Pakistan with the help of the then government's agencies, American weapons dollars and Saudi petro-dollars.
At the same time, we believe when security agencies bombard or operate against foreigners, local people get killed and their property gets destroyed.
There is an invisible government within the government which is active in Fata. The Pakistan Army is totally blocked and surrounded. Our troops can't go outside their barracks. Political agents can't go outside their offices. When the military is not so effective, what is the need for sending more troops to Fata?
Sealing bazaars is not the solution. This is not the way to enforce the writ of the government. Military is behaving like a colonial force in Fata. Our policies in Fata have completely failed. The only solution is a genuine Loya Jirga (grand assembly of the people). It is ironic that the militants and the government do not allow TV channels to cover news in the area; there is complete ban on newspapers' entry. The government has completely banned political parties' entry in Fata but mullahs are still allowed to operate through mosques and madrasas to make political speeches five times a day.
My suggestion is that Fata should be changed into Pata (Provincially Administered Tribal Areas) and they should be given representation in the provincial assembly.

TNS: Will ANP join ARD and endorse the Charter of Democracy signed by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif?

HA: These are two different things. The charter is a moral and written commitment on the part of the parties who would become signatories to it that when they get the power, they will abide by its 36 points including not allowing the military to be the part of the political system and to avoid using the judiciary for political purposes. These points are not bad but they need further elaboration, like on the financial powers for the Senate, provincial autonomy and the Constitution's reverting to its original form. We demand clear policies by the signatories of the charter on Balochistan and Waziristan. We want a clear commitment that in future the Pakistan Army will not be used against Pakistanis.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

QK archives: Renaming NWFP debate

published by the NATION 23rd March 2004
Renaming NWFP debate
The Pukhtoons initially hailed the advent of the British annexation of the present NWFP with British India during 1846-49 since it delivered them from the atrocities of Sikh Rule.
Due to the fluctuating policies of British India on its North-Western Frontier, the Britons first annexed it into Punjab and after a little stabilisation following signing of Durand Treaty with Afghanistan in 1893, they constituted these areas into a separate Chief Commissionerate Province in 1901 run by Frontier Crimes Regulations and deprived of all rights and privileges enjoyed by other provinces of the rest of British India. They were even reluctant to upgrade it to Governor’s Province because of the special status of Tribal Areas, which were ruled by the Political Department in the External Affairs of British India at Delhi, and with which the settled districts had been geographically indivisible and contiguous part.
Muslim opinion in the British India was outraged because of consistent refusal of British India to extend the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 and then of Montagu-Chelmsford reforms of 1919 to the Province. The famous 14 points of Quaid-i-Azam aimed at saving the Muslim-Hindu unity shattered by Congress after its communalist attitude, the point 13 demanded full provincial status for the Province. Muslim members in the Central Legislative Assembly persistently demanded the extension of reforms to the province and the upgradation of it into a full-fledged province. The writings of Sir Fazli Hussain of Punjab provide the living testimony to this fact.
1930 is watershed year in the history of subcontinent. For the first time Sir Mohammed Iqbal enunciated the “formation of a consolidated North-West Indian State” in Allahabad Muslim League meeting along religious lines as India, according to him, was irreconcilably divided between Muslims and Hindus. Though he did not demand separation but called for a Muslim State within India. Choudhri Rehmat Ali coined the name of Pakistan, the acronym of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sind and ‘tan’ of Baluchistan, which he subsequently substantiated in his pamphlet ‘Now or Never’ two years later.
By 1930, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was completely disillusioned with the Congress version of Muslim-Hindu unity. Therefore he left for London and remained there till 1935. Fortunately the same year in 1930 people of the Province rose against the British rule and a widespread movement gripped the province.
But unfortunately the leadership of the movement without studying the Indian political scene, which by then had been clearly divided into two distinct currents of Hindu and Muslim interests represented by Congress and Muslim League respectively, tied the destiny of the province in an unnatural alliance with the Congress and deprived it of some of its genuine rights because of the movement leadership’s dubious role during partition and afterwards. However the British administration buckled under the influence of Indian Muslim opinion and the struggle of the Frontier people, and alongside other reforms granting the province full provincial status in 1935 Act.
The name of the province remained unresolved because of the shifting priorities of Whitehall, most of them strategic in nature, till 1947. The Frontier Congress, predecessors of some of those clamouring for renaming the province, thrice held power in the province before the inception of Pakistan, while the Federal powers were wielded by their mother organisation, the All-India Congress, but renaming the province never occurred to them because their priorities had been identical with Delhi. During partition the Frontier Congress leadership in collusion with Indian National Congress tried to sabotage the unity of the Pakistan by refusing to join Pakistan and demanding a third option of Pathanistan in the referendum at the spur of the moment despite the tripartite agreement between Britain, Congress and Muslim League about partition, of which they had been a part.
But Nehru refused to grant the option of independence to the province given the fact that other states and provinces would have demanded such an alternative. Therefore, the bogey of Pakhtunistan was born with the birth of Pakistan. In this widespread net of conspiracy sponsored and abetted by Congress leadership at Delhi, Afghanistan was wittingly trapped and dragged in on the basis of ethnological and historical factors quite different from the Congress. So the genuine demand of renaming the province that should have been decided there and then before or after the inception of Pakistan got intertwined with external factors creating suspicions in the mind of successive Pakistani governments.
The world has changed. Cold War has gone for good. Region has changed and other changes are in the offing. The Pak-India thaw and initiation of bilateral dialogue aimed at resolving all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, has given birth to a new perspective to the whole scenario. Afghanistan is already undergoing radical transformations. Pakistan has, fortunately, also changed and is shedding most of its past baggage.
New thinking and a new beginning are needed inside and outside. The fragile edifice on which the State of Pakistan was sustained for the last 56 years is fast crumbling under the weight of global imperatives. In this connection the anachronism of NWFP needs a refreshing look. Given the fact that no strategic consideration vis-_-vis this Province exists, so it would be better to relieve the people of the province from an unnecessary exercise and waste of energy on this score. The more politicians harp on this issue the more the real issues are sidetracked.
So let it be once and for all decided. The name of Afghania can be traced back to the father of the nation. First coined by Choudhri Rehmat Ali in the proposed acronym of Pakistan as the second word ingredient of Pakistan, the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, substantiated it in his interview with the last Viceroy of India, Rear Admiral Viscount Mountbatten of Burma:
“Mr Liaqat Ali Khan stated that the name of the Muslim State to be set up would definitely be Pakistan. Mr Jinnah explained the derivation of the word Pakistan - P for Punjab; A for Afghania (i.e. Pathan or NWFP); K for Kashmir; “I” for nothing because this letter was not in the word in Urdu; S for Sind and TAN for the last syllable for Baluchistan. Mr Liaqat Ali Khan said that the literal meaning for Pakistan was “pure land”. [See Record of Interview between Rear Admiral Viscount Mountbatten of Burma and Mr Jinnah and Mr Liaqat Ali Khan. Mountbatten Papers. Viceroy’s Interview No. 140, 17 May 1947, 6 PM, in Mansergh’s Transfer of Power, Volume X]
The ‘B’ of Bengal in the acronym was deliberately kept outside Pakistan, as Quaid-i-Azam and his colleagues really believed that it should remain one and united country with Calcutta its capital. But it was Congress and especially Nehru and Patel who scuttled the concept of a United Bengal country despite that the British had been in favour of it.
Allama Iqbal time and again referred to Pathan people and area as Afghania. In his allusion to Khushal Khan Khattak he says: Ai Hakime Millate Afghania, Ai Tabibe Illate Afghania. (O specialist of the nation of Afghania, O doctor of the frailty of Afghania)
Renaming the province will further cement our ties with Afghanistan. The ill will existing in some minds in Afghanistan about the treatment of Pakistan with their Pukhtoon brethren will thus be removed once for all. The Indian factor, which had also expediently trumpeted up the cause of Pakhtunistan in the past, will be dealt with. This pre-partition baggage burdening the shoulders of people of the Province will be successfully thrown in the dustbin of history. It will further contribute to the unity and cohesion of Pakistan. The unity in diversity will be complete with the addition of Afghania to Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and Kashmir as envisaged by Father of the Nation.
The BJP stalwarts, Attal Behari Vajpayee and LK Advani, have rightly pointed out that Kashmir was creation of Congress and only their party was capable of resolving this issue with Pakistan. The same could be said of the renaming of our province which was also in a way creation of Congress (?) and only new set-up within Pakistan with no past baggage can settle this once for all. Properly naming our province can also sort out the lingering conflict with Afghanistan.
The Pukhtoon intellectuals have time and again stressed upon the name of Afghania, however, the verdict of the people of the province should be believed. The best way to ascertain the views of the people is to hold a referendum on the names of Afghania, Pukhtoonkhwa and Pukhtoonistan. Whatever the people of the province decide, that should be wholeheartedly accepted. But let us bury this hatchet once for all.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

QK archives:Interview Afzal Khan Lala

• An Interview with Afzal Khan Lala Qk archives 2004 interview

Q: After passing 56 years of Pakistan why do you feel the need of Durand Line Conference?
A: Due to the present political and geographical situation of the region on both sides of Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is the right time for both countries to negotiate and find out proper solution to this 'temporary line', as the government of Pakistan at this time also takes this issue seriously and before our Durand Line Conference, the government's Defense Department had also hold serious conferences on the issue of Durand Line.

Q: What is the historical background of the Durand Line?
A: The Britishers were aware of the Pathan's resistance and courage and was difficult for them to control this area in order to defend and maintain their colonial power. They planned to break down the power of Pakhtoons and thus divided them under their "three-fold Frontier policy" into different geographical units, so the British drew three lines to break the power of Pakhtoons. The first line was the "settled areas" in which the British enforced their own law, policy and system of education". Another line was drawn in the name of "Durand Line". The area under that line was further divided into agencies, states and "Illaqa Ghair" (Aliens land) , but this term was applied to the area which was condoned by the government as free. There, the British maintained its existence through the political department, and avoided interference, ostensibly, in those areas other than construction of roads and cantonments.

They did not enforce their own law in those areas. This is the central part of the Pakhtoon-land and considered the spiral column. Thus through this way a Pakhtoons land was divided into different parts in order to shatter the national unity of Pakhtoons and he added that unfortunately that division still stands even 56 years after the creation of Pakistan.Another line that was drawn along the Oxus river, the area between that line and the Durand Line was called Afghanistan and there the British did not establish any type of political department nor they exercise direct interference. Instead, it was handed over to the Amir of Kabul to rule. But, these Amirs were subjugated in case of the foreign relations of Afghanistan. The Afghan delegation for the demarcation of the boundary line along the Oxus river between Afghanistan and Tsar of Russia was led by a British, named Simen. And it left no doubt about that line that it was, in fact, that boundary between British Empire and the Russian Empire, so in this way the geographical unity of Afghans was divided. It was, in fact, not the boundary line but the borders of visible and invisible states of the British.

Q: What was the policy of the British government for drawing the Durand Line among the Afghans?
A: There was no ban on movements of people living across the Durand Line. After existence of Pakistan, the movements also remained free and therefore, unfortunately the Afghans did not feel the unity of Pakhtoons in this region, which has become a great challenge for Pakhtoons to unite as a nation.

Q: What was the reason of silence over the Durand Line of Afghanistan government at that time?
A: The Amir of Afghanistan, though considered the king by its subject, was aware of the fact that he had been installed on the throne by the British and the British had restricted Afghanistan in foreign affairs to such extent that the Amir who deviated from the policy of British had to loose the prone and it happened to every Amir from Dost Mohammad Khan to Amanullah Khan.

Q: Why did the Pukhtoon leaders not oppose the Russian and American invasion and attacks on Pakhtoons.?
A: In this regard, the pakhtoon leaders had played an active role at every political and supportive aspects. During the American attacks on Afghanistan, I personally called all parties meeting in which they warned the America about the killing of innocent Afghans people. Taliban were not the representatives of Pakhtoons and they did not considered themselves as Pakhtoons that is why we did not support Taliban Government in Afghanistan.

Q: Why are the Pakhtoons still divided into parts in the country and what has been the role of Pakhtoons leaders to unite them as a nation??
A:On the surface of earth, many nations are still divided. They have been struggling for centuries for their reunifications to regain their honor and places among other nations of the world. But those small nations still writhe in shackles of the time. The Pakhtun nations is one of them, which had been divided more than 105 years ago. More than 50 years of the freedom of Pakistan have also lapsed, but Pukhtuns still live in three separate divisions i.e Frontier, Tribal Areas and Balochistan, yet they are nameless. He informed that the history bears testimony to the fact that if those natural units, which have been divided by force, are not reunited in peaceful ways. The great Pakhtuns leaders were trying from the very time of division for reunification of Pakhtuns. And now in the present political and geographical changes in situations of the Pakhtuns region, the reunification has become order of the time. And the present circumstances are enforcing now the Afghans in and across the Durand Line to reunite for their identity and existence.

Q: Why the 'ups and down' on Pakhtuns in and across the country could not reunite them?
A:It is a matter of concern that instead of taking effective steps towards restoration of the national unity of Pukhtuns, after the creation of Pakistan, the line drawn by the British between the two Islamic countries was considered as the boundary. He said the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam had said in clear words in a radio address to the people of Australia on February 19, 1948; "We Muslim must stand united as one nation." You know the old saying that in unity lies in strength. United we stand, divided we fall, the great nationalist leader said that after the assertion of Quaid-e-Azam, the Durand Line cannot remain a boundary because people on the upper as well as lower sides are not only Muslims, but are descendants of one father and adherent to one culture and one language also and in this way the rulers of Pakistan were obliged to initiate efforts for a sort of alliance and reunification with Afghanistan.

Q: Is the Pak-Afghan policy going in the right direction. If not then why?
A - Pakistan always interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, that is why now the situation was becoming difficult for them even on the borders aw well as in the Afghanistan. About the government policy towards Afghanistan I would like to say that first there is no policy of the government with Afghanistan and if up to some extend exists would not in favor of the Pakhtuns living in and across the borders. If the government prepares policy according to wills of Pakhtuns with Afghanistan now the situation would have been different.

Q: Why did you quit from ANP, despite having being remained as central president and also at other important positions in the party?
A: ANP gave me a lot of honor and I did my job there honestly, but on the issue of reunification of the Pukhtuns nation some leaders of the party did not agree with my opinion, for which I had served my whole life. That is why I left ANP and founded another own party Pakhtunkhwa Qaumi Party for the rights and reunification of Pakhtuns as a nation.

Q: Why the Pukhtuns are still oppressed and not achieving their identity as a Nation?
A: Unfortunately, in the Pakhtuns society, two parties remain dominant, which were not devoted to their society. The one party is Mullas (religious party) and the other is politicians, because even they don't ready to accept their language as a national language in the nations, which was a first priority for a nation.

Q: What is your opinion about the ongoing operation in the Tribal Area in the name of 'Al-Qaeda Operation'?
A: The pathans have their own traditional values and they are considered as honest and are famous for their hospitality but the label of terrorism and al-Qaeda over them would emerge various problems for the government.