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.
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