Saturday, 17 June 2017

Tables on Selected Education Indicators in KP 2004-05 to 2015-16

Tables on Selected Education Indicators in KP 2004-05 to 2015-16
by Muhammad Saleem (Twitter @memzarma )

There is a renewed focus on KP education performance both in the mainstream media and on social media. While some of the commentators do speak about it based on authentic data, others (and they are in the majority) do not have a clue when speaking about education performance in KP. To have an informed debate, I tried to compile a few tables on the few important education indicators. These are all outcome indicators, which are a result of government policies in education sectors and the overall socio-economic environment in the province. The data here is presented with the hope that people may be able to participate in a more informed debate. The data is of 3 different regimes in the province so one can compare different political government performance as well.
    
Following are tables on selected education indicators in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the years [from 2004-05 to 2015-16]. The data is taken from the annual Pakistan Social & Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) surveys available here at http://www.pbs.gov.pk/content/pakistan-social-and-living-standards-measurement collected by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. This PSLM survey exercise was initiated, among other things, to track on the MDGs in Pakistan. As per PBS explanation, the data pertaining to each year is collected for the same year, though the reports came out late. For example, the data for the year 2015-16 is collected between September 2015 and June 2016. The data for the year 2009-10 & 2015-16 is not available for all indicators as it is not readily available on the PBS website. Some missing data points for these two years were looked into different issues of Economic Survey of Pakistan. The last table [Table 14] is headcount poverty measure taken from the UNDP report on Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and is available here.
http://www.pk.undp.org/content/pakistan/en/home/library/hiv_aids/Multidimensional-Poverty-in-Pakistan.html
   

Notes for Table 1: (A) Population aged 10 years and older that has ever attended school as a percentage of the total population aged 10 years and older. (B) Attended School: All those individuals who have ever attended school (either currently attending, or attended in the past) were taken to have attended school.



 Notes for Table 3 and subsequent tables on NER: (A) Net Enrolment Rate (NER): Number of children in age bracket mentioned attending primary school divided by total number of children in that bracket multiplied by 100.  


Notes for Table 4: This is the main table, which is taken as the normal primary level enrolment rate and which the government pledged to increase it to 100% as per the MDG goals and now the SDGs. Economic Survey of Pakistan also report this table regularly each year in its annual reports.




Notes for Table 6: This table depicts a picture of government-run primary schools. Any improvement in government schools will show its results here.


Notes for Table 7: Again, this tables shows that how much of school going kids go to government-run primary schools. The table shows that over the years, enrolment in government schools is on the decline. The year 2005-06 is seems to be an outlier. In 2006-07, Only 21% kids were enrolled in private schools out of total enrolled kids which is now at 31%. 



Notes for Table 8: In 2004-05, 78% of the total enrolled kids were going to government schools, which now drops to 68%. Every year in KP, government schools loose out 1% of its enrolment to private schools. Multiple reasons are here to be blamed such as missing facilities in government schools, less government schools (especially girls’ schools) as against the demand and low quality of the government-run schools. There is a caveat to the last one though: Most of the private primary schools are no better than the government schools in terms of quality education but then due to ‘the culture of admitting kids in private schools as a symbol of status’, most middle class parents send their children to private schools. This is off course anecdotal (the write observe this in district Swabi where 90% of the private schools results in the SSC exam was as poor as government run high schools) and a proper research in this area is needed.    




Notes for Table 13: (A) Population aged 10 years and older that is literate expressed as a percentage of the population aged 10 years and older. (B) Literacy: For all surveys, literacy is taken as the ability to read a newspaper and to write a simple letter. 



This table is taken from the UNDP report of 20th June, 2016 on the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which is being calculated with the data taken from PSLM surveys. The MPI index is a composite index calculated from various indicators of education, health and living conditions. The overall weightage given to these three variables is equal (1/3 of total) which is further divided into the following sub-variables.  







Wednesday, 14 June 2017

QK Archives: Habib Jalib Baloch

Originally published by Daily Times July 2010
COMMENT:Knight, not pawn: Habib Jalib Baloch —Dr Mohammad Taqi

More striking than Habib Jalib's flowing long hair was his political maturity that was certainly beyond his years. This transition from a student politician to a statesman is rather rare in our part of the world

“Aiy haak ki may nagrin qawm e jis o gor int,

Aiy haak a pa maa taah e jatag shaklein zinday” — Mir Gul Khan Nasir.

“This soil has been our home, after death it has been our grave,

So, for evermore, I am this soil’s slave.”



In the parlance of nationalist movements in Pakistan, the motherland (watan) has often been described as the place where one’s home and grave are (kor and gor, respectively in Pashto, for example). The Baloch revolutionary poet Gul Khan Nasir’s above verse, however, took the concept to a new height. And in his death, on July 15, 2010, Comrade Habib Jalib Baloch immortalised the verse, the concept and the struggle that is befitting of this ideal.

In their February 2000 monograph titled ‘Knights, not Pawns: Ethno-Nationalism and Regional Dynamics in Post-Colonial Balochistan’, Paul Titus and Nina Swidler note that, “In the pivotal years of 1947 and 1948, the Muslim League was able to outmanoeuvre and suppress these ambitious young (nationalist) movements, but they did not die. In subsequent decades, Baloch and Pashtun nationalism became key elements in the political discourse and the equation of power in Balochistan, and they remain so today.”

These movements did not die simply because they have had in their ranks revolutionary dervishes like Ajmal Khattak and Habib Jalib Baloch. These knights have overshadowed almost all pawns that the Pakistani establishment has produced and used to derail the nationalist movements. Their shining armour has been nothing but dedication to their cause and its adornments are their intellect, humility and contact with their people. A sense of pride in their self-chosen, dignified poverty and shunning material incentives is the Teflon that kept every blemish away from their armour and person.

63 years, four martial laws and six major military operations later, the Baloch struggle for autonomy, self-governance and the right to self-determination continues while the fringes of the movement now demand outright independence from the downright knaves of the establishment. It is highly unlikely that silencing a voice of reason like Jalib Baloch will succeed in gagging the demand for rights. In the poem quoted above, Gul Khan Nasir goes on to express the resolve of his people:

“Dastanai bebanday ta ke chammani bebanday,

Kohani zirab a che pa aram a na nenday.”

“Tie our hands behind our backs or blindfold our eyes,

our seething furious mountains will always make us rise.”

By physically eliminating the moderate leaders, the oppressors of Balochistan stoke the fury of mainstream individuals. We keep hearing the ‘foreign hand’ being involved in Balochistan and how the ‘evil’ nationalist chieftains seek and get help from India or Afghanistan. Selig Harrison, however, noted decades ago: “In contrast to [Khair Bakhsh] Marri who is uneasy and ambivalent about seeking Soviet or other foreign help for an independence struggle, [Ghaus Bakhsh] Bizenjo stated that ‘in a crisis, naturally we will seek help from somewhere, and if we get it, we will accept it. When a nationality is fighting for survival, what do you expect?’”

One should bear in mind that Marri was considered the hardliner and the late Bizenjo was considered the perennial moderate. In fact, so great was Bizenjo’s penchant for talks that instead of Baba-e-Balochistan (father of the Baloch nation), his detractors called him ‘Baba-e-muzakraat’ (negotiation). Jalib Baloch belonged to the same league of towering intellectuals of a moderate political persuasion of the likes of Bizenjo. While Jalib remained committed to the political process, his assassination might push those with similar views to the fringes.

I had an opportunity to briefly interact with Jalib Baloch during the lawyers’ movement. We shared a good laugh at an APDM rally in Islamabad when I asked if Nur Muhammad Tarakai’s sartorial preferences had inspired him to don the long black overcoat. As most obituaries have pointed out, he indeed was a humble, soft-spoken and unassuming man who appeared younger than his age. However, more striking than his flowing long hair was his political maturity that was certainly beyond his years. This transition from a student politician to a statesman is rather rare in our part of the world. In this, he ranked right up there with the greats of the past like Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo and contemporaries like my good friend Afrasiab Khattak of the ANP.

One can argue about Jalib’s political views and what he perceived as the correct means to achieve the rightful place for the Baloch people in the political economy of Pakistan and the region. However, what he would not have wanted is the bickering that has apparently broken out between various Baloch political and resistance groups.

The obscure group, Baloch Musallah Defai Tanzeem might have accepted the responsibility for Jalib Baloch’s murder but history points its finger towards forces that have been implicated in the systematic killings of their political and intellectual opponents from Hassan Nasir, Zahir Rehan, Shahidullah Kaiser, Mir Lawang Khan, Asadullah Mengal, Nazir Abbasi, Ayaz Sammo, Munir Baloch and Maula Bux Dasti to Abdus Samad Khan, ZA Bhutto, Dr Najibullah, Nawab Bugti and Benazir Bhutto.

Once Sardar Ataullah Mengal said, “That man [late Bizenjo sahib] cannot live without politics. I can do without it, but he has to have it all the time or he will perish.” I would plead with Sardar sahib, Nawab Marri and other senior Baloch elders and leaders that without their taking up an active role in politics to help banish the factionalism among the Baloch, the chances of everyone perishing together are very real. The state apparatus is going full steam ahead with its colonisation of Balochistan while the civilian government stands by. Without a swift agreement on a minimum common programme, the Baloch may not survive this wave of oppression. No armed resistance can succeed without a robust political leadership.

S T Coleridge once wrote:

“The knight’s bones are dust,

And his good sword rust,

His soul is with the saints, I trust.”

I have no doubt that Habib Jalib Baloch’s soul is with the saints but it is up to the Baloch leaders to protect his life’s work from tarnish and rust. Knights must not become pawns.

The writer teaches and practices Medicine at the University of Florida and contributes to the think-tanks www.politact.com and Aryana Institute. He can be reached at mazdaki@me.com

Monday, 5 June 2017

QK archives: In remembrance of 4 politicians

In remembrance of 4 Frontier politicians
Rahimullah Yusufzai
Circa 2003

A number of former legislators from the NWFP died recently and each one of them deserved a proper obituary. Sadly though their deaths went largely unnoticed in our print and electronic media.

Tribal parliamentarian Malik Sakhi Jan Mahsud was the first to die. Nazeer Shinwari and Nawabzada Mohabbat Ali Zafar, both belonging to Kohat district, followed. Dr Mahboobur Rahman, a former federal minister who had become district nazim of Swat, too passed away.

All of them were important in their own right. Except the last-named, others were no longer in the limelight and, therefore, forgotten. Dr Mahboobur Rahman was a very active district nazim. Being a politician, he also knew how to remain in the news. One would see him in print all the time, even if he made promises that seldom materialized.

Zafar was the youngest of the lot. He had been winning and losing elections from his native Kohat, having inherited politics from his late father and former provincial minister, Nawabzada Azmat Ali Khan. He too served as a provincial minister, once holding the portfolio of jails. He lost to ANP’s Shaukat Habib in last year’s elections as a PPP-Sherpao nominee.

A tall, handsome man, Zafar kept a low profile and preserved his humility despite his aristocratic background. In a recent obituary, prolific column-writer Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan wrote that Zafar sold his ancestral lands to pursue politics. Here was a rare case of a politician losing rather than making money despite remaining in power. According to Dr Awan, Zafar also pursued other interests, like reading and swimming.

Unlike Zafar who died young, Mahsud lived a long and full life. Again unlike Zafar, he wasn’t born into a rich family and had to struggle for a livelihood in Karachi far away from his native South Waziristan tribal agency. Eventually, he became a big transporter in Karachi and used his wealth and tribal connections back home to win a seat in parliament. The sight of the well-built Mahsud with his tall turban in the Senate and in state functions attracted immediate attention. As a tribal Senator, he used his considerable rural wisdom to make friends and extend influence. It was said, though never confirmed, that he even managed to convince President Bush Senior to ask the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to appoint his civil servant brother as a Commissioner. That he is how the term “Bush Commissioner” originated!

Shinwari belonged to Jangalkhel, which is a rustic village with its tribal code of honour in the urban setting of Kohat. It was in the 1985 partyless elections that Shinwari tried his luck in the polls and won a provincial assembly seat. The silver-haired Shinwari stood out in the House more for his appearance than for his performance on the floor. Most of the assembly members then were first-timers and the sessions were largely a process of learning for those who cared to pick up the finer points of legislative business. Shinwari was among the lot that was keen to learn the tricks of the trade and he was doing quite well by the time the assembly was dissolved. His friendly nature enabled him to befriend anyone who came into contact with him.

Among the four deceased politicians discussed in this column, Dr Mahboobur Rahman was probably the most successful. He won election as an MNA from Swat in 1988 and became a minister of state in prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s government. In a subsequent election, he was elected an MPA and was made a provincial minister. He remained loyal to the mainstream PPP all his life even though his election as district nazim, Swat meant that he had to forego his membership of the party. A solution to this predicament was found when he made his son, Salimur Rahman, an office-bearer of the PPP Swat chapter. The PPP was thus kept alive under the same family roof.

Mahsud, Zafar, Shinwari and Dr Mahboobur Rahman, all good men who died largely unsung. They surely deserved more than this joint obituary.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The reality of kids shifting to Government Schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The reality of kids shifting to Government Schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
 Analysis of ASI Survey Report
by Muhammad Saleem (@memzarma)

A news report in the Express Tribune appeared on 21st June, 2016 with the title “From private to public: 34,000 students make transition to government schools” [ https://tribune.com.pk/story/1127618/private-public-34000-students-make-transition-government-schools/] terming improvement in KP government schools as a case of restored confidence on KP Government. The report was widely shared on social media, especially from PTI accounts on twitter and facebook. At least two private TV channels run video reports describing the development as indication of the arrival of PTI’s promised change. Reports at both the electronic & print media quote an ‘independent’ survey [link to the survey at the end of the article] carried out by a non-profit international organization called Adam Smith International (ASI).

Today KP Education Minister did a tweet and the number of students shifting from private school to government school rose to 1,51,000 kids. 

Before discussing reporting of the survey in electronic & print media, we will first analyze the survey methodology, its conclusions and the organization which carried out the survey.

Over the years, enrollment in government schools as a percentage of total enrollment is on the decline across Pakistan. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, primary level enrollment in Government schools was 78% of total enrollment in 2004-05 which declines to 69% in 2014-15 according to PSLM surveys. Both demand and supply side factors are being cited in the literature for this shift from government schools to private schools. In this backdrop, any report or survey claiming that parents are shifting their kids from private schools to government schools is indeed eye-catching.

Being a skeptic of PTI’s ‘change’ in education sector in KP, I obtained ASI’s survey report (18 pages in total) which was published in May 2016 with the title ‘Survey of Children Leaving Private Schools And Joining Government Schools’. Following are some key points in the survey.

1. The survey was conducted by ASI which works in close collaboration with government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in improving education sector delivery in the province. Thus, the survey is NOT third party evaluation of education reforms in the province, as best practice evaluation would require.

2. The figure of 34,000 students leaving private school for government schools, is a claim of KP Elementary & Secondary Education Department and not of the survey itself. Reports in print and electronic media wrongly attributed the figure to an ‘independent’ survey. 

3. The survey report says that it first conducted a pilot survey in one district, District Haripur, to find out the reasons behind this migration. Interestingly, the report says that the results from the pilot survey were ‘inconclusive’ as the majority of students left private schools because either their private schools were closed down or no further grades were available in these private schools. How they can term these results inconclusive when they took a sample from the population of those total 34,000 students in the province? Surprisingly, the pilot survey from one district has a much greater sample size (182 students) as compared to a ‘detailed’ survey undertaken in four (4) districts with a total sample size of only 278 students. Also, the survey managers prefer to exclude the Haripur district from the more ‘detailed’ survey.

4. The detailed survey conducted to ‘delve deeper’ for understanding the phenomenon took the government claim for granted and did not look at the reverse migration. There may be a lot of parents who may by switching their kids from government schools to private schools over the same period. A better understanding of the phenomenon can only be achieved if the survey have looked at net migration.

5. For the second detailed survey, the report claims that it only looked at those students who migrated from private schools to government schools for ‘other reasons pertinent to the quality of education’. This is a classic case of selection bias where the total population is no more 34,000 migrated students but a portion of it which left private schools for government schools due to quality of education. Kids leaving private schools for government schools as parents may not be able to afford it any more were left out from the survey.

6.The detailed survey selected four districts for the analysis with very tricky reasoning. The report claims that at the first level, ‘districts that only had data from either male or female schools’ were dropped. This, according to the report, drop five (5) districts from the analysis which means that either education reforms were not uniform or the data is not available. The sampling strategy further says that another four (4) districts were removed from the survey for security reason. The survey report did not name these four (4) districts. How it is possible that while kids can attend schools in these districts but parents of the same kids cannot be surveyed due to security reasons? At the third level, another four (4) districts were dropped out from the analysis where migration of students from private schools to government schools is less than 500 students. Does this mean that the province-wise education ‘reforms’ couldn’t reach these four (4) districts? Remember, replies to Imran Khan question of education reforms in his public gathering at Bannu? For the final analysis, a total of 4 districts were selected; Abbottabad, D I Khan, Peshawar & Swat.

7. After tricky selection of districts for the survey, it is now turn to select students’ families for the survey. The survey team obtained phone numbers of 1,124 randomly selected students whose guardians would be reached via phone calls. On phone calls, the survey team could establish contact with guardians of 945 students where they select 278 households for the detailed survey. The remaining (945-278=667) 71% households of the total were considered ‘invalid’ households because they shifted their children from private schools to government schools either because their private schools is being closed down or no further grades were available in these private schools. The survey now analyzes these 278 households to find out reasons behind their migration.  Imagine!

8. The ASI survey report claims that its survey team was accompanied by a focal person from either the DEO Male or Female’s office to conduct individual interviews with the head of households. This was probably done to ensure transparency and independence of the survey? Even here, 52 interviews were done via phone.

9. Questions were asked about past decisions of the guardians about the reasons for enrolling in private schools and not in government schools. Majority responded that at that time, private schools has better quality than government schools. The interesting part in the report comes when the survey team asked about their current choices. Table 6 and Table 7 in the survey reported answers to two (which is in fact one?) question. According to table 6 titled ‘Grade-wise Reasons for Leaving Private School’ during last 6 months, 139 guardians of the students responded that they left private schools because these schools are too expensive. This comes around 50% of the total households which mean that half of the kids were shifted to government schools due to poverty. Only 78 guardians responded that they left private schools because of low quality. Remember selection of the total sample size of 278 households? Despite removing the ‘invalid’ households, it still has households where kids are being shifted from private schools to government schools due to their financial constraints. Interestingly and surprisingly, table 7 titled “Grade-Wise Reasons for Enrolling into Government Schools” is also being produced. Are table 6 & 7 not reporting same exact question? Here the survey team found that 45% of total children are shifting to government schools because its quality is better than private schools.  

Reporting of the Survey:

Now let’s come to the reporting of this survey in electronic and print media. One report appeared on SAMAA TV and tweeted from the official account of PTI. The video report says “But with [PTI} government efforts, quality of education improved in government schools and thus 34,000 students got admission in government schools. This fact was revealed in a survey by a non-governmental organization”.  As shown in the earlier analysis, neither the survey revealed this nor the findings suggest any such thing. Also the whole selection process of the sample students is faulty.
A video still taken by @YaqubImmegret from the above is presented here to see the quality of a math teacher in a government school (tweet:


Same is the case with Express Tribune report which originally reported the survey findings. The report in the ET did not mention that the 34,000 figures is a claim of KP’s Elementary & Secondary Education Department.

The survey conducted by Adam Smith International can be read here. https://www.scribd.com/doc/316114863/KPESE-Public-Schools-Migration-Survey-May16





Saturday, 3 June 2017

QK Archives: Former Minister Accused of killing daughter

Published by The Friday Times July 2001
Republished not for profit and solely for educational purposes


Iqbal Khattak
says the younger generation is increasingly challenging the strict Pukhtoon code of life for women

The autopsy carried out on the exhumed body of 18-year-old Mahvish, daughter of former PML(N) NWFP minister, Sanaullah Miankhel, has reportedly contradicted the Miankhel family’s claim that the girl had committed suicide. The autopsy report says the girl was killed between April 14 and 24.
Police sources say circumstantial evidence shows it to be a case of honour killing. TFT has learnt that the girl was allegedly in love with the family’s driver and was planning to elope with him. The family was bitterly opposed to her choice.
The girl’s body was exhumed and medically examined on the orders of Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, Governor of the North West Frontier Province. The issue came to light when a newspaper carried a small news item on the girl’s death in mysterious circumstances. A few days later, during a press conference, journalists pointed out to the governor that the case needed to be probed and the government was dragging its feet because the slain girl’s father had joined the Like-minded group, the breakaway faction of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), supported by the government.
Interestingly, after the inquiry was ordered the girl’s family claimed that the first medical report had confirmed that she had committed suicide. However, the family has not made public that medical report or answered the question of why she was buried in such haste.
The NWFP Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Saeed Khan, told TFT that the autopsy report establishes, through circumstantial evidence, that the girl was murdered. “She received a single bullet in her head, which pierced through her neck. The autopsy report has determined that someone fired a shot in the head from the top,” the Frontier IGP said.
The IGP also said that the investigating team was in the process of recording the statements of various people and the high-profile investigation would take some time to complete. Those, who have so far deposed before the investigation team, include the woman who bathed Mahvish before the burial, the man who led the funeral prayers and some female members of the Miankhel family. The IGP, however, refused to give any more details, saying “It’s too early to say anything”.
A forensic expert TFT spoke with said the angle of the shot suggests that the victim was forced to kneel down, execution-style, while someone standing behind her put the gun to her head and fired the shot at a downwards angle.
No one has been directly charged in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by the district magistrate of Dera Ismail Khan at the Chawdhan Police Station. D I Khan is situated 200 miles south of Peshawar. The unnamed killers have been charged under Sections 302 and 201 of qisas and diyat law and no arrest has been made so far.
Interestingly, following the FIR, Sanaullah Miankhel, the father of the slain girl, and his brothers, former MNA Umer Farooq, and former MPAs Inayatullah Miankhel and Fatahullah Miankhel, secured bails-before-arrest from a lower court in the Swabi district. Similarly, their three cousins — Fakhar Miankhel, Mazhar Miankhel and Samiullah Miankhel — secured bails-before-arrest from the Sargodha district in the Punjab province.
The main character in the drama, the driver Munawar, has refused to speak with the media. His family members told TFT to “leave us alone”.

Munawar’s involvement in the tragic episode came to light after Aurat Foundation, an NGO, sent fact-finding teams to D I Khan following news of the girl’s murder. The AF teams got the details of the case and also met with Munawar. Rakhshanda Naz, resident director of Aurat Foundation, told TFT: “Absolutely. It is a case of honour killing.” She added that her organisation, which advocates women’s rights in the male-dominated Pukhtoon society, would pursue the case until its logical conclusion.
According to details, the Miankhel family, a politically influential feudal family of D I Khan allegedly killed Mahvish between April 14 and 24 after she was taken away from Munawar’s home on the outskirts of Dera. Mahvish had gone to Munawar’s house to plead with his family to let her marry him.

Munawar, in his 40s, is the father of three children. His family is very poor and he used to drive Mahvish to the college. During that period, say sources, the two developed a relationship.

The deeply conservative Miankhel family came to know of the affair in 1999. Munawar was sacked, but the two continued to meet and, shortly before the girl’s alleged murder, were planning to get married. One report says that Sanaullah Minakhel told Munawar in early April to stop seeing his daughter. “Sanaullah also caught Munawar meeting with his daughter after that warning. The driver was beaten up and handed over to the police, which registered a theft case against him under section 475,” says a source.
Meanwhile, Mahvish left her home for Munawar’s and sought his family’s permission for marrying him. But the family would not agree because they were not prepared to face her family’s wrath, say sources. She was finally handed over to her parents, who took her away to their native town of Garah Essa Khan, 40 kilometres north of D I Khan, where Mahvish was allegedly murdered by her family. Her mother’s attempts to intervene on her behalf failed.

Mahvish’s death, if it were proved to be a case of honour killing, would be the second such high-profile case after Samia Imran was killed in April 1999. Samia was killed in the office of the famous lawyer and human rights activist, Asma Jehangir, in Lahore. The person who shot and killed her was a servant of the family and was tasked to murder her after her uncle and her mother had requested Samia’s lawyers to allow them to meet with her. While the killer himself was killed in exchange of fire with Asma’s bodyguard after he had shot Samia, the instigators, Samia’s family, remain at large. Samia had come to Lahore to get a divorce from her husband.
According to a police official, most such accused get acquitted because of insufficient evidence and defective investigation, though this observation does not apply to Samia’s case. “When family members do the killing, it is very difficult to get conclusive evidence because the female members invariably try to save the male members of the family,” Waseem Afzal, a police officer, told a seminar in Peshawar recently.
A professor at the Department of Sociology in the University of Peshawar told TFT that because of the conservative nature of the Pukhtoon society the younger generation is likely to become more frustrated. He predicts further rise in the number of such cases before the social ethos undergoes a change, which will be many years from hence. According to one estimate, the year 2000 saw at least 300 cases of honour killings in the NWFP.
“More than 300 cases of honour killings have been registered in different parts of the NWFP. Mardan district tops the list with 54,” TFT has learnt through data provided by the police department. Statistics reveal that Charsadda district witnessed a total of 42 (registered) honour killing cases.
Meanwhile, the Miankhel family has alleged that the case is politically motivated. Mrs Sanaullah Miankhel, breaking her long silence since her daughter’s tragic death, first rejected the honour killing charge and then accused political rivals of trying to frame the family. “The whole episode is a well-planned conspiracy against the Miankhel family,” she said in her first-ever press statement.
“Political opponents started scandalizing the death of Mahvish,” she said accusing, implicitly, the rival Gandapur family one of whose members is coveting the post of district nazim in the August 2 polls. Some reports say the Miankhel family is likely to withdraw its candidate in the face of growing criticism over the Mahvish case.
Sources close to Miankhel family also say the government began investigating the charge after the Miankhels fell out with the PML(Like-minded) group headed by Salim Saifullah Khan and enjoying the covert support of the government. “In March, during a meeting of the Like-minded, Miankhels were shown to be on board and it was thought that Sanaullah Miankhel would be given an important office within the faction. However, that did not happen when differences appeared between Salim Saifullah and Sanaullah Miankhel,” says a source close to the family.

Friday, 2 June 2017

And now, the army!
Zeejah October 11, 1998
Context: published after resignation of Pak COAS and appointment of Pervaiz Musharraf



It was with dismay that I read of Gen. Karamat’s ‘resignation’. Dismay that,
if free speech was denied to the highest in the echelons of power, what hope
do we, the common people of Pakistan, have? Do no one but the Mushahid Hussain’s of this world have a monopoly on ‘good sense’?

What do we learn of Mian Nawaz Shareef’s psyche when we see that he could
not have a working relationship with four COASs, two Presidents and one
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

General Karamat’s level headed and logical statement about the REAL state of
affairs pertaining in the country, urged him to speak up for a National
Consensus; for a decision making body that might help control the Prime
Minister’s penchant for going off like a half-cocked rifle (as in his
announcement about the Kalabagh dam and the SHARiat bill); for the
participation of all concerned Pakistani’s in the running of a country fast
falling to pieces.

Economic insolvency stares us in the face, (we have long passed the rubicon
of Moral bankruptcy), a massive brain-drain is in progress, violent
sectarianism is running amok, and a bloody civil war might be around the
corner.

All right minded Pakistanis realize that a country cannot be run on the
whims of Abbaji and/or the latest 'pir' in attendance. We have seen the
unrestrained and unbridled behaviour of politicians, and the Army for that
matter, as under the late unlamented Gen. Zia ul Haq. If Pakistan is to
survive, if we are to regain a modicum of our fast eroding credibility, we
must seriously consider the benefits of a broad-based decision making
machinery.

A Government that is serious about improving the situation in Pakistan would
have taken some time to seriously study the suggestions of the COAS of the
Pakistan Army, since he based his views on the day-to-day information he
received from various Intelligence bureaus about the national/international
situation. Instead we lose not one, but three good generals. What does the
‘resignation’ of these honest soldiers imply?

Do we take it to mean that honesty and good sense have no place in Pakistan
today, a Pakistan where only sycophants can air their 'views' and prosper?
Do we take it that it is not on the cards to speak up for anyone BUT the
Punjab?

Is Pakistan going to end up as a glorified Punjab? Do the smaller provinces and their grievances not matter at all to the Federal Government in the Federation of Pakistan?

We of the smaller provinces were relieved to hear someone with clout speak up
for us. We of the smaller provinces are as much a part of Pakistan, as the
Punjab; and as much, if not more, Patriotic. We, of the NWFP, are not
Pakistanis by default, we VOTED for Pakistan. Why then are our champions
rejected as a danger to the integrity of the Federation of Pakistan?
My dismay at Gen. Karamat’s resignation led to outrage when I heard that
Lt. Gen. Ali Quli Khan Khattak, the man groomed and trained to take over
from his Chief, was superceded. Is the office of CGS irrelevant? Or was Lt. Gen. Ali Quli superceded BECAUSE he is the only remaining serving
Lt. General from the NWFP?

I would be most interested to know the reasons put forward by the Prime
Minister of the ‘heavy mandate’ for ignoring one of the very best officers of
the Pakistan Army. Especially after witnessing the charade played against the
Chief Justice of Pakistan. The excuse given for ousting CJ Sajjad Ali Shah
was that he had been promoted out of line. The Government had taken the
high moral ground of seniority/merit being the guiding force for its
decisions. If the decisions of Nawaz Shareef’s Government are actually
influenced by merit and seniority, then why was the most senior, the most
meritorious officer of the Pakistan Army superceded?

Was not the CGS the most senior Army Officer? Had not Lt. Gen. Ali Quli been considered a better choice (over Gen. Musharraf) for the office of CGS? Is not a CGS more important than a Corps Commander?

It has been said that since Ali Quli and Pervaiz Musharraf are course mates,
they are equally proficient. This is not quite true. Without denigrating
Gen. Musharraf’s professionalism, it is evident that at every step of his
carreer Ali Quli has been ahead of Pervaiz Musharraf. They both attended the
29th. PMA Long Course (1961-62), but it was Ali Quli, as one of the top
cadets, who was selected for training at Sandhurst. At Sandhurst Ali Quli
was one of the 12 Senior Under-Officers. Few, if any, foreigners are
selected for the post.

Lt. Gen. Ali Quli is an infantry man, in an infantry based army. Passing out
of Infantry School, (Quetta) with flying colours (1966), he went on to be
Instructor (1978) and then Commandant of the Staff College (Quetta, 1992-93).
He has commanded an infantry battalion twice, (Kel, Azad Kashmir 1976-78 and
1983-85 in Sind while involved in anti-dacoity operations) and a Division in
Sialkot (1990-92). After his posting as DGMI (Director General Military
Intelligence) from 1993-95, he was promoted to Lt. Gen and commanded the 10th
Corps, which, besides being the largest and most prestigious army corps is
one that is engaged in active operations.

Gen. Musharraf has never held the post of Principal Staff Officer, a
necessary precursor to the more important office of COAS. While Lt. Gen. Ali
Quli, besides being the present CGS, held the post of PSO for the 10th Corps
from 1986-88.

Unlike Pervaiz Musharaf, Ali Quli, besides his stint at Hussainiwala sector
in the ’65 war, saw action in 1971 while engaged in active operations in East
Pakistan. Brig. Liaqat Bukhari has written extensively in the urdu media of
the Bhairab Bazaar and the Belonia operations that Ali Quli participated in,
while in the Army Air Operations. (He had joined the Army Aviation where he
received the Best Flier Trophy in 1968). After the 1971 surrender, not only
was his the only unit NOT to surrender to the Indian army, but they saved
the lives and honour of 175 women and children by flying them out of
Bangladesh.

One paper extolls the choice of Gen. Musharaf as a ‘true’ Pakistani; does
that, by extension, mean Lt. Gen. Ali Quli is not? Son of Lt. Gen. Habibullah Khan Khattak, Ali Quli comes from an illustrious politico-military family of the NWFP. Is it not true that Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef himself decorated his (Ali Quli’s) paternal uncle, Muhammad Yusuf Khan Khattak, for his unstinting and meritorious efforts during the struggle for Pakistan?
Some columnist marked Ali Quli as a 'PPP man', in order to explain the
unexplicable supercession. Is it not true that one of the first actions of
Z.A. Bhutto was to imprison Lt. Gen. Habibullah Khan?

A third generation Army man, Ali Quli’s son, Capt. Khalid Quli Khan Khattak
is the fourth generation to be inducted into the Baluch Regiment. Inspite of
being the CGS, Ali Quli did not stand in the way of his son being posted to
the dangerous, hardship post at Siachin. Principles have always been his
guiding light, and it seems, his undoing.

What was found in Lt. Gen. Ali Quli’s professional/personal record, to
justify his being superceded? Is it possible that it is his unblemished
record, that stood against him, since it speaks of a man who would not be
bent to the wishes of those in power? Or was the fact that he refused to make
the 'piligrimage' to Raiwind held against him?

Or are we are missing something in the meeting between the proclaimed
offender, Altaf Hussain, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the sudden
elevation of Lt. Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf?

Uncertain situations are a perfect breeding ground for rumours; all sorts of
ideas come to ones mind; all sorts of scenarios are looked into; to make
sense of a senseless situation. Nawaz Shareef would be well advised to look at what happened when Z. A Bhutto elevated Gen. Zia ul Haq over his senior officers. History does have a queer habit repeating itself, and when the chips are down, we expect Gen. Musharraf’s loyalties to stand by Pakistan, as any true patriot!

Ali Quli Khan is one of the most honourable, level-headed, gentle, pious, and
generous men I have ever met. He is a man who commands respect, without
demanding it. In these days of hypocritical mouthings of values, this is not
something to be sneered at. In the Army he is known as a good soldier,
upright, honest and professional, above the various army cliques and
groupings. Maybe, these very qualities stand against him today?
The people of the smaller provinces are deeply disturbed at the messages
emanating from the Federal Government. First, the Chief Justice Sajjad Ali
Shah was unceremoniously ousted; then AVM Abdul Rahim Khan Yusufzai was
superceded, and now Lt. Gen. Ali Quli Khan Khattak.
Is it not enough for Punjab to be the largest province, the Big Brother, in
the Federation of Pakistan, or like our Punjabi Prime Minister is absolute
power its only goal?

What does the future have in store for a country whose Prime Minister meets
with a proclaimed offender, and invites civil war by encouraging half-baked
fanatics to go out into the streets and kill opponents of a bill that will
make him omnipotent?

Was not the disaster of East Pakistan lesson enough for our politicians to
realize they cannot run rough-shod over the people’s sentiments?
These and more questions disturb me. One by one, National Institutions have
been systematically weakened, eroded and destroyed. Institutions that helped
bring Pakistan together as a viable Federation. Each wrong decision in the
past has led to a weaker, more emasculated Pakistan.

Today, Pakistan once more stands at a cross-roads. Can we afford any more
misadventures by the ruthlessly ambitions? As a patriotic Pakistani, I
bleed for my country.
Zeenath Jahan is a psychologist, journalist, and a budding writer. Zeejah’s articles, short stories and children’s stories have appeared in Friday Times, News and Women’s Own.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

QK archives: DOST of the hopeless

DOST of the Hopeless
By Zeenath Jehan
November 23, 2000


Imagine a people, totally unaware of themselves; who, like a dog that has been kicked too many times, cannot defend themselves; a people who are without any rights; are powerless and without any self-esteem; a people who, after having sold everything else, sell their own children for a pittance; a people who are forgotten, ignored and abused by the world; a people who have nothing left; nothing, but for a little life. Imagine the task of giving them back their pride, their humanity, their very lives. Impossible?

Not if you are working for the DOST Welfare Foundation (Hayatabad, Peshawar). DOST ('friend')is an organization with a difference. Drug addicts are fed, housed and treated here for the two-month course, free of charge.

The business-like atmosphere at DOST was the first thing that struck me. Yet, there was also something else; something indefinable, that makes DOST different. The difference was the palpable benevolence and compassion that permeates its atmosphere. This, above all, is what makes DOST a sanctuary for the rejected, the outcast and the unwanted.

Unlike other detoxification clinics in Pakistan, there are no locks on DOST's doors. There is no need. The patients stay here voluntarily, strengthened and supported through counselling. Some patients only come to DOST as a last resort, before the liberation of death. In just two months time they are ready to return to the world; healthy in mind, body and spirit.

The DOST Treatment Model is based on the premise that drug-addiction is a disease, affecting a person's physiological, psychological, social and spiritual well-being. All drugs are equally dangerous, as they upset the natural hormonal balance of the brain. 'Charas' (marijuana, hemp) is often considered relatively harmless, because addiction results in less physiological dependence. Heroin addiction, on the other hand, causes both psychological and physiological dependence. Yet, compared to heroin, 'charas' (hemp, marijuana) withdrawal causes more hallucinations, drug-induced psychosis, agitation and irritability.

In 1992, at DOST's inception, its staff was trained in the Minnesota Twelve Step Program by Mehmood and Sheryar from `Nai Zindagi' Lahore. In its infancy, DOST faithfully followed this Model. Later the high rate of relapses forced them to adapt the treatment procedures, resulting in a more tailored approach. This is now called the DOST Treatment Model.

At DOST the day starts at 6.00am. and the patients are kept busy until 10.00pm. As it is run entirely by the patients, after the initial 7-10 days of detoxification each one joins a Therapeutic Duty Group. Divided into Housekeeping, Kitchen and Administration, each group has a leader and crew members. Every fortnight the staff and patients meet to decide who will be promoted or demoted to the next group. As therapy is a 24 hour process in a therapeutic community, all aspects of a patient are taken into account, such as attitudes, behaviour, manners, responsibility for self, care of others, maintaining the rules and thus demonstrating their commitment to recovery.

The DOST Therapeutic Community encourages the patients to share their experiences and feelings with each other. While speaking of their experiences with denial, anxiety, resentment and family problems, patients eventually begin to understand their disease. They learn to accept addiction as an illness such as diabetes, separating it from their `Self'. They are taught not to feel shame; and to understand that it was the disease, the drug that made them do terrible things, while they were in its control.

In 1993 DOST started a Community Intervention Program. The general public were told about the dangers of AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis, and about the treatment and rehabilitation facilities at DOST and SUKOON KOR. The positive response that followed the initial seminars led to an enlargement of the programme.

Drug addicts are neither violent and dangerous nor weak-willed and bad. A personality profile of people at risk would be that of high achieving, sensitive and intelligent people. They tend to expect too much from life, and from themselves. They are frequently very idealistic, with dreams of changing the world. They are often really nice people, who do not want to hurt anyone; and they end up by hurting the people they love most. Pragmatic, down to earth, practical people are less likely to take the escape-route offered by drugs. Addiction breeds a deeper desperation and a more complete resignation to hopelessness than one can understand. Detoxification and rehabilitation therefore result in a greater sensitivity and understanding of pain.

This was brought home to me when I interviewed Jamila.

Haltingly, painfully, she told me the story of her gradual slide to destruction. It all started when she had found her husband in bed with her sister, and she had ranted and raved. Finally her husband, a peddlar and an addict, introduced her to heroin, so there could be peace in the house. The drug-induced euphoria was a new experience for Jamila. Within the month she was addicted.

One day Jamila, her husband and daughter came to Jamrud to buy drugs. When Jamila awoke bleary-eyed from the drug-induced stupor she found herself alone in the Karkhano Bazaar. Her husband and child were gone. What happened then is unrepeatable. Squeezing her hand to show I cared, I found them cold and clammy with the effort of reliving her own private hell.

In December 1995 DOST finally struck at the source of the drug problem. They moved to the Karkhano Bazaar in the tribal areas, the place where it all happens. Just a stone's throw from the busy Hayatabad market, drugs, alcohol and pornography are easily available. Drug addicts are charged three rupees for the privilege of sitting there, amidst the filth and squalor. When an addict dies, the others bury him in a shallow grave, as no one else will touch the vermin infested corpse. Jackals and dogs feast on the bony carcass at night.

At first the addicts ignored the presence of the DOST workers, then they began to reduce their dosage. The drug mafia tried to intimidate DOST workers, but they did not falter; they were fired with a missionary zeal to help the wretched addicts. Recovered addicts were a part of the team, and they spoke of their experiences at DOST. Finally, one by one, the street addicts began coming to DOST for treatment. One of DOST's most motivated workers is a recovered addict. The only sign that he is any different from the others is his deeper empathy and compassion for humanity, in its most degraded form.

It takes about a month for a person to become addicted to heroin. At first the drug induces a euphoric feeling of total well being. Later it has to be taken, to avoid excruciating pain. Heroin withdrawal starts within a few hours of the last fix. After about a week of detoxification, the natural opiate centers in the brain start functioning normally.

According to DOST Psychologists, treatment of poly-drug abusers is the most difficult. Nowhere in the world is it so easy to buy any drug (from Valium to Morphine) as it is in Pakistan. People frequently become addicted under the mistaken belief that if frequently changed, no drug will become addictive. Little realizing that whatever the base, all mind-altering drugs have a similar effect.

Another reason for the insidious spread of drug addiction is that hospitals do not examine a patient's drug history. After an operation, the prescribed painkillers may cause a relapse in recovered addicts. Such people must be given medicines with a different base drug, or they should be helped to get over their dependency before leaving hospital. This aspect of drug control is often ignored in Pakistan.

Similarly, when there is a family history of drug abuse an individual may become addicted more easily than another. Doctors must be careful about prescribing addictive drugs as there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism and drug addiction.

A recurring theme heard by psychologists at DOST is of men using drugs to increase their libido. Friends often introduced them to heroin on their wedding night. Similarly, addicts are frequently the cause of their wives' addiction, as it helped them to lose their inhibitions. More than any other single cause, the crux of the drug problem seems to be misconceptions arising from the lack of knowledge about drugs and sexuality. Drugs are believed to have aphrodisiac qualities!

Drug addiction is now becoming a family disease. Passive inhalation of the smoke results in the family becoming addicted and whole families are coming to Dost for treatment. Marium, her nine year old daughter Zubaida, two sons and four cousins were all undergoing treatment at DOST and SUKOON KOR when I visited it.

Dost had to launch a separate treatment center for women because of the steep increase in female addicts. SUKOON KOR (House of peace) is the first women's only detoxification and rehabilitation center in Pakistan. Besides treatment for addiction to an assorted number of drugs, from Valium and Lexotinal to heroin, SUKOON KOR also has psycho-therapeutic facilities for problems such as domestic violence, neuroses and stress management. After-care, and a Relapse Prevention Programme (RPP) are an important part of the DOST Treatment. The RPP facility is provided to patients who have been treated at the DOST Therapeutic Community, their family members and to recovering addicts from other centers.

When I heard Jahangir's story, it sounded like poetic justice. Life had been good to Jahangir, and he had more money than he could spend; he was the owner of a heroin producing factory. By inhaling the heroin dust, while keeping watch over his labourers, Jahangir became addicted, and the degradation started. One day, his thirteen year old son's disgust cut him to the quick. Jahangir went to his `factory' and aiming with his klashnikov, shot holes in all the drums full of heroin. He then joined the DOST programme and is now one of their many success stories.

I asked Psychologists at DOST what was the most heart-rending story they had heard in the four years since the inception of DOST. Each said that the story of Karim Khan had distressed them the most. He had sold his nine year old daughter for a gram of heroin (fifteen rupees or 25 cents). After that, his wife used to leave the children with neighbours when she went to work. She lived in terror that he would sell all her children, one by one. After detoxification, when Karim Khan realized what he had done, he tried to look for his child. She was nowhere to be found. He kept relapsing into a haze of drug-induced forgetfulness until, he was taught to detach the unforgivable behaviour from his `Self'. Only then could he forgive himself, only then could he overcome his self-loathing, only then could he learn to live with himself.

Listening to these and other stories of pain and anguish, the thought that kept coming to my mind was, `there go I, but for the Grace of God'.



Footnote: This article has previously appeared in a Pakistani publication. Published on November 23, 2000

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

سوال

سوال.
دانش خان
6 اکتوبر 2016 کو انگریزی اخبار ڈان میں چھپی خبر سے جو معاملہ شروع ہوا اس نے 29 اپریل 2017 کو اچانک ایک بحران کی شکل اس وقت اختیار کرلی جب وزیراعظم کے دفتر سے جاری ہونے ایک حکمنامے کو فوج کے تعلقات عامہ کے شعبے کے سربراہ نے ایک ٹوئٹ کے ذریعے رد کردیا. جس کے بعد ایک غیر یقینی کی سی کیفیت محسوس ہونے لگی، حزب مخالف کی جماعت پی ٹی آئی نے اپنا وزن فوج کے پلڑے میں ڈال دیا جبکہ پی پی پی کی طرف قومی اسمبلی میں قائد حزب اختلاف سید خورشید شاہ نے فوج کے مؤقف کی حمایت کی، سینیٹ میں قائد حزب اختلاف چوہدری اعتزاز احسن نے عاصمہ شیرازی سے بات کرتے ہوئے ٹوئٹ کو حدود پھلانگنے سے تعبیر کیا جبکہ فرحت اللہ بابر نے جو کہ پارٹی کا مؤقف تھا بیچ کا راستا لیا. تقریباً ایک ھفتے سے زائد کا عرصہ غیر یقینی کی صورتحال رہی اسی دوران حکمران جماعت کے سرکردہ افراد کے اجلاس جاری رہے اور بالآخر دونوں اطراف سے لچک کا مظاہرہ کیا گیا اور 10 مئي 2017 کو معاملہ خوش اسلوبی سے اختتام کو پہنچا جس کے تحت وزارت داخلہ نے انکوائری رپورٹ کی پیرا 18 میں دی گئی سفارشات پہ عملدرآمد کیلئے نیا نوٹیفکیشن جاری کیا اور ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر نے اپنی 29 اپریل والی ٹوئٹ واپس لینے کا اعلان کیا اور کہا کہ وہ ٹوئٹ کسی فرد یا اداری کے خلاف نہیں تھی. اس کے بعد سوشل اور روایتی میڈیا پہ ایک طرف تو آرمی چیف کی فھم و فراست اور جمہوریت پسندی کی تعریف کی جا رہی ہے اور دوسری طرف یہ باور کیا جا رہا ہے کے یہ سوشل میڈیا کا اثر تھا جس نے عسکری قیادت کو انا اور ضد چھوڑ کہ مصالحت پہ مجبور کیا. میری ناقص رائے میں یہ دونوں باتیں مبالغہ آرائی کے سوا کچھ نہیں. اگر پاکستان میں سوشل میڈیا اتنی ہی طاقتور ہے جتنا فرض کیا جا رہا ہے تو نورین لغاری / احسان اللہ احسان کو مجوزہ معافی اور انکی قومی دھارے میں شمولیت بھی منسوخ ہو چکی ہوتی، مولانا عبدالعزیز لال مسجد والے سلاخوں کے پیچھے ہوتے اور اچھے اور برے طالبان کی پالیسی بھی ختم ہو چکی ہوتی کیونکہ ان معاملات پہ بھی سوشل میڈیا پہ ایک واضح مؤقف مسلسل دیکھنے میں آتا ہے. اور جہاں تک چیف صاحب کی فہم و فراست کا تعلق ہے تو یقیناً ان میں ہوگی سی لئے وہ اتنے اہم عہدے پہ براجماں ہیں. جہاں تک ڈان لیک معاملے کا تعلق ہے تو اس نے اپنے ادارے مفادات کا یقیناً خیال رکھتے ہوئے الجھے ہوئے معاملے کو سلجھایا ہوگا. ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر ذاتی حیثیت میں کبھی اس طرح کی ٹوئٹ نہیں کرسکتے جب تک ادارے اور چیف کی مکمل آشیرباد حاصل نہ ہو. اس کے بعد درج ذیل پوائنٹس پر گفتگو کروں گا.
1. وہ کیا عوامل تھے جو دونوں اطراف کو لچک دکھانے کا باعث بنے.
2. کیا اس سارے قضیہ میں سولین بالادستی قائم ہوئی.
3. کیا مسلم لیگ نواز کی حکومت نے عسکری قیادت کو حکومتی معاملات میں زیادہ جگہ دی ہے.
29 اپریل کے بعد ایسے لگ رہا تھا کہ معاملہ انگریزی والے ڈو آر ڈائے( do or die) کی طرف جا رہا ہے. حکمران جماعت کے اندر واضع طور پہ دو رائے نظر آ رہی تھیں ایک وہ جو مزید کوئی رعایت دینے کے حق میں نہیں تھے. وہ پرویز مشرف کی بیرون ملک روانگی سے لے کر پرویز رشید کی برطرفی تک بہت سی چیزوں پہ نالان تھے. مگر دوسری کیمپ جس میں شاید شہباز شریف اور چوہدری نثار شامل تھے جن کی رائے یہ ہوگی کہ اب ہم انتخابات کے سال میں داخل ہو رہے ہیں اور تمام اشارے ہماری جیت کی پیشگوئی کر رہے ہیں اور انہی انتخابات کے بعد ممکنہ طور پر سیاسی جانشین کو بھی آگے لایا جائے گا تو ایسی صورت حال میں تصادم ساری بساط کو لپیٹ میں لے سکتا ہے انکی رائے غالب آئی. جبکہ دوسری طرف عسکری قیادت کیلئے تین پڑوسی ملکوں کے ساتھ سرحدی تنازعات کی صورتحال چین پاک راہداری اور امریکہ کے ساتھ، عرب-امریکہ سربراہ کانفرنس کے نتیجے میں، جس میں ہمارے وزیراعظم بھی مدعو ہیں، تعلقات میں ممکنہ برف پگھلنے کے اور اس کے نتیجے میں ممکنہ طور پر فوجی اور سول امداد جیسی باتوں نے عسکری قیادت کو اپنے موقف میں نرمی کا مظاہرہ کرنے اور ڈیڈلاک کی صورتحال کو طویل رکھنے سے باز رکھا.
دوسری بات کہ کیا 10 مئی کے بیانات اور عسکری قیادت کی جانب سے آئین اور جمہوریت کے ساتھ تجدید عہد وفا کے بعد یہ کہا جا سکتا ہے کہ سولین بالادستی قائم ہوئی؟ اسکا مختصر جواب ہے نہیں. کیونکہ اقتدار میں آنے کے یہ سمجھا جا رہا تھا کہ میان نواز شریف کی مسلم لیگ کو قومی اسمبلی میں بھاری اکثریت ملی ہے اور اس کی حمایت کا بیس پنجاب ہے لہذا وہ سول ملٹری تعلقات کی جو نوعیت ہے جس میں توازن ملٹری کی طرف ہے اس کو ٹھیک کرنے اور سولین سائیڈ کی طرف لانے میں کامیاب ہو جائیں گے. لیکن بعد کے واقعات سے ظاہر ہوا ہے کہ وزیراعظم نواز شریف مستقل پیچھے ہٹتے آرہے ہیں. مشرف کے معاملے سے لے کر 10 مئی کے وزارت داخلہ کے نوٹیفکیشن تک حکومت نے مسلسل عسکری قیادت کو خوش رکھنے کی کوشش کی ہے. اگر وزارت داخلہ کے نوٹیفکیشن کے بغیر ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر اپنی ٹوئٹ واپس لیتے یا آرمی چیف اسکو اسکے موجودہ عہدے سے ہٹا دیتے تو کہا جا سکتا تھا کہ سولین بالادستی کے قیام کی طرف ایک قدم بڑہے ہیں. لیکن یہاں تو وزارت داخلہ کے نوٹیفکیشن میں سینیٹر پرویز رشید کے نام کا اضافہ کرکے عسکری قیادت کو خوش کیا گیا جس کے بعد ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر کی جانب سے ٹوئٹ واپس لی گئی اور حکومت اور جمہوریت سے تجدید عہد وفا کیا گیا.
تیسری پوائنٹ کا مختصر جواب ہاں میں ہے جس کا تھوڑا ذکر اوپر دوسری پوائنٹ میں آگیا ہے مگر مختصراً کچھ اور باتیں شامل کردیتا ہوں. مشرف کو بیرون ملک جانے کی اجازت، جنرل جنجوعہ کی مشیر برائے قومی سلامتی مقرری، مختلف اوقات اور واقعات کے وجہ سے مشاھد اللہ خان، پرویز رشید، طارق فاطمی اور راؤ تحسین کی برطرفی، وزیر خارجہ کا نہ ہونا، بلوچستان میں ڈاکٹر مالک کی مفاہمتی عمل کی ناکامی، دنیا کے اہم دارلحکومتوں میں سفیروں کی تعیناتی اپنی مرضی سے نہ کرسکنا اور پڑوسی ممالک کے ساتھ اچھے ہمسائے جیسے تعلقات استوار کرنے میں ناکامی سے یہ ثابت ہوتا ہے کہ موجودہ حکومت اپنے بلند باگ دعوؤں کے باوجود مسلسل جگہ دیتی آئی ہے.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

QK Archives: 2005 unlikely alliances

Electorate baffled by unlikely alliances in NWFP

Rahimullah Yusufzai

Forging of alliances between old political rival following the local government elections in the NWFP continue to surprise the electorate and erode the credibility of politicians. Every political party has done this thing but the MMA components JUI-F and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) are getting most of the blame because the two were expected to be more circumspect in choosing allies. The MMA had won an unprecedented mandate from the voters in the province and many feel betrayed by the JUI-F and JI decision to join hands with ideologically different parties such as the ANP, PPPP, PPP-S and PML-Q for the sake of bagging some seats of district and tehsil nazims. The MMA voters would have liked the JUI-F, JI and other components of the six-party alliance to stick together in every district even if it meant remaining in the opposition instead of foregoing principles in the forthcoming elections for district governments. The JI was the first to announce its alliance with its bitterest foe, ANP, in a bid to win the polls for the district government in Peshawar. The prize no doubt was tempting because Peshawar being the capital of NWFP offered a highly visible platform to pursue one’s political agenda and spend funds on politically important projects. But the venture was fraught with risks as the JI-ANP alliance and the subsequent JUI-F’s coalition with the PPP-S of interior minister Aftab Sherpao has widened the gulf between the two major MMA components and could eventually threaten the stability of the MMA-led provincial government. The unlikely JI-ANP alliance in Peshawar has now trickled down to other districts, including NWFP’s second biggest city Mardan. In fact, the two parties had experimented with an alliance in Mardan after the last local council elections by jointly electing ANP’s Raza Khan as district nazim and JI’s Attaur Rehman as naib district nazim. However, the alliance fell apart after sometime and the district nazim and his deputy became rivals. Many voters fear such an eventuality even though this possibility is being rejected in the midst of the euphoria generated by the turn of events. For a change, the JI and ANP leaders are singing praises of each other and patting one another on being the only two disciplined and ideological parties in the country. One of their arguments for forging this alliance is to prevent blackmail and horse-trading by smaller groups and serve Peshawar. That might not happen because the district nazim candidate Haroon Bilour of ANP would have to match the resourceful Ghulam Ali, the JUI-F nominee for the same job, and the tussle would invariably lead to the use of money and horse-trading.

The JUI-F alliance with PPP-S in Peshawar is also being replicated in a few other places, such as Charsadda and Mardan. The JUI-F chose to forge an electoral alliance with the Saifullahs, belonging to the PML-Q in the southern Lakki Marwat district, even before the local polls. That was something unthinkable because JUI-F leaders used to publicly castigate the Saifullah brothers as friends of US President Bush. The JUI-F has also forged partnership with the PPPP in a few places, all for the purpose of capturing as many district governments as possible after having boycotted the local council polls in 2001. The MMA leadership now has an impossible task to satisfy party workers and supporters irked by the JUI-F and JI decision to forge alliances with rival parties rather than with each other at the level of the district government. One question increasingly being asked is as to how could they justify sitting in the opposite camps in district governments while remaining partners in the provincial government.

Other parties too have made unbelievable alliances to win election for district and tehsil nazims. The PML-Q faction of minister of state for finance Omar Ayub Khan is supporting PML-N’s Yousaf Ayub Khan, who also happens to be a cousin, for election as Haripur district nazim. Another of their cousin, former NWFP Assembly Speaker Habibullah Tarin, has joined the rival camp of Raja Amir Zaman, who served as district nazim in the previous term. Family considerations are overriding party affiliation in the race to grab power not only in Haripur but also at many other places in NWFP and rest of Pakistan. The PPP-S and PPPP too are coming close and so are others. Such alliances are also turning upside down President General Pervez Musharraf’s assertion that extremists, by which he means MMA components, have been defeated in the recent local polls in the Frontier. In conclusion, here is a note of caution. All those forging these unnatural alliances should keep in mind that the electorate rejected one such alliance between the PPPP and ANP in the October 2002 general elections in Peshawar and other districts. It didn’t work the last time because the voters considered the alliance opportunistic. It might not be sustainable again and could instead harm the parties entering into unlikely partnerships.

Friday, 5 May 2017

QK archives: A page from the Baloch past

A Page From the Past ....
< The Following is an article written by Muhammad Ali Talpur ...who was an active participant in the Baluchi revolt of the 1970's .He recently returned to Pakistan after a ten year exile in Afghanistan ..this article is quoted ad verbatim , from Newsline Issue dated March 1998>

In keeping with the Pakistani tradition of camouflaging history a vital chunk of the country's past has been shrouded in mystery for over 20 years .This was the period of 1973-1977 , when the Baloch rose in revolt against a state that had relentlessly oppressed them for decades and Military Operations against the Baloch people were at their peak .As Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Arbab Jehanzeb , the corp. commander of Sindh and Baluchistan and subsequently MLA, Sindh during Zia's martial Law himself recently conceded, the army "responded forcefully" to the perceived threat from the Baloch struggle .

While this may be a huge understatement, it is nonetheless demonstrative of the fact that there is at least some acknowledgement of what happened in those years .They are also other signs of a desire to hearken to that era.Recently, the respected veteran Baloch Leader , Sardar Sherbaz Mazari mentioned the individuals who went missing in those days . Similarly the redoubtable Ardeshir Cowasjee, in a recent Column in Dawn , referred to those involved in the Baloch struggle whose fate remains unknown to this day .Among those mentioned are Asadullah Mengal , Ahmad ShahKurd and Dulip/Johnny Dass alias Dali .They were, in fact many other victims of the "dirty War" conducted in Baluchistan . As an active participant in the struggle for the rights of the Baloch people , I consider it my duty to bring to some light some aspects of the people during that period . Also, I apologise to those affected - the victims and their families - fr the delay in raising this conveniently forgotten chapter of our history .
The " Baloch Insurgency " as it has been termed , was the end product of a history of injustices , excesses and provocation's against the Baloch people by the centre , which ruled without consensus or consultation , and made decisions of the fate of the people totally arbitrarily. It began in April 1948 when the Khan of Kalat was arrested to force him to sign " The Instrument of Accession " to PAkistan . This prompted a fierce reaction from the Baloch people , who took up arms . In ensuing months , many excesses were committed by the authorities against the locals , as people were interned without trial and economic injustices reached their zenith . In 1958 the Khan was rearrested . At this Nawab Nauroz Khan led an agitation against the authorities provocative colonial attitude.In response, solemn promises were made by the govt. to meet the peoples demands, But instead Nawab Nauroz was arrested and seven people were executed in Hyderabad Jail .The Nawab died while incarcerated . The resistance movement led by Mir Sher Muhammad Marri was the continuing expression of Baloch resentment against Central Rule which did not involve the people in decision making regarding their lives and future.

Bhutto's ascendancy to power saw an increase in the regard for the will of the people .Urged on by the Shah of Iran who equally feared Baloch militancy , Bhutto began violating Baloch rights on the flimsy pretexts of imagined threats to National Sovereignty , and every underhand trick in the book was employed to undermine the legally elected Provincial Govt.1973 saw an intensification the effort to quash the will of the Baloch people in a manner similar to that used in Bangladesh a couple of years earlier .Marri agency , Jhalawan and other supposedly sensitive area's were blockaded to deny the population the basic necessities. The blockade which continued till the end of 1977 , was very effective and resulted in immeasurable suffering for the people .
The unwarranted excesses left the people no other option but to resist , and May 18th 1973 , saw an early Morning Ambush on a Sibi scouts patrol near Tandoori in which all eight members of the patrol party were killed .Within three days the army landed in Mawand . In his letter to the DAWN on July 13th , F. Lodhi says that while standing in for , the director of Military Operations at that time , he advised a political solutions of the problem , rather than a Military One , but Bhutto seemed hell bent on the latter .The Shah of Iran , meanwhile lent the government his support by providing helicopter gun ships to quell the Baloch militancy.
When policy f physical elimination is pursued without any consideration of due processes if law and justice , one can only term it as genocide .When numerous incidents of of unexplained and unrecorded disturbances disappearances take place and where reprisal killings and deaths of non combatants are commonplace , it can be safely assumed that there are not isolated lapses but a premeditated policy of physical elimination of the opposition .This is exactly what happened in Baluchistan .
I narrate only a few incidences from a small area of Marri Agency . Dulip /Johnny Dass or Dali as he was known , was a person of sterling qualities , compassionate and dedicated , whose only crime was that he helped the Baloch people resist the oppression unleashed on them. .He and Sher Ali Ramkani Marri were picked up near Belpat by the Army and never heard of again . Had they changed loyalties , they would have lived .They were not the only ones .Bahar Khan Lalwani , Shafi Muhammad Badni , Dost Muhammad Durkani and Allah Baksh Pirdadani were picked up at different times and places as were scores of others from all over Baluchistan and their fate too is unknown . After all these years all are presumed dead , but surely their families and friends have a right to know the circumstances in which they died and whether they were given a trial , leave alone a fair one . Killing captives without the due process of law is Murder under any circumstances and by all codes , and such incidents were commonplace all over Baluchistan. So all those who are guilty of this crime must be brought to book .

Reprisal killings were also frequently resorted to , indicating an organised policy in in the matter . Sher Muhammad Aaliani , an elder of the Aaliani clan ( a Marri sub clan ) a septuagenarian living in the vicinity of Kahan , was picked up after an ambush on an army patrol in that area .When his corpse was subsequently recovered m it bore marks of severe torture . Murad Khan Ramkani of Tadri suffered a similar fate .His only crime : belonging to the clan of a leader of the insurgency , Mir Hazar Khan Ramkani .Seven man , five of the Shaija clan , including Baazi and Qaiser Khan and two Kalwanis , were summarily executed by a firing squad after a skirmish with army partisans in the area of Dungan. All those killed had made peace , and vowed to quit the area when the army moved in .

In december '71 , an army patrol attacked Tadri , a Marri householding. When Tagav and his nephews , Karam and Jalamb Ramkani tried to stop the army and their collaborators from taking away their flock , they were killed .Their women who were also shot at , one was killed and two wounded . A young boy , Mangla , also sustained injuries . The wounded were treated by our friend Dali. In another instance , an old man , Vashdad Ramkani was killed when he struck an Army man who had abused him . In the Kalgary area , when a household was attacked by an army contingent , all the able bodied people fled , but a blind man , but a blind man , Jan Baig Ramkani who was left behind , died in the volley of fire unleashed upon the house . Pir Baksh Ramkani , a big flock owner , died defending his flock .Most of the victims were personally known to me .

Killing unarmed civilians and publicising the murders as " encounters " with " hostiles" were to frequent to be labelled as lapses . So many incidents cannot be dismissed as random actions . Torture as an instrument for extracting information and forcing a change of Loyalties was also used by the Army against the Baloch methodically and extensively . Without exception , all and sundry were subjected to it in it's gruesome variety: beatings , electric shock , deprivation of sleep and food , hanging by the hair , being forced to sleep on ice slabs, burning with cigarettes etc. . Many who survived the ordeal narrated their harrowing experiences , for example MNA Mir Ali Bakhsh Talpur , who was severely tortured merely on account of being a Baloch sympathizer .

Another tactic employed to break the resolve of the people was to deprive them of their main source of livelihood - their flocks . The nomadic Marri particularly , depend on their livestock . Their flocks were taken and sold for a pittance to traders from the Punjab .Furthermore , whenever stocks of wheat were discovered , they were destroyed . Even water bags , i.e. mashks , in which water is carried and stored , were cut up . the locals donkeys were commandeered by the army and it's partisans and used to transport goods for them .

As a result of these excesses , thousands of Baloch migrated to Afghanistan .the pain of repressed people is never erased from their psyche . Those who suffered due to the brutality by the army in the four year long war still deeply mistrust the centre and all it represents .The cost that such oppression extracts from the population is incomprehensible to people who have never experienced this kind of terror. And their is hardly a home in the Marri agency which did not suffer such excesses . But for them , the suffering still continues .

One corrupt coalition after another has ruled Baluchistan since 1973 . They have been more concerned with and strived for their own welfare rather than that of the people . At times the number of ministers has nearly equalled the strength of the house . The centre true to it's tradition , has not been helpful . All slogans of " provincial autonomy " are belied by the ground reality . The arbitrary dissolution of assemblies , horse trading , non local governors and rank corruption has increased the sense of alienation of the population at large .This is a dangerous tendency with ominous portents for the future .

Historically Baluchistan has remained a sensitive region because of it's strategic location , untapped natural reserves and the influx of migrants from neighbouring regions which constantly changes it's demography .It's proximity to Afghanistan and Iran , and a long sea coast combine to make it for intrigues by large powers .The very potent threat to national boundaries for a unification of Baloch's residing in Pakistan , Iran and Afghanistan , has left many rulers sleepless . With the Taliban in power in Afghanistan and their dreams of greater Afghanistan - which interestingly include parts of Sindh - Baluchistan has become a potential powder keg with a very short fuse .Erroneous moves could lead to an ethnic war between Baloch and Pashtuns in both countries .
A region as sensitive and potentially dangerous as this needs to be dealt within a sane equitable manner .The first of such steps is confidence building .The pain may not be erased , but at least it can be eased .A positive beginning could be made with an admission of past mistakes by the centre , and an apology to the Baloch people for past injustices . The affected people should be compensated - though no self respecting Baloch would ask compensation for those who were killed in the fighting .The province should get it's due share of water and development funds , and the income generated from within the Province should be utilized in the Province .The welfare of the people and the environment should be made a primary objective .Unless such measures are initiated soon , an adverse political situation could develop with dangerous consequences .People cannot be expected to remain quiet forever.

QK Archives: Ajmal Khattak


07 December 2000 Thursday 10 Ramazan 1421


Ajmal Khattak: The poet within


By Intikhab Amir

It would probably come as a surprise for many to hear that Ajmal Khattak,
a veteran nationalist leader, is also a poet. But since he is a descendant
of the renowned Pashtoon poet, Khushal Khan Khattak, it is no wonder that
he too shares a passion for poetry.

Born in 1925 at Akkora Khattak, a small town on the Grand Trunk road
between Peshawar and Islamabad, Ajmal Khattak has to his credit several
volumes of poetry and literary work in Pashto, a book in Urdu on the
history of Pashto literature and lots of other works which he contributed
during his professional affiliation with Radio Pakistan and as a newspaper
columnist.

Nevertheless, whenever one thinks of him, the impression of Ajmal Khattak
as a politician dominates all other facets of his personality. Largely,
because of the nationalist politics he has been pursuing for over 60
years.

Politics and poetry have co-existed throughout his years of struggle, and
both at one point were focused on, "the awakening and achievement of
rights and unity of the Pashtoons," says Khattak.

His passion for politics and love for poetry have never created a conflict
within him; in fact, both these features have always complimented each
other, portraying him as a vibrant and spirited person who has bravely
borne all of life's hardships. Since his involvement in politics began
early in life - right from his school days in Peshawar - his troubles too
began early. "My love for poetry grew side by side with my ardour for
politics," says Khattak.

Early exposure to politicking came by way of his family's active
involvement in Ghaffar Khan's Khudai Khidmatgar Tehrik during which their
Hujra, (the traditional place in a Pashtoon's house for male guests)
played as a nerve centre of politics.

His appreciation for poetry developed because the music parties - held
every evening in his Hujra - involved songs based on the works of
prominent Pashtoon poets and the rhythmic beat of the traditional music
instruments Rubab and Gharra would induce him to try a hand at verse
writing as well.

Besides frequenting mushairas where local Pashtoon poets participated
regularly, the musical events taking place as a permanent feature in the
Hujra, all created an environment in which it was obvious that influence
of the arts would prevail.

"Raised on tales of heroism of the Pashtoon warriors who fought against
the British, Sikh and Durrani forces, and living in surroundings dominated
by poor farmers had a profound impact on my mind and evoked deep feelings
for the oppressed," Khattak asserts.

His dynamic surroundings and involvement in politics provided him enough
to ponder over, helping him in discovering his inherent tendency towards
poetry.

"Poverty, suppression and scenic beauty enhance my sentiments and
intensify my convictions," says Khattak. The vision in his poetry is the
result of sheer inspiration through surroundings which simply form in his
mind as lines of a verse.

The first of his poems was published in 1935-36 when the young Khattak was
in seventh grade at a school in Akkora Khattak. The Pashto poem was
carried in a periodical magazine, The Pakhtoon- a mouthpiece of the Khudai
Khidmatgar Tehrik.

After the publication of that poem,the magazine published a story written
by young Khattak. The story was based on true accounts of the life of a
farmer, Wahab Din.

"Right from the beginning, my writings have reflected the sufferings and
miseries of the suppressed classes even though my family was influential
even before the British occupied the area," says Ajmal Khattak,
remembering the state of penury his family had to face soon afterwards,
and the difficult times that his parents went through then. Now he is a
political and literary figure of high stature who has followers
everywhere, not only in Pakistan but also across the western borders of
the country.

Sitting in a small room of his traditionally perfect Hujra, Ajmal Khattak
expresses satisfaction about his political career and his contribution to
Pashto literature.

The humble surroundings of his Hujra and the modest house adjacent to it
reveal his unpretentious lifestyle and moderate financial status, proof of
the fact that how little the man made for himself despite being in the
lime light of the country's politics for the last twenty years.

"Ghairat Chagha" (calling of the honour),the first volume of his poems,
was published in 1956.

The poems were inspired by his successive arrests between 1948 to 1956 on
political grounds. "During those years, most of my work had either been
taken away by the raiding police or was destroyed by my mother because of
a fear of the government's action," recalls Khattak.Later, while he was in
exile at Afghanistan, from 1973 to 1979, most of his literary works were
buried by his family members to avoid the wrath of the government agencies
and unfortunately, it was never salvaged. "I have never recovered from the
shock of losing my works," says Khattak, despondently.

A book titled Da Za Paagal Yum (I was the mad) was motivated by the
torture he confronted in jail. The other book Afghani Nang (Afghani
honour) was about his years in exile at Afghanistan.

The numerous national songs, stories and dialogues he wrote for radio have
been conserved by his friend Sabz Ali Mohmand in an un-published volume
titled Palwasha.

Involvement in politics has had strong bearings on his life, influencing
poetry and education. In 1942, while studying in the tenth grade at the
Government High School Peshawar, young Khattak had to go under ground to
avoid imprisonment because of his involvement in the Quit India Movement.

As a result, his name from the school's students enrolment register was
struck off and he had to appear in the examination as a private candidate.


He passed his intermediate exams while serving his jail sentence after he
had completed Pashto Fazil, Munshi Fazil and Adeeb-e-Fazil certificates
also during his jail term. In 1961-62 he took admission in the MA Persian
programme in the University of Peshawar.

His frequent visits to Delhi to meet his cousin Mohammed Umer Khan, who
was studying in a religious educational institution, ultimately gave him
access to the progressive literary circles of India in 1938. There he got
the opportunity of a lifetime to attend discussions and gatherings of the
literary elite of the subcontinent.

"During my visits to Delhi, I was fortunate to have met literary giants
like Josh Maleeh Abadi, Sahir Ludhyanvi, Krishan Chander, Sajjad Zahir and
Rajinder Singh Bedi."

He believes that his entry into Delhi's literary circles left a profound
effect on his mind which, in the years to come,was heavily reflected in
his poems,verses and other literary writings.

"Delhi's literary meetings helped me in refining my thoughts and enabled
me to focus on the Pashtoon movement, freedom from the British, rights for
the oppressed and patriotism."

In the literary circles of Peshawar, he has enjoyed the company of Faarigh
Bukhari, Raza Hamdani, Khatir Ghaznavi and Mohsin Ihsan. Whereas during
his attachment with radio he has worked in the company of Ahmed Nadeem
Qasmi.Another side of his multi-faceted persona is his prolonged
attachment with active journalism.

He started his career in journalism in 1956 as the editor of the Peshawar
edition of the Karachi-based Urdu daily newspaper Anjaam. He also worked
for the Peshawar-based bilingual (Urdu/Pashto) daily newspaper
Baang-e-Haram in the same capacity.

Later,when National Awami Party (presently named as Awami National
Party)purchased preparatory rights of Shahbaz, Ajmal Khattak was the
driving force who ran the affairs of the newspaper.

His columns that appeared in Shahbaz under the title Malung, have been
compiled and published in a book form.

Being the head of his own political party, he does not have much time to
pursue his literary interests, though he manages to participate in
mushairas occasionally. "The frequently changing political situation,
national issues and tragedies are the focus of my poetry these days," he
says.

His sudden ouster from his old political party - Awami National Party -
has left a deep impact on him. "Presently, my writings and poetry are
about the manner in which I was disassociated from my old platform, ending
my 65-year-old association with the party and its causes and how it has
changed my perception regarding a lot of things."

He received the information of his expulsion from ANP while he was
attending a mushaira in Islamabad and his immediate reaction came out in
the form of the following verses;

(I don't care I will take a begging bowl and go to the people, will ask
for the welfare of the country and the nation; I'll go to the old and seek
their counsel, I'll go to the young and will awake them)

Recent newspaper reports alleging that he has been offered the office of
president of Pakistan by the military regime too brought out strong
reactions from him in verse form;

(Oh my old hat! I won't change you for glory or royalty, you are my asset;
you are the sacred trust of my people in my life-long struggle)

It is impossible to say what life has in store for anyone, but for Ajmal
Khattak who at 75 has launched his own political party, it can perhaps be
said that his travails continue as he changes direction of his political
beliefs, now setting goals beyond Pashtoon nationalistic thoughts.