Pakhtunkhwa Times

Colonial NWFP or Pakistani Pakhtunkhwa? Prof. Em. Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009


hasandani

North-west of the British has been a changing phenomenon in history. In their westward advance over the decline of the Mughal Empire the British first created the North West Province, which is now called UP in India, and much later in 1901 they agreed to the formation of the present North West Frontier Province and separated it from the province of Punjab. To NWFP was added the Hazara division for administrative purposes, as Gulab Singh to whom Kashmir was sold, could not pay the full amount and hence Hazara was taken away and added to this newly created province. The Mughals had formed Subah-i-Lahore, Subah-i-Multan, to which Sindh was attached, and Subah-i-Kabul, to which was attached more or less the present NWFP. Later the Mughals conquered Kashmir and extended their sovereignty over Baltistan and Ladakh.

To the original British NWF Province the government of Pakistan, in 1970-71, after the abolition of the states, added Swat, Dir and Chitral as new districts and also created the district of Kohistan, which was practically no-man’s land in the British period. Just before partition of the sub-continent, the idea of Pakhtunistan was floated by Congress for reasons not difficult to understand, but it fizzled out in the referendum as the people voted to join Pakistan.

Lord Curzon, in his Forward Policy, distinguished between the settled districts of NWFP and the newly established tribal agencies and fixed the border between British India and Afghanistan at the western end of the Khyber Pass for the first time in history and thus made a political division of the Pakhtun tribes. Dr. Akbar S. Ahmad, in his thesis, written under the influence of the British teachers, made unnecessarily sociological distinction between the Pakhtun tribes in the settled districts and those in the artificially created tribal agencies. Such a distinction never existed in history. Sir Olaf Caroe, in his book The Pathans tried in vain to trace the origin of the Pakhtuns from the Huns, although titles like Gul and Khan are certainly borrowed from the Huns and the Mongols.

The Pashto or Pakhto is a well-known Aryan tribe mentioned in the Rigveda along with others, Jadu (or Yadu), Kuru, Sivas and Bhalanases. The Jaduns are the modern Gaduns, Sivas have left behind their name in the modern village of Siva in Swabi tehsil, and Kuru can be recognised in the valley of Panchkora in the district of Dir and Bhalanases have left their name in Bolan Pass. It is the Aryans who first started the geographic name of Gandhara in about the middle of the second millennium BC that extended on either side of the river Indus, with two capitals, Pushkalavati (modern Charsadda) on the west and Taxila on the east. Later the western capital was transferred to Peshawar (old Purushapura).

In Gandhara lived eight Aryan tribes, known as Ashtakas, whose king, named as Astes in the Greek accounts fought with Alexander’s forces. The place name Hashtnagar recalls their memory. The Ashtakas have probably left behind their trace in the name Khattaks, who spread out south of the river Kabul right up to Attock.The Achaemenian Iranian Empire extended into this part, and Herodotus names the provinces as Gandhara, Paktyike, Sattagudi (i.e. Sapta Gomati, inclusive of Bannu, D.I. Khan, Zhob and Loralai districts, and finally Maka or Makran in the coastal region. Next province is called Hindu or Sindhu to the east of the river Sindhu. He also mentions the country of Darad in the north and refers to the Babylonian name Paropamisadae, i.e. the hilly area beyond, which in Sanskrit is called Avagana, or Apagana or Afgana (ava meaning far and gana meaning tribe) and hence tribes of the distant area, referring to Kabul region. Paktyike still survives in the provincial name of Paktya in Afghanistan, although it is much reduced in size.

The geographical name Gandhara continued until AD10 century, i.e for nearly twenty-five hundred years, when after the overthrow of the Hindu Shahi dynasty by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, it was incorporated into his Ghazni empire and Gandhara was forgotten into the limbo of history. The Arab conquest of this region does not record Pakhto or Pakya because the Arabs fought with the Turki Shahi or Hindu Shahi rulers. However, the spread of Islam transformed the whole mental make-up and tradition of the people. Many of the tribes started connecting themselves with the Semitic tribes or with Iranian heroes of Shanamah fame; e.g. Gakkhars call themselves Kianis, and the Awans associate themselves with Qutub Shahis. Similarly, the Pakhtuns trace their traditional origin from the lost tribes of the Jews, as recorded in the Makhzan-i-Afghana of the time of Sher Shah Suri. It is after the conquest of the Arabs that the name Khyber was applied to the pass and Ali Masjid was built there near the old Buddhist site. But the name Khyber was never used this side of Jamrud. However, the Pakhto tribes got associated with Turkic conquerors and along with them they spread out into north India right up to Bengal.

From AD 10 century onward the Muslim historians use the word Afghan in their works but in India the world Pakhto is corrupted as Pathan or sometimes a new word is deprived from Roh, i.e. Koh Sulaiman and we get the world Rohilla or Rohilkhand, which played an important part in the later Mughal history.With the spread of the Timurid Empire the Afghan tribes were much disturbed. With Timur’s son Shah Rukh sitting at his new capital of Herat, having full control over Kandahar, the Pakhtun tribes around Kandahar were shaken. Some tribes, like Tarin, moved into norther part of Balochistan, and others like Lodhis, Suris, Niazis and Durranis came to Punjab. The Yusufzais moved towards Kabul and later when Babar occupied Kabul, the Yusufzais spread eastward towards Bajaur, Dir, Swat, Mardan and Peshawar districts, displacing the earlier tribes who took shelter in Hazara.

The older tribes, such as the Khattaks in the south and Awans in the east developed rivalry against the newly arrived Yusufzais and Mohammadzais, who were already against the Mughals. The resettlement of the tribes took considerable time when they were again caught in the establishment of the Mughal authority here. In the pre-Mughal period the conditions remained disturbed because of tribal jealousies and Mongol invasions. When the Mughal emperor Akbar was able to befriend the Khattaks and made them give security for the new road that he built south of the river Kabul from Attock to Peshawar and onward through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. In lieu of the toll tax the security was guaranteed and the region west of the Indus river was tagged onto Subah-i-Kabul. When the Afghan State was created after the death of Nadir Shah by his successor Ahmad Shah Abdali the region remained a part of that state until Ranjit Singh separated it and joined with his new state of Punjab.

With the British conquest the Sikh State of Punjab became Punjab province and its extent included this region, until 1901 when the new province was created under the new name of North West Frontier Province.

As far as the British Indian Empire was concerned, the new colonial name of the province was fully justified as this province lay to the north-west frontier of the Empire but in the present geographical context of Pakistan it is neither the only region in the north-west nor the only part lying in the frontier of the state. Hence in my earlier articles I have been using the old historical name, Gandhara, and calling it the Land of the Pakhtuns, because the large majority of the people here are Pakhtuns and they speak the Pakhto or Pashto language. As we have accepted the name Balochistan because large majority of the people are Baloch, although

Frontier Post – February 15, 1998

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A case for renaming NWFP as Afghania by Afrasiab Khattak

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009


Afrasiab Khattak

Be that as it may, the opponents of Pakhtunkhwa say that they will accept any other name. Afghania is a name which has the potential of creating a consensus. There are controversies attached with this name. It is an established fact of history that the people of this area were also called Afghans for time immemorial. It was not a coincidence that the warrior-poet Khushal Khan Khattak gripped his sword To defend the honour of Afghans. Throughout history, this area was different from India as it was the land of Afghans. Even now, in revenue record, which was prepared under British rule, most of the people living in the province are referred to as Afghans.

The first ever reformist movement which as established in the early twentieth century in Peshawar was the Association for Reformation of Afghans (Anjuman-e-Islaha-Afghania). And the most important thing is that Choudri Rehmat Ali who coined the word Pakistan as a name for a separate state of the Muslims of South Asia had Afghania in mind as a new name for NWFP so it is according to the original scheme of the creation of Pakistan. The founders of Pakistan knew fully well that Afghania will be a source of strength for the state of Pakistan as it will help the new Muslim country to establish a distinct Muslim cultural personality which is also evident from the poetry of Allama Iqbal. Had it not been for the unfortunate political confrontation which had developed in the NWFP at the time of partition of sub-continent, the province would have been immediately renamed as Afghania.

Even now, there is a strong case for Afghania. This is a name which represent the cultural identity of the area, but at the same time it stands above the narrow ethnic or linguistic divisions. There is no political dispute or controversy attached to this name. It was proposed by some people from amongst the founders of Pakistan, as according to them, the letter A in Pakistan stands for Afghania. So renaming NWFP Afghania would be only a stet both in letter and spirit in completion of Pakistan as envisaged by the founding fathers. As no single political party is the champion of the name or claim monopoly over the name, there is no partisan controversy about Afghania and no party can single handedly bag the credit for renaming the province.

Some people may question the wisdom of renaming NWFP as Afghania just on the border of Afghanistan. This would be typical of the old thinking based on the conspiracy theory of history, because even if we do not have the name Afghania, can any one deny the cultural, religious and historical affinity between the people living on both sides of the borders. Then there a number of examples where there are provinces bordering on the countries with a similar name. Both Pakistan and India have their own provinces of Punjab with geographical proximity India has the state (province) of West Bengal having common border with Bangladesh. Northern Island is a province of United Kingdom bordering on Ireland such examples are numerous and fully prove that such communalities are natural and can become a basis for developing close links between countries. Pakistan has got special relation with Afghanistan and under changed circumstances, these relations are expected to grow. Pakistan having the province of Afghania at the borders of Afghanistan will have stronger reasons to have the closest possible relations with the brotherly Muslim country. Such a relationship can become an important factor in developing economic cooperation in the region.

Afghania as the new name of the NWFP will not only be acceptable at all parts of the NWFP and all segments of society of the province, but it will also become a bridge for the gradual integration of the FATA with this province. This is very important for the process of state and nation-building in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot indefinitely maintain the administration structures created by the British rule as these arrangements have already become incompatible with her developmental requirements. Bold and imaginative efforts are required to boost the process of nation building in Pakistan. This is particularly important on the North-Western borders where Pakistan is passed to build new strategic relations only a leadership with a vision can utilize the historic opportunities springing by momentous changes in the world in the region.

We have to grow out of stride polarisations and political squabbles of the past. Petty politics have to give way to creative and statesman like approach. Renaming the NWFP as Afghania can be the first step in this direction.

Afrasiab Khattak is a former student leader, Pakistani politician, writer and prominent human rights activist. He has been the president of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), which is believed to be the largest human rights organisation in the country. Khattak hails from Kohat in southern NWFP. He was an active leftist politician during the 1970s and 1980s. He spent many years in self-exile in Afghanistan in the 1980s, due to his strong opposition to General Zia-ul-Haq‘s military rule.

A case for renaming the NWFP as Pakhtunkhwa

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009


Dr Sher Zaman Taizi taizai2

The NWFP assembly at long last, passed the historic resolution on November 13, 2003, calling for naming this nameless province of Pakistan as Pakhtunkhwa. This day and event will be included as a golden chapter in the long and turbulent history of Pakhtuns, for which the provincial assembly deserves gratitude. The North West Frontier Province is not a name but identification of a geographical locality. With the creation of Pakistan, all its five provinces became frontier provinces due to their location on borders with other countries. Hence it became essential to change the name of this province.

This point was raised, for the first time, by the great leader of the century, Hazrat Bacha Khan, in the first legislative assembly of Pakistan who demanded he name Pakhtunistan for the province. The then prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan used the word Pathanistan, but Bacha Khan corrected him saying it was Pakhtunistan.

Nevertheless, political jugglers did not allow passage of a constitution, nor considered the fundamental issue of identification of the nationalities of Pakistan. They rather denied the identification of nationalities against all norms and mores of religious tenets, political and social sciences, with strange and baseless arguments. In fact, Pakistan was taken over by a particular group of imported bureaucrats, who implicated the people of Pakistan in self-made issues, exploited sectarian and ethnic diversities and suppressed political freedom. The group strengthened its hold on the print and electronic media to force the people, instead of serving them, to surrender to their whims and wills. All media were made to distort events ridicule dissert and dishonour the Pakistani leaders and at times them as traitors.

Punjab was divided in two parts but the name remained the same because majority of its population considered themselves Punjabi, whereas names of cities, streets and parks were changed. But the alien and un-Islamic names of Haripur named after Hari Singh Nalwa, Abbottabad built by an English bishop Abbott and Mansehra after General Mian Singh, were not changed. In Peshawar, Burj Hari Singh has been obliterated, but many other names like Hari-Chand, Rampura Street etc have not yet been changed.

Efforts were made to ruthlessly suppress the question of identification of the people of East Pakistan. The result was secession of one wing of Pakistan. The loss of East Pakistan ensued economic depression in the remaining part of Pakistan. For the first time, the Bhutto government devalued Pakistan currency by 130 percent. The process of devaluation continues at an uneven pace. By now, the value of Pakistan currency has gone down by more than 2,500 percent.

When the Sindhi language was granted official status in Sindh, during the regime of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, it was hoped that other provinces would also follow suit. But the government of Maulana Mufti Mahmood in Pakhtunkhwa did not consider the status of Pashto enough to grant it recognition as the official language of the province and introduce it as medium of education. The provincial government was shared by Jamiat-ul-Ulema and National Awami Party. The latter received a shocking setback with this policy.

During the rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, secret agencies analyzed the issue convincing the general to change the name. General Fazal Haq governor of the province introduced Pakhto as medium of education at the primary level. At that time the anti-Pakhto and anti-Pakhtun elements, in the government services, moved to sabotage the whole process. They put introduction of Pakhto language in educational institutions to surveys in order to bring out fabricated statistics against the decision. It was ridiculous! They were not asked by the authorities where and when such surveys were made! Had any such surveys even been made for introduction of Persian, English and Urdu languages in educational institutions in the sub-constitution? In fact, there were people in the government of Pakhtunkhwa who sponsored such elements against the interest of overwhelming majority.

General Zia-ul-Haq had agreed in principle to give the province a name, but he was a little wary of new name Pakthonistan for fear of its exploitation by the anti-Pakhtun lobby.

At that time Khan Abul Wali Khan, a scholar of Pakthons history and a seasoned politician, came out with the alternative name of Pakhtunkhwa with a view to avert any such reaction. Pakhtunkhwa is an old name of the area inhabited by Pakhtuns. Greek historian Herodotus had recorded it as Paktia, but Pakhto poets from the time of Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori down to the present age, have been mentioning it as Pakhtunkhwa. The appellation of North West Frontier Province can be found only in the official papers and school books.

In 1981, census was carried in Pakistan. According to that census, Pashto is the second largest language, next to the Punjabi, in Pakistan. Mother tongue of 68.3 percent of the population of Pakhtunkhwa is Pakhtu.

The ratio of Hindko speakers was 18.13 percent. The rest 13.57 percent speak other languages, like Khowar (Chitrali), Kohistani, Gojri, Shina etc.

The anti-Pakhtunkhwa reaction makes it clear that the 18.13 percent Hindko speaking population included the people of Hazara and Dera Ismail Khan also, who now claim that they are not Hindko speakers. Main languages in the Hazara division are Potohari and Pakhto, and in Dera Ismail Khan division Pakhto and Saraiki. Excluding these groups, Hindko is limited to Peshawar and Kohat cities only. Thus the ratio of non-Pakhto speakers in Hazara falls, at province level, to less than ten percent. In that division, 40 percent of the population are Pakhto speakers.

Hazara Pakhto Academy has, so far, published many standard books in Pakhto. Its output is much more quantitatively and qualitatively, than every other language of the division. The rest 60 percent population of Hazara division speaks not only Potohari but many other languages, although most of these people belong to Pakhtun clans, such as Jadoon, Swati, Tarin, Mashwani etc.

As far as Dera Ismail Khan is concerned, it had been raised by Sardar Ismail Khan Sadozai. Petty states in that division, including Tank, were ruled by the Sadozai Nawab till very recently. Majority of the population of Dera Ismail Khan city comprised Sadozais who speak Saraiki. Now the Masood tribesmen, living in Dera Ismail Khan city, have considerable influence in the social and political life of that city. They speak nothing but Pakhto. A small portion of the population of Tank city speaks another language, which is different from Siraiki. Majority of its population comprises Masood, Kundi, Bhittani, Sherwani and Marwat, all Pakhto-speaking groups.

In the tribal belt, 99.7 percent people are Pakhto speakers. The rest 3 percent are Hindus and Sikh who speak Hindi and Gurmukhi.

Now, we come to those people who oppose the name of province. Naib Amir of Jamaat Islami, Liaqat Baloch, says that the people have rejected the name. What does he mean by the people, and who are the people he represents. He himself had been rejected by the people of his own constituency in the general elections. This rejected and dejected group pushes people into trouble to take revenge on them for having rejected it. As regards the Saifullah brothers, the storm-in-the-cup show have exposed their shallow stance. Having opposed the resolution on the floor of the assembly, they are not able, now, to show up in their own constituencies. They have rushed to Abbottabad to mislead the people and prepare grounds for their return to their home constituencies. These brothers are not interested in any issue but power. The people and political parties of Pakhtunkhwa do not consider them important.

There was a statement in the press attributed to some ulema of Hazara, considering the name of Pakhtunkhwa un-Islamic.

First of all, we do not believe that such a vague and funny statement have come from an alim. Not in reply to the respectable ulema, but in response to that statement, we may submit that we ourselves do not like any un-Islamic name and term. We want that the un-Islamic names of Haripur, Abbottabad and Mansehra should be replaced with names of having Islamic and cultural touch. Would it not be advisable to rename Haripur as Goharabad (after the name of Gohar Ayub Khan Tarin), Abbottabad as Afzalabad (after the name of Afzal Khan Jadoon) and Mansehra as Zarinabad (after the name of Zarin Khan MPA)? We may also demand that the name of Lady Reading Hospital be changed to Rahman Baba Hospital and Lady Griffth School to Nasim Wali Khan school. We hope that the ulema would support these demands to do away with the un-Islamic traditions. We request the ulema mentioned in the statement of denounce that statement, advise the people of Hazara to change the un-Islamic names in that division and provide them their much needed judicious guidance. We may also ask those who have called Pakhtunkhwa un-Islamic that is North West Frontier Province an Islamic name with which they have been living for over fifty years!

Another theme of the speeches and statements of the opposition is related to the rights of the minority peoples.

In this regard, this much suffice to ask these people certain questions. In Pakistan, Qadiani, Hindu, Sikh and Christians also live, beside sects of Muslims. Seats have been reserved for them in assemblies. Are they deprived of their rights due to the name Pakistan? Are the hundred thousands Pakhtun and Baloch, living in Punjab, deprived of their rights in that province with the name Punjab? Are those millions of Pakhtuns and Punjabis, living in Sindh deprived of their rights with the name Sindh? Are the forty percent population of Pakhtun, and the Brahvi-speakers, living in Balochistan, deprived of their rights with the name of Balochistan? Is the problem of violation of the rights of minorities feared only in Pakhtunkhwa, or in other provinces of Pakistan and in Pakistan itself also? This exposes the integrity of people who consider only themselves and their own interest and environment instead of the of the national interest, and oppose the name Pakhtunkhwa. In fact, these people are opposing the very concept of the name of Pakistan by opposing Pakhtunkhwa!

It may be noted here that the people who speak Hindko called themselves Hindkian and not Hindkowan. These Hindkowan are a new breed. Hindkian do not consider themselves separate from Pakhtuns.

During the second of half of the Nineteenth century, Pakhto Munshi Fazil and Adeeb Fazil classes were included in the syllabi of the Punjab University on the recommendation of the Allama Mir Ahmad Shah Rizwani. Text books for those courses were also written and compiled by him. The forefathers of Allama Rizwani had migrated from Bokhara and settled, at last, at Akbarpura, district Nowshera.

Another literary figure from the same village was Syed Azim Shah Khyal Bokhari who had a good record of service in Pakhtu Academy, Peshawar University. He had served as Director of the said academy also. His books are included in MA syllabus of Pukhto. Wali Muhammad Toofan was a national poet of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement who put the spirit of revolution and nationalism in Pukhto ghazal. The Adbi Tolay of Nasrullah Khan Nasr had given him the title of Umar Khayam of Pukhto, but he himself and Dost Muhammad Khan Kamil did not like such titles. Hussain Bakhsh Ghorya Khel was not only a close and trusted comrade of Bacha Khan, but a scholar of Pakhto language also. His book on philology, tracing the origin of Pakhto language, has attained international status. Ashraf Hussain Ahmad has brought out two anthologies of short stories in Pakhto. And Yunus Qiasi has got an singular position among the song writers of Pakhto films.

Pakhtunkhwa is not an issue of Pakhto and Hindko. There is a particular group which call itself Hindkowan and is bent upon disturbing the peaceful atmosphere of Peshawar. Some of its vocal members have occupied the Abasin Arts Council also, and want to dictate radio, television and press also. What power of force is behind this group, is another matter. But it is not a secret that these few people, having failed in creating sectarian riots in Peshawar, are bent on disturbing the political atmosphere of this city. Their statement carry no logic and no sense but they have the pen which they lend to every one at any rate. There is a clear line of distinction between these Hindkowan and the original Hindkian. The latter have been living, for centuries, together with other peoples of this area in peaceful and brotherly atmosphere. They do not even accept the term Hindkowan for them. They consider themselves Pakhtun.

Out of Pakhtunkhwa, every where in Pakistan and in any other country, every one from this province is considered Pakhtun!

When riots were ignited in Karachi during the regime of Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, the poor people of Hazara suffered the most. It was Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Ajmal Khattak who played their nationalist and Islamic role of bringing the Muhajir and Pakhtuns in Karachi to an understanding, in order to protect the lives and properties of Pakhtuns there. None of the people, who now, excite the people of Hazara was there to help the victims from Hazara.

In social sciences, the basic element for identification of a nation is the language. And the language should have political and literary history. Pakhtuns had ruled India for more than three centuries, and have been ruling Afghanistan since 1747. When the East India Company was mobilised to conquer India, it was confronted with stiff resistance from those more than 550 states in India which were ruled by Pakhtuns. Having taken lesson from those struggles, which spread over centuries much beyond their expectations, the British government tried its best for almost a century to obliterate Pakhto from the minds of Pakhtuns in Pakhtunkhwa. But it could not succeed. Because the Almighty gave Pakhtuns a leader in the person of Bacha Khan who gave due attention to the importance of the language. Having been inspired by Haji Sahib of Turangzai, Sheikh-ul-Hind Mahmud-ul-Hassan and nationalist poet of Pakhto Makhfi, he established a chain of Azad schools to impart education to Pakhtuns in Pakhto. Then the British and parasite classes under the patronage of that government, turned against him. This present storm has also been raised by descendants of those people.

The Oral history of Pakhto stretches over six thousand years which includes certain stone slabs.

Written history of this language starts from 139 AH, and regular history from Pir Rokhan who raised the standard revolved against the Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great.

Pir Rokhan propounded the theory of Pakhtun nationalism at a time when there was no such concept in the sciences in Europe and other parts of the world. The theory was taken to its apex by the ageless and matchless poet and writer, Khushal Khan.

At present there are more than 150 Pakhto literary associations. At least two books on these associations have been published so far; one being a thesis for M. Phil degree. The number of Ph.D and M. Phil scholars is increasing. Director Pakhto Academy Rajwali Shah Khattak, Chairman of Pakhto Department Iqbal Nasim Khattak and Chairman of Oriental Languages Muhammad Azam Azam all hold doctorate degrees in Pakhto. In contrast to this status of Pakhto, when the provincial assembly appointed a committee in 1990 under the chairmanship of Pir Sabir Shah, that committee did not accept Hindko as a language even. According to its report, Hindko was considered to be introduced in the assembly.

Pakhtunkhwa is neither a political nor a religious issue, but the religious, political and social right of identification of the second largest nationality of Pakistan.

Therefore, we hope that the national assembly will perform its national and parliamentary duty to consider the right, integrity and status of the provincial assembly and approve its resolution on Pakhtunkhwa.

Dr Sher Zaman Taizi, is a prominent Pushto writer.

A case for Pakhtunkhwa

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009

A case for Pakhtunkhwa

A case for Pakhtunkhwa
Farman Kakar
The age-old struggle for having a Pakhtunkhwa province made a great leap forward after the February 18 elections. It achieved a pitch of intensity and fervour after the PPP-led coalition in the Centre, conspicuous by the presence of ANP, the flag-bearer of Pakhtun nationalism, pledged to rename NWFP as Pakhtunkhwa. Always denied to them it has been a long-standing demand of the pakhtuns of the NWFP to have a province by the name of Pakhtunistan, Afghania or Pakhtunkhwa. There has been a never-ending paranoia among the Punjabi feudal-cum-politicians and the Punjabi intelligentsia at large that Pakhtunistan, Afghania or Pakhtunkhwa smacked of an independent body politic, viz the state. The genesis of their argument goes back to the inception of the country’s independence in 1947. Given the demise of the British colonial edifice in the Indian sub-continent the retreating British colonial authority left the teeming millions of Indian sub-continent with two options of either joining India or Pakistan. Khan Brothers, the flag-bearers of Pakhtun nationalism, while not reconciling with the two choices asked for a third option to be given to those who yarned for an independent entity. Denied to them the third option of being independent and after Pakistan became an avoidable reality, the pragmatist khan Brothers now reconciled themselves to the changed scenario. The former “Red Shirt” movement underwent a drastic transformation. Receding into the background, the independence option got itself replaced by a more reconciliatory approach of living within the Pakistani federation with maximum provincial autonomy given to the federating units as enshrined by the founding document of the country, Pakistan resolution. The story has yet another dimension as well; the Afghanistan factor. After it became crystal clear that the British would withdraw from the Indian sub-continent, the Afghan authorities, while deriving from history and premising their arguments on cultural grounds set forth that areas lost to the British India under the Durand Line agreement clinched on Nov 1893 were to be returned to Afghanistan. The Afghan argument ran on certain grounds both cultural and historical. Firstly, Pakhtuns straddled both sides across the Durand Line. Secondly, the popular cliché that Afghanistan was bound to respect Durand Line agreement come to an end after the British withdrawal as the agreement fell into disrepute because it was sealed with the British India and not Pakistan. Thirdly, since in the span of history the areas lost under the aforesaid agreement constituted the once great Durrani Empire, Afghanistan was thus entitled to have them back as the otherwise would entail the negation of the Afghans’ this right. It is in this context that the Punjabis feudal-cum-politicians and intelligentsia are cynical of Pakhtuns’ nationalist much enshrined goal of having a Pakhtunkhwa province despite the fact that the annals of history do not prove that khan Brothers, by any way, were in cahoots with Afghan authorities. The pertinent questions here are, should Pakhtuns have Pakhtunkhwa province? Is such a course of action viable for the fledgling status of the country? Put differently will the Pakhtuns of Pakhtunkhawa desert the Pakistani federation one day. No doubt Pakhtuns, while facing the identity crisis, have de facto recognition of being one of the four major ethnic communities residing the country. The Pakhtunkhwa province will just entitle them to a de jure status. The arguments that are put forward against Pakhtunkhwa province are almost two-fold. First after Pakhtuns’ de fecto status changes into de jure then Pakhtunkhwa is destined to desert Pakistan one day and possibly will either declare as an independent entity or will join Afghanistan. Since NWFP is also home to other ethnic groups, Pakhtunkhwa will jeopardize their identity. This argument suffers from a serious flaw. If elsewhere the benchmark is one of majority principle then why, when it comes to Pakhtuns, in the context of Pakhtunkhwa it is not the majority principle but absolute one. Despite being home to teeming millions of Seraiki speaking community if Punjabis have Punjab; Sindhis have Sindh with millions of other ethnic groups; Baloch have Balochistan despite having a Pakhtun population of nearly equal numerical strength as that of Balochs, then why NWFP cannot be Pakhtunkhwa on the similar grounds of the majority principle. Will Pakhtunkhwa one day desert the Pakistani federation? This is a common view held by majority of the Punjabi feudal-cum-politicians and intelligentsia that Pakhtuns will one day embark upon such an ambitious plan. For those who hold such an opinion are ignorance of the history is bliss. 1970 were the declining days of the intensity and fervour of Pakhtuns nationalistic sentiments. The question is worth investigation. Being the highly mobilized community the Pakhtuns were developing major stakes in the country. They were major recruits in the army, bureaucracy and started spreading elsewhere in the rest of the country in search of jobs. To this intra-immigration Karachi became the best accommodating place. Now the Pakhtuns can be seen in almost all the major cities of the country inter alia Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi. Given this factor whereby the said community is one of the major stakeholders in the country, independence cannot be a viable option for it. It is not that Punjabis are more patriotic to Pakistan than other communities but because of the fact that this community is the biggest stakeholder and in the event the country’s disintegration they will be the one who will lose the most. So a pragmatic solution would entail the assigning of Pakhtunkhwa to the people of NWFP as this will further bring the Pakhtuns to the mainstream and hence the major stakeholders. Given the country’s very precarious and dismal state of affairs, evident especially by the growing fog of war across the Durand Line, accepting the de jure status of Pakhtun of NWFP will be a great leap forward in strengthening the bond of fraternity in the country. An exercise of de javu will further exacerbate the already aggravated situation. It is a very high time whereby an exercise in futility is to be avoided at all cost as the festering wound of Pakhtuns of FATA will not fall short of lighting a prairie fire. Thus, for the sake of national interest the forces of status quo should place a high value on the people’s desire for change. farman_qau08@yahoo.com

Swat – valley of horror and terror

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009
Swat – valley of horror and terror
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
By by Hamid Mir
The home of Hameedullah Khan in Shakardra village of Swat was destroyed by dynamite last week. He knows who the people who did this to him but he can turn to no one for justice. He has been a journalist from more than a decade. I know him because it was me who encouraged him to become a reporter 13 years ago when I was editor of an Urdu newspaper. These days he works for an Arab TV channel. The Taliban were not happy him and he claims that some local Taliban destroyed his home because of his reporting. This now homeless journalist has since shifted his family to Mardan.

I also know another journalist of Swat by the name of Musa Khankhel from many years. In the last few months alone, he has survived two assassination attempts. He told me that some elements within the security forces wanted to eliminate him physically due to his reporting. The majority of people in Swat are not happy at all with either the Taliban or the security forces – and sadly, the ultimate beneficiaries of this situation are criminals. Swat has become a paradise of dacoits, car lifters and professional killers. It’s a valley without any law.

I have seen dead bodies of innocent civilians killed by security forces in Kuza Bandai town of Swat with my own eyes. I have also seen some brave shopkeepers of Matta challenging the orders of Taliban in their face without any state protection. When I discussed this situation with the elected member of the National Assembly from Matta Syed Allaudin he gave me a heart-breaking answer. The PPP MNA said: “I have not visited my area even once since I won the election on Feb 18 last year. The Taliban as well as security forces are responsible for destroying peace in Swat. If I cannot enter in my area how can I help my voters there?”

Syed Allaudin, Hameedullah Khan and Musa Khankhel can tell their stories to the world with their own names but many cannot speak their heart because there is nobody to listen them or to provide them any justice. Let me tell you the one tragic story of a religious scholar. I cannot expose the full identity of this religious scholar due to the dangers that he faces but I will narrate his story. It’s not the tragic story of just one man; it’s the tale of an entire nation’s powerlessness.

Recently I met him in Peshawar. Mufti sahib broke into tears as he was telling me his story, but I couldn’t even rise from my chair and offer him some solace. His head bowed, Mufti sahib kept crying, unable to stop. Finally he looked up, grief darkening his face, and said: “I don’t know to whom I should go. Who is there to hear my cry and give me justice, I don’t need justice for myself but for hundreds of thousands of my daughters? They are crying out, but no one is listening.”

Mufti Sahib comes from Mingora where for the past 18 years he had worked at a madressah as a teacher. Recently a woman had come to him, hoping he would find some solution to the problem she faced. She belonged to the village of Kuza Bandai, situated on the banks of the Swat river – which in years gone by was famous for its trout. Her husband had died some years back in a road accident. Since the woman already had an F.A. certificate, she found work in a private school in Mingora which was not all that far, and thus could support herself and her three children while continuing to live in Kuzah Bandai. Eventually she also got a degree in bachelor’s of education. Due to the uncertain law and order situation in the Swat valley during the last sixteen months or so most of the educational institutions were closed. But the schools in Mingora stayed open and the woman continued working.

A few days back, when she returned home in the evening from her school in Mingora, one of her neighbours came to see her. The neighbour told her that now Sharia had been imposed and women were prohibited from going out of homes without any reason, and so from the next morning she would not be able to go to her work. The woman said to her neighbour, with some degree of fear and exasperation: “Look, you know very well why I work. Every morning I take my children with me to Mingora, leave them at their school, and then go to my job at the school where I teach. And when my job finishes I go back and pick up my children and return home. They will starve to death if I stop working because as you know my husband is no longer alive.”

The neighbour told her: “We will not let your children die of hunger but you must not go out anymore.” The self-respecting lady did not wish to live like a beggar, and so the same night she took her children and returned to Mingora, to her sister’s house, and continued working. However, the elements who don’t want women to go out of their homes went to the principal of the school where the woman worked and told the principal that either he closed down the school or fired the woman!

Scared and worried to death, the woman somehow learned that there were in that group of militants some young men who had studied from Mufti sahib in his madressah. She hoped that he might be able to help her. She told her story to Mufti sahib and next day Mufti sahib contacted one of his former students hoping there would be some way out. This former student was from Khwazakhela – which is close to the Karakoram Highway and Battagram district — and had joined the local militants a year ago, after his younger brother was killed in an operation carried out by the security forces. The former student talked to his fellow militants but they refused to budge. It seems that they think they will lose their lose their authority in the area they let the woman work outside her home.

Mufti sahib then went to talk to the militants in person. During the conversation he remarked that it was not jihad when a Muslim fought another Muslim. The commander of the militants got angry and said: “We commemorate the martyrs of Karbala on the 10th of Muharram. Was not the jihad of those martyrs against a government that called itself Islamic?”

Mufti sahib then explained to him the full context of the events of Karbala and told them that their resistance is not Islamic. He tried to explain to them that women had played a key role in the spread or Islam. He told them: “The light of Islam was spread not only by men, some women also contributed courageously by coming out of their homes. History received the great story of the sacrifices of the Karbala martyrs through Hazrat Zainab (RA), daughter of Hazrat Ali (RA). As a child, she was a great favourite of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). She had become even during the life of her father, Hazrat Ali (RA), a learned speaker, and used to expound on the Holy Quran before women. At Karbala, she saw all the male members of her family killed before her eyes. And when she was taken as a prisoner before ‘Ubaidallah bin Ziyad, the ruler of Kufah, she boldly confronted him with words of truth. Then, after an arduous journey, she was brought before Yazid in Damascus. There too she stood boldly and refused to acknowledge him as the caliph. The thundering voice of Hazrat Ali’s daughter frightened Yazid so much that he had her taken back to Madina together with the remaining members of the revered family. Had there not been Zainab the world would not have any awareness of the heights of glory reached by the martyrs of Karbala.”

Mufti sahib further said to the commander: “The history of Islam is filled with stories of other bold and courageous women besides Zainab. Had not these women stepped out of their homes, Islam might not have spread so swiftly.” He also recounted the story of Hazrat Safiya, who was the Prophet’s (PBUH) aunt and a sister of Hazrat Hamza (RA). During the battle with the Jewish tribe, Banu Quraiza, she attacked a spy of the enemy, cut off his head and threw it toward the enemy’s ranks. Then there was Hazrat Umm-e Ammarah, who wielded her sword alongside the Prophet (PBUH) in the Battle of Uhad. And when a stone struck the Prophet (PBUH) and shattered two of his teeth, it was Umm-e Ammarah who then protected the Prophet from an enemy’s attack.”

As Mufti sahib was narrating these incidents to the commander, the latter started accusing him of being an ‘agent’ of the security forces, and had him arrested. Eventually, at the behest of his former students, Mufti sahib regained freedom, but the very next day he was relieved of his duties at the madressah. Not only that, he was also ordered to leave Swat altogether within two days. His efforts to obtain justice on behalf of an oppressed woman ended in making him homeless.

But his tears before me were not on account of his own loss. The reason was that few days earlier the lady who had struggled so hard to take care of her three fatherless children was first declared a prostitute by the militants and then killed. According to Mufti Sahib, Swat was totally peaceful until two years ago. Then the government of Pervez Musharraf destroyed its peace. It spilled the blood of innocent people, and now the same innocent people had become greatest oppressors. They are killing each other in the name of Islam. What a great irony that the dictator who loudly proclaimed his “enlightened moderation” cast Swat into the clutches of religious extremism. And now he is going around the world lecturing on peace.

Mufti Sahib told me: “In Swat, the state and non-state elements are both the oppressors. They are both tyrannical. Our ulema will have to show the same boldness and courage that Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) showed, for Swat has also become another Karbala. The ulema will have to stand up on behalf of those countless women who are being made prisoners in their homes in the name of Islam, and on whom all doors of education are being closed.” If the ulema do not raise a united voice now on behalf of their sisters and daughters there will be no one left to listen to their stories of Hazrat Safiya, Hazrat Umm-e-Ammarah and Hazrat Zainab.

The writer works for Geo TV and hosts Capital Talk. Email: hamid.mir@geo.tv

Taliban rule the roost in Swat through FM radio

Posted in FM Radio, Swat by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009

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Taliban rule the roost in Swat through FM radio
Updated at
Monday, January 05, 2009

By Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Most people in Swat are becoming regular listeners of the FM radio channel run by the Maulana Fazlullah-led Swati Taliban as they want to know about new threats or decrees issued by the militants.

The nighttime broadcasts are also heard in certain areas outside Swat district. This has enabled the Taliban to spread their influence in parts of Upper Dir and Lower Dir districts and Malakand Agency and order people around in those places.

On Sunday, a man named Karimullah in Ouch Gharbi village near Chakdarra in Lower Dir district was quoted as saying in a newspaper report that he has stopped handing out “Taweez” or amulets to the needy following a warning given to him by Maulana Fazlullah’s deputy Maulana Shah Dauran on the FM radio. Henceforth, Karimullah said he would do farming to earn his livelihood and never indulge in any ‘un-Islamic’ act.

At 8 pm every night, Maulana Shah Dauran begins his daily broadcasts by reciting the holy Quran with translation and interpretation in Pashto. For the next two to two-and-a-half hours, he speaks on a variety of topics, making announcements about Swat Taliban Shura decisions, providing information about the day’s events and militants’ attacks, and issuing threats to all those violating Taliban decrees.

Shah Dauran, who belongs to Qambar village near Swat’s biggest city, Mingora, has been doing his nightly radio show now for several months. He is a regular and has seldom missed his show. He is known to use harsh language against political opponents, government functionaries and those adjudged as criminals by him and Taliban Shura. The names of those in power are mentioned in a derisive manner and fun is made of some of their actions and pronouncements.

The FM radio is obviously illegal but it continues to operate every night. Sometimes, the authorities try to block its broadcasts but the radio is back on air after a while. Shah Dauran attributes this to Allah’s help for Taliban and tells his listeners that their FM radio broadcasts cannot be blocked as alternate arrangements were in place to continue broadcasting.

Shah Dauran recently announced that his voice on the FM radio could be heard in Karo Darra and Nihag Darra, two valleys in Upper Dir district, in Chakdarra in Lower Dir, and in most of Malakand Agency.

His leader Maulana Fazlullah broadcasts his show on another FM radio channel that is heard around the same time every night in upper parts of Swat including Matta, Khwazakhela, Madyan, Bahrain and Kalam. Unlike Shah Dauran’s harsh tone, Fazlullah is said to be polite in his broadcasts.

The 33-year-old Fazlullah, it may be added, came to be known as Mullah radio when he started out as a preacher initially a few years ago and then politicised his agenda. The use of the FM radio gave him recognition and made him an influential cleric in Swat. Subsequently, he raised an armed force and then took on the government.

Seeking donations for their group and its projects, including the huge mosque and madrassa built in Fazlullah’s village, Mamdheri, and announcing the names or village of donors had been an important segment of the programming done by his FM radio in the past. This practice has continued in the broadcasts made by the two FM Radio channels but now the donors’ names aren’t announced. Only the total figure of donations that Taliban claim residents of a certain village have made are announced and the donors are praised for contributing to a worthy cause.

Often, Shah Dauran mentions that complaints have been received about some government employee not performing his duty or civic services being inadequate. He mentions the names of these employees and warns them to mend their ways. The next day those employees strive to perform their work efficiently and some approach Taliban commanders to clarify their position.

Such is the fear of the Swati Taliban that persons blamed on the FM Radio for selling drugs or liquor hasten to give up the business or rush to acquaintances having links with Taliban to help them clear their name. Policemen have been quitting jobs and placing advertisements in local newspapers in Swat to announce their decision. Those handing out amulets or doing other jobs declared un-Islamic by Taliban also make it a point to publicly abandon their profession and seek forgiveness.

Shah Dauran also uses the radio to claim responsibility for Taliban attacks. On December 28, he claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that killed 44 people, all civilians except two policemen and a government employee, at a polling station in Shalbandai village in Buner district. On another occasion, he proudly announced that Taliban had killed a female dancer, Shabana, in Mingora. Recently, he announced that anyone in Swat found using the new coins carrying Benazir Bhutto’s image would be punished.

Swatis who listen to Shah Dauran’s broadcasts said they do so because they never know their names or those of their family members may be announced for being in violation of some Taliban decree. “To survive in Taliban-ruled Swat, we need to know about decisions being made by the Taliban Shura,” argued a man who for obvious reasons requested anonymity.

Desperate moves on to secure Swat — the lost valley

Posted in ANP, Army role, Swat by ppfcanada on January 21, 2009

Thursday, 15 January 2009
Desperate moves on to secure Swat — the lost valley
By Ismail Khan

SWAT, known for its green meadows, gushing river and snow-capped
mountains, has unfortunately come to relive its historic name, Suvastu
— the white serpent — whose tenacity and viciousness has stung the
political and military leadership so badly that both are now looking
for new ways to put a lid on the monster of growing bloodshed and
reclaim its fast-shrinking territory.

The idyllic valley has gone really bad, its image distorted beyond
recognition. Pakistan’s most popular tourist destination is now
haunted by death and fear; few officials now dare to go and serve
there.

Nearly 800 policemen — half of the total sanctioned strength of police
in Swat, have either deserted or proceeded on long leave on one
pretext or the other.

Only one of the 600 police recruits trained by the military at the
Punjab Regimental Centre in Mardan, volunteered to go and serve, while
the others plainly refused to head to what is now being called the
‘valley of death’.

The second phase of the military operation Rah-i-Haq in July last to
regain control of the northern district of the North-West Frontier
Province appears to have made little headway.

Many analysts agree that the state writ has shrunk from Swat’s
5337square kilometre area to the limits of its regional headquarters
of Mingora — a city of 36 square kilometres.

Indeed, local residents say militants routinely carry out patrolling
in Mingora, where its central square, the Green Chowk, came to be
known as ‘Chowk Zebahkhana’ or the slaughter square.

Just last month, militants dumped 27 bodies with a warning not to
remove the corpses before 11 am. This coupled with sniper attacks
forced the traffic cops to refuse duty in the city centre, prompting
the military to impose a night curfew in the city, whose population
has swelled in recent months for relative security.

Targeted killings have increased and those showing defiance were made
examples for others. Pir Samiullah, who had taken on the militants,
was killed and his body hung from a pole before it was removed and
buried.

Pir’s death and the government’s inability and helplessness to respond
in real-time and support him, is perhaps the last nail in the coffin.
Officials acknowledge that encouraging and organizing popular support
against the militants now is a pipe dream.

Civilian deaths

Contributing further to the already grim scenario is the growing
negative public perception of the military operation that they say has
killed more civilians than militants.

This public perception has been reinforced by rising civilian
casualties, shrinking state authority, militants’ ability to strike
anywhere and any time and military’s over-reliance on long-range
artillery than putting boots on the ground.

No credible data is available to estimate the number of civilian
casualties in the seven-month-old operation due to police absence in
most militant-controlled areas and therefore, the resultant lack of
reporting. But police officials say the figure ran in hundreds.

The damage caused to property and infrastructure since the emergence
of militancy in Swat has been evaluated at Rs3 billion, according to a
senior government official, as militants blow up bridges and schools.
The number of schools blown up or torched now stands at 181 – the
highest perhaps in any insurgency anywhere in the world in an area as
small as Swat.

The battle for the airwaves in Swat has taken a new turn. Radical
cleric Maulana Fazlullah is back on the air but even his radio has
proved to be too weak against his lieutenant Shah Doran whose
broadcastes are heard far and wide, thanks to a 500 KV transmitter to
defeat government’s efforts to jam his sermons.

The government now plans to overcome the problem by setting up a one
megawatt transmitter that, it believes, would effectively silence the
militant radio propaganda.

With state authority on the wane in Swat, relationship between the
political and military leadership also took a sharp plunge.

Frustration is mounting within the ANP. On December 18, at a
parliamentary party meeting at the chief minister’s house, seven of
its lawmakers from Swat threatened to resign. “They were very
depressed,” said a senior party leader present in the meeting.

Predictably, the issue came up again for discussion at a cabinet
meeting the following day, followed by public criticism by Information
Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain that the government was “not satisfied
with the military operation”.

Not a child’s play

An interview to a private television channel by senior party leader
Hashim Babar accusing the security establishment of fomenting
militancy, rubbed more salt into the wounds, sources within the ANP
and security establishment acknowledge.

“The military was not happy,” a party official admitted. The ANP MPA
from Swat, Mr Ayub Ashari, was called and given a piece of mind, as
one official put it: “We have lost 142 men in Swat since July last.
This is not child’s play. This is no friendly match,” a visibly angry
security official said.

The ANP leaders defend their public statements and one of whom said:
“When you see that the operation is not effective and is going on and
on, causing more collateral damage, then how can you remain
indifferent?”

“The militants have taken over Fata and now they want to take over the
province. It’s clear. So should we remain silent and play second
fiddle?” he asked. “We have been constrained to re-think our support
to the military operation,” he said.

Security officials say that the political leadership at the helm was
also to blame for failing to put in place a civil administration that
responds to public needs and generate public support.

“We should have had the back-up support from the police and the civil
administration which is not there. This has put us on the back foot,”
the security official said.

“It’s a tough area and when you operate in an area where you don’t
know who the enemy is and who your friends are, it makes things a lot
more difficult,” he said.

But before things could reach breaking point, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kiyani intervened. On December 25, in a meeting with the army
chief, the political leadership agreed to overcome its differences
with the military high command and devise a new strategy.

Shariah law

But that may leave another issue unaddressed. Both sides are piqued
that the federal government was also dragging its feet on the
amendments proposed in the so-called Shariah regulation promulgated in
1999.

The amendments, part of the May 2008 agreement with the militants in
Swat, say the ANP leaders are central to helping restore peace in
Malakand Provincially-Administered Tribal Area, of which Swat is a
district.

President Asif Zardari returned the summary containing the proposed
amendments with observations.

“Being head of a secular liberal party, he is worried that introducing
Shariah in Malakand would harm his international image,” they said.

“What we are trying to do is to convince him that we are not enacting
a new law. These are amendments to a law that already exists,”
explained the senior ANP leader.

The new strategy, however, has already been put in motion. While the
NWFP government awaits Mr Zardari’s approval to the amendments, it is
working on a public statement that would commit the government to
introduce Islamic judicial system in Malakand.

The statement – a suggestion by octogenarian Sufi Muhammad – is still
in the works and does not include a time-frame. In return, the head of
the banned Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, has offered to leave
his protest camp at Timergarah in native Dir and go to Swat to
convince the militants to lay down their arms.

“I am an old man. I know I may be killed in the process but it’s worth
the sacrifice,” a source privy to behind-the-scene negotiations quoted
him as saying.

The security official concurred. “Whether the government introduces
the amendments or issues a public statement, it would deny the
militants the moral high ground of fighting for Shariah.”

Simultaneously, the government is also working, albeit quietly, to
incorporate some of Sufi Muhammad’s suggestions in the proposed
amendments to make it more acceptable to him and strengthen his hands
vis-à-vis the militants.

New strategy

The military, meanwhile, has begun to implement the new strategy since
last week which, it says, would focus more on consolidating and
securing the main supply routes and urban and rural centres “by
putting more boots on the ground.”

Presently, it has four brigades in Swat including one from Rawalpindi
overseen by a GOC (General Officer Commanding). “We have made some
adjustments and we should be okay with it,” the official said.

To begin with, the military is gearing up to secure Mingora and its
outer-parameters.

For its part, the government has agreed to depute three MPAs from Swat
to set up a secured camp office in Mingora to touch base with their
electorate and garner the essential public support.

But analysts say that while there has to be a more concerted and
focussed military operation to overcome the militancy, the government
too needs to devise a back-up socio-economic development plan to put
in place once an area is cleared and returned to the civil
administration.

“This is a fight to defend a state system. There is growing cynicism
amongst the people in Swat whose feeling of helplessness has been
compounded by the state to provide security and social service
delivery. This is where we all have to act, the sooner the better. The
blame-game is not going to take us anywhere,” a senior official said.
(Dawn)