Pakhtunkhwa Times

Punjab’s Pakistan By RSN Singh Issue: Vol 22.4

Posted in News, Pakistan News by ppfcanada on March 24, 2009

Pakhtunkhwa: Matter of Identity By Dr. Sher Zaman Taizai

Posted in Pakhtunkhwa News by ppfcanada on March 24, 2009

The NWFP assembly at long last, passed the historic resolution on November 13, 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, 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 analysed 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 to 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 speak 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 lessen 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.

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