Pakistan's Pashtuns Feel More Alone Than Ever

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ejazr, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.rferl.org/content/Pakistans_Pashtuns_Feel_More_Alone_Than_Ever/2200408.html

    By Shaheen Buneri
    Pashtuns straddling the Pakistani-Afghan border face serious challenges to their socio-cultural survival. It's very hard for the estimated 50 million Pashtuns to know whether the world recognizes their numerous sacrifices in the ongoing war, or whether all of them have simply been dismissed by the outside world as Taliban supporters and sympathizers.

    From Waziristan to the Swat Valley, the Taliban since 2006 has claimed responsibility for the destruction of hundreds of schools, music shops, and other buildings, as well as the killings of about 700 tribal elders and the kidnapping of university teachers, religious scholars, and aid workers. Taliban suicide-bomb attacks have killed thousands of innocent bystanders.

    Until very recently, Pakistan's central government completely ignored the rise of the Taliban. Hundreds of illegal FM radio stations were allowed to spread hatred and bigotry throughout the tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Locals became convinced that the security and intelligence agencies were preparing a horrible plot that even today has no end in sight.

    In the past four years, the Pashtun "jirga" was replaced by the Taliban "shura" through a display of violent force. Traditional Pashtun melodies have been superseded by Taliban chants inciting youths to a life of terrorism. Female dancers have been persecuted and murdered by Taliban militants seeking to impose their extremist religious agenda on a moderate people. In March 2009, the shrine of legendary Pashtun Sufi poet Rahman Baba was bombed and destroyed.

    To counter this violent assault, various Pashtun tribes in the tribal areas, Peshawar, Dir, Buner, and Swat formed tribal "lashkars" (militias), but these nascent forces soon came under violent attack from Taliban militants. Again, the security forces failed to provide any significant protection.

    The traditional Pashtun cultural value of hospitality was shamelessly exploited by the Taliban and their supporters to create a haven for various militant and extremist formations on Pashtun territory. To this day, the dominant political discourse in Pakistan's governing circles describes the Pashtuns as people who support and shelter the Taliban rather than as the people who have done the most to resist the militants and who have been most brutally victimized by them.

    Pakistan Ignores Its Pashtuns

    The United States has formed a strategic partnership with the powerful Pakistani military establishment. However, the two "partners" have radically differing views of the Taliban. Washington is urging Pakistan to eliminate the militants who are carrying out attacks on coalition forces inside Afghanistan. But many in Pakistan's elite see the Pakistani Taliban as a strategic asset that will ensure Pakistan's influence in any future arrangement in Afghanistan.

    The United States has provided billions of dollars of civilian and military aid but, according to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the central government has provided little money to the province for reconstruction or security. But without the restoration of basic health and educational infrastructure in the region, how can religious militancy be rooted out?

    While the military makes plans for a major base in the Swat Valley, the locals in the region are demanding basic amenities like sanitation, clean water, and safe schools. The people of flood-ravaged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cry out for shelter and food, while the military insists on the need for new high-tech military hardware to continue its endless rivalry with India.

    The main media in Pakistan -- especially Punjab-based television channels -- have little time to cover the plight of the Pashtuns. Instead, television talk shows are filled with endless discussions of politico-religious leaders blaming the United States and India for all the problems in the country and the region.

    Now everyone is discussing reports of peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban. Much to the bewilderment of Pakistan's Pashtuns, the government in Pakistan has been urging a greater voice for Afghanistan's Pashtuns vis-a-vis the country's ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks. And Pakistan's Pashtuns watch, wait, and wonder what will become of them if the Taliban returns to power in Kabul.

    Shaheen Buneri is a broadcaster with RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal in Prague. The views expressed in this commentary are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    To curb the pukhtoon nationalism Pak army used taliban who in turn removed the tribal j elders and jirga.And of all these shia puktoons suffered a lot like those of parachinar and Turi tribe, a Shia tribe in Kurram.Remember during floods there were fighting among the nwfp tribes in which some 30-40 people were dead and pakistani media reported it as water dispute. actually those were the turi tribe members who were opposing haqqani talibans in there area and pakistani air force bopmbed the turi tribe in support for haqqanis.
    this is what BILL ROGGIO & KAUSHIK KAPISTHALAM said in longwar journal.


    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/10/siraj_haqqani_shelte.php
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    infact pakistan army kills the tribals who oppose taliban in their area.Tribals are living under the cease by taliban and pakistan army in khyber pukhtoonwa.Infact all these operations conducted by PA in KP is a big dog and pony show and scam.where PA and PAF levels the whole towns and villages to ground wth relentless areial bombing and artillery barrages. i doubt that PA has really killed any taliban all it has to show the dead bodies of poor pukhtoon men whom PA referred as taliban killed in action.Infact all those operations launced by PA can be easily termed as save taliban operations.
     
  5. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    There is an easy solution for all this. Create an independent Pashtunistan :)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^^ You're forgetting that Taliban majority comprise of Pashtuns. How then are they isolated? What cultural values are they talking about? Hospitality is one aspect; their brutal bloodthirsty tactics in slaughtering their enemies even if the person is a non-combatant talks a lot about how "cultured" they are. Taliban as a unit began not with punjabis, sindhis or other denominations of Pakistan but with Pushtoons and some dissident Hazaras of north Afghanistan.

    If at all they were really as guilt-free as they are depicted here, then they would have fought of any Taliban version of religion that they so happily embraced and tormented Afghanistan for so many years. Agreed that Russia had cleaned Afghanistan flat, but Pushtuns rather than taking social responsibility in amicably discussing and forming a new country, went on tribal lines and started fighting with other tribes of Uzbeks, Hazaras etc. Being religion obsessed also is no excuse since Afghanistan is more than 90% Muslim. Even despite their rigid demands being met, they have no sense of civilized living.

    Then how can they be called "isolated sufferers"? This is not 7th century where everyday there were dagger attacks and people were required to be savage. They had all the chance to join the modern world, reform and redevelop. Instead, they messed up with Pakistan and CIA and see where it got them. Now they're seen as a threat and enemy with not just a pissed off Russia & CAR who hold a historical grudge against them, but also their former allies USA and yes even Pakistan where they're considered the lowest---worse than so-called Dalits of India.
     
  7. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    This won't be favourable because even if Pakistan is reduced to this size, we'd still have a hostile, emotionally unbalaced and very intolerant bunch of people right next to POK (which could be retaken then). I am sorry to say this but I don't know how much the Pushtuns have matured out. Afghanistan's pushtuns might have learned something about violence not being the only method but the ones in Pakistan are really very unstable. This difference of opinion in the same community would make "Pushtunistan" a very unstable country to begin with.
     
  8. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The Propaganda by the Pakistani army/intelligence is that the Pashtoons are blood thirsty crazy people and hence the US and NATO should just leave us to handle these crazy people.

    The reality is completely different.

    Historically, the Pashtoons may have been petty and tribal but they also produced great achivements in various fields. Abdul Gaffar Khan or Bacha Khan was one of the greatest leaders of non-violent independance movement in British India and have millions of followers. When he died the civil war that was hapepnign in Afghanistan was suspended while he was buried in Jalabad by all sides out of respect for him. The first astronout in south Asia after Rakesh Sharma was a Pashtoon from Afghanistan Abdul Ahad Mohmand in 1988.There is the history of famous poets and sufis like Baba Rahman. And then there is Dr. Zakir Hussain the third president of India who was a Pashtoon of the Afridi tribe. The Pashtoons were never really reconciled with being a part of Pakistan and Afghanistan led by a Pasthoon King was the only country that actually voted against recognising Pakistan in the UN. Afghan is basically a synonym for Pashtoon. And the NWFP was actually a part of Afghanistan that the British wrested away from Afghanistan with great difficulty.


    Afghan Taliban are mainly Pashtoon, true, but 90% of them are accidental guierallas fighting aforeign invasion of their land. Only 10% are hardcore Taliban like Mullah Omar. Other than that you have extremist/takfeeri groups like the Haqqani groups, and the various permutations withing Pakistan. Infact, the TTP consists of mainly Punjabi extremists in its leadership ranks. Al Qaeda realted militants from all over the world were allowed to settle in the FATA districts by the ISI to be used as startegic tools. The Punjabi establishment probably also thought that using Islam as a politcal tool will curtail Pashtoon nationalist feelings as well. Now its coming to bite them back in the behind.

    The unfortunate part is that the people who had a leader like Badshah Khan with his strong commitement to non-violence and Islam and a visionry leadership was after Indepenace treated worst by the Pakistani establishment than what the British treated him. He could have played an importantrole in transforming these tribal, tough but good natured people through education and brought them into the 21st century. What happened was it ended being basically colonised by Pakistan and a ground for superpower politcs for three decades and counting.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Taliban are just recent phenomenon say 20-30 yrs .Mehsuds are not punjabis they are pukhtoons and by the way it were mehsuds who raided kashmir in the name of islam in 1946 there by spreading mayhem of loot,rapes,killings.Which foreign power they were fighting in kashmir then ?The thing is badshah khan was betrayed by his own people in the name of islam under jinnah's cry of islam khatare main hai.Sorry to say but badshah khan died as a broken man.
     
  10. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Ejazr, You might be right as we cannot blame entire Pushtun race to be lunatic and terrorist. But look at the situation today: from Miranshah in Waziristan and beyond stretching into Afghanistan, if you take a note at the reports by numerous agencies around the world, the most brutal form of violence is taking place where Pushtuns are somehow or the other involved. Hazaras, Uzbeks and Persians who're minorities in Afghanistan are nowhere close to involved in any sort of overt terrorism. Pakistan does indeed mastermind all the terrorism in the region but even their foot soldiers are brutally mutilated and executedby these lot.

    How many decades do you think it would take Afghans to become civilized like CAR countries and focus on economic and national realities rather than tribal code and their impossible obsession with religious fundamentalism? My estimate is at least another 30 years. Due to their extreme illiteracy, global ignorance, gullible nature and their sentimental fervour to faith, any tom **** and harry terrorist organization starting with Osama bin Laden or any other Islamist organization from say Somalia, Chechnya etc could simply brainwash them and turn them violent in a jiffy. Just once it happened and look at what's happening to the country even today. Soviets are long gone but even before NATO's arrival, Afghanistan was Asia's Somalia. No laws, no police, no government control, each tribe massacring the other for supremacy... it is now just impossible for them to become non-violent and practical people like Japanese and Koreans anymore.

    It is very sad that I have to say this but if this continues, they're only heading towards their own extinction.
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    The only problem is that a large part of the portion in green is not really Pakhtunistan, but Balochistan. If this is created and named Pakhtunistan, expect more civil war there.
     
  13. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Similar to Parchinar, now these Shias will be bombed and ethnically cleansed to submit, which mercenary pakistani dollar army is good at. pakistan Is playing a great game with Taliban and I don't think US is oblivious to this fact, but US allows mercenary beggar pakistan to kill its soldiers, just to sustain a perpetually Bankrupt pakistan on life support through supply lines from Balochistan in exchange of bhik in dollar, and not taking supply route through North and using air route which will be way cheaper, it baffles me!
     
  14. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Taliban actually started around the mid 1990s as a real force, so about 15-20 years is more accurate. The Punjabis, Arabs, Uzbeks are the brains behind the TTP movement, the Mehsuds and other FATAians are basically the cannon fodder. That is why all suicide bombers are mostly young Pashtoons. While those who decide which targets to attack are the Punjabi militants who use to be very close to the military / intelligence establishment.

    Mehsuds are just one tribe among the Pashtoons. Pashtoons are a race of about 40 million people, Mehsuds alongwith Wazirs are probably the most backward and warlike tribes among the Pashtoons. Faqir of Ipi was responsbile for insurrection against Pakistan as well who was from the same region. The PA/ISI basically used these people as cannon fodder to take over Kashmir. You are taking the tribes of a few 100,000 people and painting all Pashtoons with the same color.

    Bacha Khan even today is respected by the people today. It is his sucessor party ANP that was voted in power whenever there were free and fair elections. And it was always when the military was in power when politcal Islamist parties would come in power in NWFP. FATA did not have any democratic insitution even till today. Even in the elections of 1946, NWFP was the only place were the Khudai Khtimatagar supported Congress came to power despite being 95% muslim.

    The thing with Bacha Khan was he was a pacifist at heart and he did want a bloody conflict with crazed hordes of ML supporters. He was betrayed by the Pakistani state as was any leader who was even a little bit honest with himself. Do you think it was a coincidence that Liaqat Ali Khan was assasinated.

    He defintely was hurt by the way the Pakistani state treated him. He was in jail for more years after independance than before. But his life still inspires millions of Pashtoons around the world including in Pakistan.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The most brutal form of violence are again being targeted against the Pasthoons. There are many Uzbeks who are actually heavily involved with Al Qaeda and these are the ones who gave the toughest fight to the PA. you might have heard about Pakistanis claiming uncircumcised Gurkhas fighting as Taliban. Well actually they were Uzbeks.

    Also what the Afghan Taliban are doing is not transnational terrorism, they are fighting only in Afghanistan as a resistance movement. So its more like an insurgency.

    CAR countries are civilised? They have some of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. And are very poor. Ofcourse the Russian influence has raised their development to higher level. But Afghanistan was also quite developed before the 80s-90s. Like I mentioned you had Afghan astronaut in space and had advanced hospitals e.t.c. Its the 10 year war imposed on them by the Soviets aggracated by the Ameircans and Pakistanis. Did you know that extremist education like alphabets with diagram like A is for AK-47 e.t.c. were prepared by American institutes to be taugt in madrassas and indoctrinate these people to fight Communists and Soviets. That Zia then used these same "education institutes" to indoctrinate them to fight their war in Kashmir?

    If it took 30 years to make their region so toxic, To detox them it will take atleast a similar amount of time. Provided that the Pakistani state stops using these tactics. It hasnt stopped doing that yet.
     
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Ejaz sir,Which transnational occupying force pukhtoon were fighting in kashmir through out 1990s and in POK,And when shias of gilgit baltistan and then parachinar were massacred???
     
  17. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    @ajtr

    What I am trying to clarify is that Pashtoons comprise 40million people and acts of a few don't represent all of them. By taking incidents that Pashtoon as an ethnic groups were involved in would be incorrect. More accurately, those who were part of takefeeri militant groups like LeT, JeM, e.t.c. or other secretarian groups which are anti-shia were involved in the incidents you mentioned. Infact, even Punjabis who were part of these groups were also involved in that. And so were Kashmiris living on the Pakistani side in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur. It was not related to just a sepcific ethinc group but a extremist militant ideology supported by the state.

    Afghan Pashtoons have been historically more educated and advanced than Pakistani Pashtoons because of the unequal treatments in the Pakistani state towards Punjab and Sindh. Hence on the Paksitani side, there is more illiteracy, extremism, e.t.c. As Teshring22 rightly said, we cant blame the entire Pashtoon race to be lunatic. This is exactly what the PA/ISI would like the world to believe. The solution being only we(PA/ISI) can negotiate and work with them. Let us handle this "problem" for you and pay us as well while we do this "difficult" job of protecting you(West) from them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010

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