Mahmood Khan of the Achakzais is amidst the uproar of indignant voices for the last week or so for saying the wrong word. There is much to be said about the bullying he has been facing for it. However, to this scribe all that really matters in such scenarios in Pakistan is the fact that such matters are generally disposed off or projected for further enhancement only by the quality and degree of collective response of the main stakeholding entities, as Dr. Hilali of International Relations Department of Peshawar University would have put it. There are a number of likely situations that could be juxtaposed for analysis. Responses to these situations vary infinitely in severity and management when undertaken by the militaristic deep state on one hand and the democratic political state on the other.
Herein, we will look at what kind of politico militarist set up the Muttahida Qaumi Movement initiated and maintained in the urban Sindh over the last two decades and how deep state machinations have been applied to counter it. The Muttahida has been able to run incessant organized terror and communal violence under the umbrella of their political power patronized by two military dictators. The militant wing of the said political party was used by the dictators to neutralize the political power of Pakistan People’s Party, Sindhi Nationalist Movement and Awami National Party along with Jummat e Islami in Karachi and major parts of urban Sindh. It seems a nexus had been established between the Muttahida and the military regimes on the understanding that all political dissent to military usurpation of power be quelled in return for letting the linguistic entity control Sindh generally and Karachi particularly by all means! But unfortunately for the deep state strategists of Pakistan the recipe turned sour as has been in all other cases. Muttahida like the erstwhile Taliban emerged to big to be controlled by the cyclops. And when the strategists of Muttahida realised that they could no more bank upon their once comrades de core, they turned to their rivals across the Eastern borders of Pakistan. There is enough evidence to implicate the upper leadership of Muttahida for indictment in high treason as per the Constitution, however, no such effort on part of the deep state seems to be in the offing. Instead Muttahida has turned their guns to the military and has quite recently blamed the high command of keeping black sheep amongst their cadres, demanding that all anti state elements within the military be eliminated before any such actions are taken against the militant wings of political outfits in Sindh. They are perhaps referring to those operatives of the deep state which remained in liaison with them during the days when Muttahida was the blue eyed baby of the dictators. In any case the pronouncements by the military and Muttahida both aren’t only poignantly shocking but also thought provoking in every aspect. This fact becomes starkly more discernable when viewed in the context of Baluch liberationist politics and Pashtun national movement for rights within Pakistan.
Mahmood Khan’s statement that ‘Khyber Pashtunkhwa belongs to Afghans’ comes up at a moment when Muttahida has already chalked out it’s strategy of direct political and diplomatic showdown with the deep state strategists. What cards do they have up their sleeve, only time will tell, but Mahmood Khan’s corollaries to his statement render him no relief from the attacks of a sleeve snake bitten military and its mouthpieces like the various Unions of retired military personnel, the so called veterans and the one and only Choudary Shujat Hussain. Although well meaning entities in media circles like ‘ Dawn’ and Dawn TV have done their bit to dispel the misunderstood impression of his statement, there is no gainsaying that Mahmood has crossed the line for a Pashtun. There has always been a tendency of using the hardest and the heaviest stick to beat the Pashtun and the Baluch: that too to death, for a tad so slightly loitering out of the periphery of the circle of Pakistani deep state narrative of patriotism. Bacha Khan’s and ANP’s smeared legacy as per the Punjab designed patriotic narrative is only an example of discrimination meted out by state apparatus as well as the dominant civil majority of Pakistan. Unfortunately, this definitive narrative and communal response doesn’t hold when considering, for example, the case of Brigadier Khalid and Major Aziz who sold OBL to the United States Seals for 25 million USD and permanent protection under United States whistle blower laws. However it holds like a wolf’s jaw when it comes to the case of Dr. Shakeel Afridi and the hundreds of youth in Swat who happened to collaborate with the Taliban in the hope of a role they could play out of their miserable lives in the excluded and marginalized sections of the poverty stricken Pashtun community. Khurram Shahzad in his book ‘Inside AL Qaeda and Taliban’ touches upon the issue and claims that hundreds of these youth were executed without trial or ceremony in the most ignoble fashion. That is the way Baluch separatists are despatched to hell as per the patriotic narrative of the dominant majority you often come across on social media and informal discussions.
We, the pygmies of Pakistan and our Gulliver, Mahmood Khan must realize that it is the collective response of the Muttahida that saves it’s neck from the barbaric fangs of the Pakistani above the law powers and that his ragtag party of young intellectuals, teachers and dreamers isn’t organized enough to stand the backlash. Nor are other Pashtun nationalist parties and factions privy to his extempore pronouncements. There hasn’t been a farthing of an utterance from the government or political parties of Afghanistan concerning his statement. The Pashtun tribes, groups and parties across Durand line cannot afford to redesign the demography of an already unstable Afghanistan, specially when they are having their historic hayday of making dollars for doing the least in their own country.
The South Asian paradigm doesn’t support the idea of a separate Pashtunistan all and neither does Mahmood Khan mean that in his statement. Although Britain has opted out of European Union, there is still hope and desire of a re merger. The world of humans doesn’t need separations, it needs mergers and unions and organization to prevail against the scourges of poverty, ignorance, disease, wars and pollution. While Pakistan and Afghanistan need to be led by their civil societies and democratic forces to redraw a better future for their people. For centuries military strategists have failed in this region. Their victories were spontaneous and short-lived. It’s the music of India, the mangoes of Pakistan and the pomegranates of Afghanistan that bring us hope of a better future for our children. The time is not far when the world will realize how stupid humans have been in wars and how outstandingly graceful they look when they make peace for times to come?
By Jack Frost, Editor-in-Chief
He can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PASHTUN TIMES