EDITORIAL: And the tale is on. Every year a small of chunk of Pashtun population on both sides of the Durand Line celebrate this day. The day of Pashtunistan. Perhaps not in vogue now in the occupied parts of Pashtunistan by Pakistan, but yes, since the fall of Dr. Najeeb’s government in 90s, this day was not commemorated in the regime of the Taliban, the proteges of Pakistan, and ironically after the ouster of the Taliban, the irredentist Hamid Karzai, also didn’t revive the Pashtunistan Day. The former Afghan president Hamid Karzai would have his own interpretations and views why he didn’t resume the Pashtunistan Day commemoration, however, this is worth reminding that without the emergence of a free and independent Pashtunistan, peace in the region, particularly in Afghanistan, is just a mirage, a delusion.
Today is the Pashtunistan Day. And thanks to social media because many Pashtuns have shared their views and thoughts on this day. Mainstream media in Pakistan cannot touch upon this matter, however, the lovers of Pashtunistan, have posted their nostalgic views about Pashtunistan, which tells a thousand stories about the changing mood of the Pashtun youth in Pakistan, their longing for freedom from a state that came into existence with a populist and religion-driven slogan and theory that Hindus and Muslims cannot be the citizens of a single state, therefore, the Muslims of Indian Subcontinent must have a separate country–Pakistan. This notion of a separate country of the Muslims was so clumsy and awkward that no one was buying it among the Muslim political leaders except a few opportunists, but since it had British backing therefore, Pakistan made. But the tale didn’t end here. Since the British had carved Pakistan out of Indian Sub-continent and Afghanistan, therefore, Afghanistan recorded its protest in the UN that it will not accept Pakistan as a new state, for, it has directly occupied the land lost to the British India. The problem is when the British was leaving the Indian Subcontinent, they kept just two options for the Pashtuns (Muslims) as to which thing they are going to opt? A Muslim Pakistan or a Hindu India? But the Red Shirters, the Khudai Khidmatgars (The Servants to God), who didn’t want to be part of Pakistan protested and boycotted of any referendum which is only Pakistan versus India. The Red Shirters were Pashtun nationalists known in the history as for being nonviolent. The British didn’t keep two more options–Pashtunistan or remerger with Afghanistan? Had the British kept four options before the Pashtuns today there would not have been the tales of blood and terror in our region. To start from Gajju Khan’s Pashtunistan will be from too ancient, but to start from the Faqir Ipi’s Pashtunistan movement, and Daud Khan’s efforts still are fresh and relevant. It is fresh because yesterday we were under the British Raj and today under the Pakistani Raj. Before the British half of the Pashtuns were occupied by the Ranjit Singh Khalistan and today his posteriors are ruling us in the imposed federation of Pakistan. Ranjit Singh’s forces had unleashed the floodgates of Pashtun blood in the valley of Peshawar and today we witness Peshawar schoolchildren carnage at the hands of Islamists brigands reared by Pakistan’s security establishment. Yesterday we had in Peshawar, Shah Ismael, who wrote letters to Ranjit Singh to be ready for Jihad and the furious Singh stampeded Peshawar and also killed Shah Ismael along with his likeminded and today we have his ideological posteriors in every nook and cranny of Pashtunistan. Yesterday, Pashtun was bleeding and today Pashtun is haemmorhaging. Yesterday there were the Taliban and today there is the ISIS. Yesterday Faqir Ipi and Ajab Khan Afridi were battling the British and were rebels and today there are more than seven thousand missing cases of Pashtuns, but nobody can dare to report it in the mainstream media in Pakistan. It means the tale of terror is the same, but phases, shapes and characters are changing, however, one thing is permanent, the land is the same, the people is the same, but the roguish characters are changing. First the Mughals, then the Singhs, followed by the British and finally now the Punjab-led Pakistan which arrested peace and unleashed terror in Pashtunistan.
It was just the USSR which wanted Pashtunistan in true sense to emerge, but the Pashtuns committed a mistake in choosing a friend and a foe. And when the late king of Afghanistan informed the Pakistani government in 1947 that his government views the Durand Line an imperial anachronism overdue for overhaul, which clearly means that it is such an imperial mistake which cannot be overhauled. And his statement is still valid because how a yesterday’s mistake can be a today’s right.
Yes it can be corrected only if the world stays by the side of Pashtuns in their struggle for self determination and the Pashtuns of the day successfully plant the flag of Pashtunistan in the valley of Peshawar because in 1952, more or less some 5,000 Pashtun nationalists invaded Peshawar to plant the flag of Pashtunistan, however, they were staved off. And in 1930’s, Faqir Ipi had held off more than 30,000 British Indian troops in the pursuit of Pashtuns’ freedom and the Bannu Declaration was passed in 1948. In Tirah Khyber Agency the Parliament of the Pashtunistan in absentia was declared. All these incidents tell much about the Pashtuns aspirations for self determination, but on the ground, this historic nation still eyes some charismatic leaders who can battle all the tides and give the Pashtuns freedom. No one knows who is that leader and where does he live, but yes, the Pashtuns still have lit the candles of free Pashtunistan somewhere in their hearts, albeit they cannot talk it vociferously in public places for being afraid of the ubiquitous and sprawling Pakistani intelligence network, which doesn’t hunt the Taliban, but sternly is watchful on Pashtun nationalist thoughts and activities.