Every human mind is capable of thinking. On the pattern of thought process, we can divide the human beings into three categories. First, some people know that they are thinking, but unable to channelize their thought processes. Second, most of the people are not even aware that they are thinking. Third, very few of them know that they are thinking as well as try to channelize their thoughts. The most interesting thing about thinking is that we cannot stop it. Therefore, different kinds of thoughts come into our minds. Some thoughts are so much embarrassing that we even try to hide it from ourselves let alone the society. Whence human realizes about his weaknesses, but it is not something to be ashamed of; because when we embrace it, then we would be able to transform it into strength or at least it would be diminished.
The intellectuals fall into the third category. They are trying utmost to channelize their thoughts. They are ahead of their peers due to their imaginations. Therefore, they face resistance from their contemporaries. However, when a thought is processed and reprocessed, then it turned into a belief (ideology). Ultimately it will manifest itself into an action or actions without caring for the consequences.
The Pashtun intelligentsia is developing for the first time with an unprecedented pace. They are now playing their role in formulation of public opinion. They are united on the issue of Pashtuns rights. They want to have equal say in the affairs of the state pertaining to the domestic, foreign and overall security issues. They are also vying to get their due right on their resources. They want to educate their coming generations in their mother tongue. However, they are divided on the core issue of achieving these objectives. One school of thought advocates, taking divorce from the parliamentary politics and start educating our nation so that they are able to get their fundamental rights. They are giving the example of Dr.Said Alam Mehsud in support of their argument. Moreover, some people from the same group argue that we should start agitation. There is no other way for Pashtuns. I’m naming them ‘sons of Liberty’ (Azad Zalmi) for my convenience. They have a firm belief that the existing political leadership is incapable of leading Pashtuns. Furthermore, the leadership cannot get the rights of Pashtun through any kind of voting system in Pakistan.
It is countered by the ‘other group’, which I name for my own convenience as ‘partisans’ (Forum Zalmi). They argue that Azad Zalmi are emotional; therefore they sometimes start talking about the independence of Pashtuns. They forget about the simple fact that the one division of subcontinent has caused us unending miseries, yet they are demanding another partition. The independent Pashtun land will be a landlocked country with hostile coastline neighbor state. Moreover, they are in a hurry, but changes don’t come over night. It takes time. It doesn’t imply that we should become complacent. However, we should not divert the nation from its path of parliamentary politics. The idea that we should educate our youth without parliamentary politics is absurd. Dr. Said Alam Mehsud who is the founder of the apolitical organization PUT (Pashtunkhwa Ulusi Tehreek) is sometimes quoted as an astounding organization, which is fighting for the rights of Pashtuns. Indeed his work on CPEC is commendable. But the issue came to the national and international front through the parliamentary leaders. Furthermore, Dr. Syed Alam Mehsud himself has been the product of these parliamentary parties. Therefore, it is the sole way ahead that we continue our struggle through political forums.
Forum Zalmi on the contrary advocate to be the part of the system and to change it from within. They believe in the existing leadership of Pashtuns. They are either the active members of PkMAP, ANP etc or just social media celebrities. They are now optimistic about the future of Pashtuns after the promulgation of 18th amendment, and they have high hopes in the continuity of democratic setup.
Azad Zalmi are pretty much straightforward in their response. They say that it has been more than 70 years of struggle and yet we have achieved so far ‘a name’ and to an extent provincial autonomy on papers. Therefore, for resources we have to wait for another 70 years and for language another 70 and it is also a possibility that it might not happen at all. Furthermore, they say that they are confused. They are confused whether we want a secular state or theocratic one (without Mullah as its head). They have to appease their voters, which also includes the regressive elements. But if the Forum Zalmi left the parliamentary politics then they would be able to present a unified stance rather than attaching itself to the appeasement politics.
The brutal killing of Mashal Khan and Abdul Ghafoor Firouz for alleged apostasy has sparked the whole debate again. The Azad Zalmi is giving these unfortunate incidents as a testament for their arguments. I cannot doubt their devotion to our nation. Both want to see Pashtuns to be progressive and on the path of development. But as I have mentioned earlier that all human minds are capable of thinking, therefore both groups are presenting arguments and counter-arguments.
It is a common phenomenon that mind is most of the times ahead of the times. We think of future possibilities through analyzing the existing physical world and also using the power of imagination. Therefore, I am also entitled to add my thoughts as well.
Azad Zalmi have cogently argued about the appeasement policies of the mainstream parties. They sometimes seem dithering to present clear and vivid stance. The conservative lot is acquiesced for the sole purpose of electoral victory. The Mashal case is a clear example of it. Similarly, the secular or the theocratic state is also an issue on which the forum Zalmi have diverging and even extreme opinions. Consequently, it creates confusion in the party cadres and workers alike. Henceforth, it should be addressed through enunciating clear cut policy framework by the mainstream political parties.
Moreover, Azad Zalmi have to work out a plan of action for what they believe is right course for action. Mere criticism will not be of use to the cause of Pashtuns. They have to come out of cyber world and do something concrete on ground, so that they become model for the Forum Zalmi.
By Noman Wazir
The writer is a socio-political analyst from FATA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org