A heart that cries for Kashmir, will cry for Burhan Wani but not for Naqeeb or Mashaal.
If the British drawn borders could be challenged by the Bangladesh, why not the Pashtuns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, and Baluchistan. Pashtuns, when asked in urban cities of Pakistan reply raises eyebrows. So you are from FATA? Baluchistan? KPK? First and foremost where is your Watan card, where is your NIC? Do you hold any documents?
In their own areas they go through dozens of check posts, to go from one town to another. And yet who is the most targeted? There has been an undeclared or we can call it unrecognized genocide that has been in progress since 1947. Pashtun are treated as second class citizens, with little or no dignity. Their cities are packed with check posts and areas are filled with mines, their sons are shot dead in fake police encounters or found in list of missing persons and most of the time their bodies are found in unknown areas. The only reason they highlight, because they are Pashtun and people who rule this country don’t recognize them. They recognize people who are against India who have planned attacks and carried out attacks in India, like Hafiz Saeed, they like people who murder and kill people for their personal gains and propaganda like Osama, Mulla Umar and Mulla Mansoor. Why would they even think of giving ordinary Pashtuns their rights or even let them hold a citizenship like people in Punjab?
Let’s accept the fact apart from Punjab and Punjabis, every other ethnicity is a target, winters of 2011-2012 where Hazara sat with their family member’s dead bodies in coffins people came and promised them their rights and nothing happened, Hazaras are still targeted.
Baloch have been a target since day one, they want independence they want their rights and how are they treated? Their ashes and bones are found in mountains of Kuchlak and Wad.
Pashtuns, People who question establishment propaganda of Jihad against Afghanistan, India and USA. People who seem to threaten their good Taliban ideology or consider themselves progressive and humanists are always a target. Malala Yousafzai, Mashaal Khan and many more, who we don’t even know because their houses were raided at night and they never came back home to tell their story.
Cases like Naqeeb Mehsud are a routine practice. Their home, workplace, investigate and profile them as terrorist, then murder them. When it comes to political and human rights activists and journalists, they are seen as threat. But what we as Afghans should know and stand with solidarity with our Pashtuns, Hazara and Baloch brothers first on humanitarian grounds, second a British recognized border shouldn’t divide us. Long March should be solely supported so that Pashtuns in Pakistan, who are not covered by media or any news outlet (because they are controlled by GHQ), for peace in the region and for peace in their respective areas where they live.
The sit-in should be supported because there are generations behind today’s “Wesh Pashtun (Awakened Pashtun)”. Mothers have sacrificed their sons for Pashtuns to be considered even citizens. Generations have lived their lives as IDPs for peace and stability. Kids have been orphaned in the process. People gave up on their education, properties and livelihood for this day.
The Pashtun long March highlighted a lot about Pashtuns in Pakistan that they have been victims of state sponsored terrorism and their houses are being razed to ground or burned in order to deceive the international community. The long March also highlights the fact, that Pashtun women is empowered now more than ever and she be it a mother, sister, wife, daughter or a Pashtun girl knows, if she didn’t stand for her rights, next generation will go through same slow motion genocide, trauma and discrimination, that she or her family has been through.
The Pashtun Long march will open eyes of Gul Khans, who think Pakistan army is the defender of their rights and that there has never been something like racial profiling or ethnic cleansing.
Bacha Khan would have been proud today, to see his Zalmiyan awake and his vision become a reality. I would highlight the fact as reality because today in this long march we see women, children, men and they know who their real enemy is.
This march is about to seek an end to Watan card, racial profiling, missing persons, racial discrimination and freedom for their children attacked at schools, universities or at work. Pashtuns are done with burying kids, leaving houses and being murdered for a crime that they didn’t commit. They are done with good Taliban. They have been used as a pawn in war on terror game. As every time, good Taliban attack Afghanistan, they are attack to pose as victim of war in front of international community.
For Afghanistan and Afghans first on humanitarian grounds, we should support this march for many reasons, no borders should divide us, and we all have been victims of war, racial profiling, discrimination, extremism, terrorism and targeted as Afghan refugees. This march is beacon of hope, peace, equality freedom and justice, not only for Pashtuns in Pakistan, but the whole region as well. End to extremism, fundamentalism and of course an end to offices of good Taliban.
Let’s hope this time this long March is not forgotten like martyrs of Babrra, lawyers of Quetta and children of APS. Let’s hope this time Pashtuns don’t sacrifice their children in fake encounters or at the hands of fake suicide attacks. Let’s hope Pashtuns sons are not lynched because they were humanists, let’s hope Pashtuns return their home, let’s hope they live a normal life.
By Pashtana Durrani: The writer is a civil society activist, educator and writer, active in southern Kandahar province.