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Pashtuns also have a dream

From steps of Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in Aug 1963, Martin Luther king Jr. made a historical speech in front of 250000 people which is still being remembered under the title “I have a dream”. When prompted by Mahalia Jackson’s cry; “tell them about the dream, Martin!” he presented his dream of liberty and equality in these words;

“I say to you today, my friends, that despite the difficulties and frustrations of moment I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise and live out the true meaning of its creed. “We hold this truth to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaves-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

Like American Negroes which suffered the bolt of segregation for centuries, Pakistani Pashtun’s community had also suffered ethnic profiling since partition. Like Martin Luther king Jr. which raised his voice from Lincoln Memorial, various Pashtun icons during Pashtun long march at Islamabad chanted for a single and same vision of equity. The same dream of not being treated as a second-class citizen was seen by legendry Pashtun activists, which today is becoming true.  In 18th century Europe where “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” once echoed the streets of France during French revolution is now a symphony in Pashtun areas the country. Like French of that century, Pashtuns, nowadays, get up every morning with the same anthem of liberty. After being exploited through different structures for different causes, they now realized that it’s the time to stand for perusing their own cause. They no longer want to be a part of hollow slogans like “Naya Pakistan, Tabeeli Agye Hain etc.” They know that no one is their sympathizer and they alone are the maker and designer of their own destiny.

Jeremy Bentham, a political philosopher gave the conception of Panopticons. Panopticons represented special structures which were used for surveillance system. The main theme was to install fear in subject and made them accept that they are been watched.  Near Bentham, the injected fear keeps subjects align to the settled political spectra. No one moves against the system and no dare to speak against the imposed ways. Various systems practically manifested this concept to drive their subjects accordingly. In our case, establishment designed policies like strategic depth and imposed war in tribal belt so to get war based extractive economy and deepen their cross-border influence.  The region was deliberately kept underdeveloped so to fulfill their interests. They never let the subjects to be aware so to know that what were going on with them?   Instead they kept them in dark and made them say what they want them to say. Those that resisted those policies were either killed or were declared as traitors. The new wave under Pashtun long march showed that the installed fear is being formatted and all those tragedies which were deep inside the layers of heart are now on tips of many lips. Pashtun realized that death is better than an enforced silence.

Regarding the urgency of his moment Martin Luther King Jr. said; “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” For Pashtuns it is also Now or Never. Now is the time for them to unite under a single banner and show spirit of brotherhood. Now is the time for them to realize that they are smarter being united than divided.

About the moment towards justice, Martin said; “Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the negro is granted its citizenship rights.”  In our case too, the whirlwind of revolt will continue to shake the foundation of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.    

By Safdar Wazir, MA Political Science Government College University Lahore.

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