Tell it like it is: Historians Call for Rewriting Pakistan’s History

KAJKPESHAWAR: Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan, popularly known as Dr Khan Sahib, was assassinated in 1958 when he was serving the West Pakistan’s government as its first chief minister.

However, he has not been declared a “state martyr”.

“The historians in Pakistan must research this issue,” University of Peshawar Vice Chancellor Dr Rasul Jan said.

He was speaking at an event of Alumni Association Department of History University of Peshawar held at the varsity on Thursday.

Jan said the government declared Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, a martyr when he was assassinated.

“However, Dr Khan was not declared a martyr,” he said.

While shedding light on other issues the historians can research, he gave an example of his own family. He said it had been forced to migrate three times in history.

“I belong to Swat and my family has migrated thrice from its hometown,” Jan said. “Historians must research why Pukhtuns are always compelled to migrate while others are not.”

He said all 26 universities in K-P – with the exception of UoP – do not have a department dedicated to researching and teaching history.

“There should be more departments to promote interest in the subject,” Jan said.

He added universities should create job opportunities for historians and researchers in the field.

“Pukhtuns have a rich culture and history,” Jan said. “But our historians have not paid it the attention it deserves.”

He said the university will finance the project to chronicle the history of UoP – a project initiated by the alumni association.

At the event, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women’s University Vice Chancellor Dr Razia Sultana announced a history department has been opened in her university and said classes had started in the department.

“K-P has been heavily affected by militancy for decades,” she said. “This has destroyed its culture, and it is upon the historians to research this issue.”

While commenting on the number of female teachers in the province, Razia Sultana said even though a large number of women have been enrolled in the department, there is a shortage of women lecturers in the region.

Asfandyar Durrani, the president of Alumni Association Department of History University of Peshawar, said there is a lack of history departments in all universities in K-P except for UoP. “However, this problem is not limited to universities but extends to colleges as well,” he added.

A resolution was also passed by the participants where they condemned the removal of Dr Waqar Ali Shah from the chair of National Institute for Historical and Cultural Research over his statement of rewriting Pakistan’s history. –First Published in The Express Tribune, on December 18th,  2015.


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