An incomplete Afghan Nationalism

Rijaal Khan

An incomplete Afghan Nationalism

This is the question which my friends usually asked that what I meant from an incomplete Afghan nationalism? During our random discussions they were never convinced that Pakhtun and Afghan are and have been the same people throughout the ages. The new generation cannot be blamed of total ignorance in this regard.

pukhtunIn Pakistan are called Pakhtuns and Pukhtuns of Afghanistan are called Afghans because they belong to two different countries as the line called Durand line divides them since 1893 i.e. for the last one hundred and twenty years and were strangers for each other. In Pakistan too Pakhtuns are being kept divided on their own soil in a number of different sections all opposed to one another when their interest s are involved.


We can say that in Pakistan the nationalism of Punjabis and Sindhis and Balochis is complete because at the least in Pakistan they remain as one entity and their identity remains intact. This argument by some people does carry weight that almost all or a number of people are divided against themselves and that there is no escape from such a division in the complex web of boundaries. But at the same time this argument is also valid that such divided people have no future and they are destined to remain subservient to the dominant people in a country.

columns3For as long as people of the same race and language and culture are kept divided, the future of the world will be unsafe because of such un-natural irritants. For example Afghanistan was divided through the notorious Durand Line because Afghanistan was a weak state as it always has been and the British, a world power of the time had had the clout to force the King of Afghanistan Amir Abdur Rehman to accept that unacceptable situation .Now let us suppose for a moment that the law of “ might is right” is allowed to prevail in today’s world affairs. Will this not result in total barbarity? Will this not destroy the entire civilization so far gained by humanity with so much an effort? And it is therefore said that anything achieved through sheer force is unlawful.

pukhtun 4  pukhtun 6Pakistan was created in the name of religion. The founding leaders at that time resorted to sentimental slogans and they succeeded in carving out a separate state of Pakistan. Even without religious slogans Pakistan or a number of Muslim states were destined to come into being as the Hindu majority was insisting on keeping its numerical superiority. In order to escape from that oppression the Muslims of the sub-continent established Pakistan forgetting for the time being that they belonged to different nationalities.

But after that sentimental period was over,Pakistan could not make an agreed constitution for eight long years just to liquidate the majority of the then East Pakistan. And when the constitution of 1956 was imposed and enforced reluctantly it only survived for less than two years until the Martial Law of Ayub Khan in 1958.

Pakistani General surrenders the Indian army .

Pakistani General surrenders the Indian army .

The Muslim nationalism on the basis of which Pakistan was founded burst when East Pakistan was converted into a sovereign and independent “ Bangla Desh.” The creation of Bangla Desh only proved that religion did not have the capacity to make different people as one whole. The fact is that religion has also failed beyond Sub-continent in assembling different people into one State. We need not to go far. Since Pakistan was separated, the rest of Pakistan which was called “ new Pakistan” is under the oppressive majority of the Punjab.
Everything i.e policy making and its implementation belong to Punjab. The entire army belongs to Punjab. Most of the generals including lower ranking officers belong to Punjab. Federal Bureaucracy belongs to Punjab. All the corporations are run by Punjabi manpower. Their word is law although obviously there is parliament: the National Assembly and the Senate. So far the prejudices existing between the different nationalities which separate them from each other have not been reduced simply because they cannot be reduced through the therapy of religion.

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Sub-continent and in fact the entire South Asia and the Central Asia is a backward region in many fields and they are not yet in position to satisfy the different nationalities in different states. Had Pakistan not announced prematurely that Urdu will be the official language of Pakistan, the separation of East from the West Pakistan could have been delayed?

In the region of SEA and CA,Pakhtuns happen to be the weakest people as they are not only divided several times in Pakistan but they are also away from the centre of gravity i.e. Afghanistan.

Pakhtuns in Pakistan and Afghans in Afghanistan who remained aliens and strangers for each other for more than a century were made to know each other and come closer to each other after the sour revolution of 1978 in Afghanistan when the foreign agencies instigated Afghans to leave their country as a protest against the revolution.

As a result more than three million Afghans left their country to settle in camps in Pakhtunkhwa and in different villages of the province. What happened is that they found no hurdle in merging with the people of Pukhtunkhwa as they were the same people speaking the same language and having the same cultural basics.

pukhtun 3When in 1947 refugees migrated from East Punjab to West Punjab, they found no hurdles in merging with local people and now most of the refugees control Pakistan. And the Urdu speaking refugees who migrated from other Indian provinces to Sindh found it difficult to merge with original Sindhis. Now those refugees who had migrated under fit of sentiments to Sindh are demanding a separate state for themselves and have become a source of continuing trouble for Pakistan.


The point to make is that Pakhtuns are willfully and deliberately kept in separate sections in Pakistan  during the last several decades. Because they are weak and divided,they are being beaten. It was not at all essential to dislocate millions of Pakhtuns from their homes, to place them in refugee camps on their own soil and turn them into beggars and make them run after a pack of milk or a kilo of flour.

Chief minister of Punjab shahbaz sharif tells to the Taliban not to do any insurgency in Punjab but in other provinces.

Chief minister of Punjab shahbaz sharif tells to the Taliban not to do any insurgency in Punjab but in other provinces.



Punjabi Taliban leader

Punjabi Taliban leader

Terrorists are also found in South Punjab but they are not touched neither people are dislocated from their homes. Rangers are fighting against terrorists of MQM and other criminals in Karachi but they would not find it easy to force people of the city to vacate their houses. But on the contrary entire Bazars with all their material have been razed to the ground in FATA to such an extent if there existed no human beings.

Pakhtuns in Pakistan are divided,weak, they lack an agreed leadership because such people can produce no unified leadership. Besides, they are the weakest people in the entire region of different countries and nationalities. Their division makes them too much vulnerable. For as long as they remain in this incomplete form in Pakistan,they are not expected to present any impressive front and for as long as they remain apart from Afghanistan on international stage they may be negating each other.

For example in the war against terrorism the establishment of Pakistan successfully brought Pakhtuns against Pakhtuns and they killed each other, one for Pakistan and another for anti-Pakistan forces. When the division of Pukthuns is in the interest of Punab , they are keeping the Pukhtuns divided. But in case of Punjab division they are against of it.

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Pakhtuns/Afghan people are in need of great,bold and courageous leadership to create awareness in them about their identity.  Amir Hamza Marwat says that Pakhtuns in Pakistan are under the occupation of Punjab, their occupation is strong and they cannot be free from this unless a third force comes to their relief.

With the passage of time the awareness is growing and no doubt Pakhtuns around the world are coming close to each other. 

Writer :
Rijaal Khan
Peshawar , Khyber Pukhtunkhwa


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