Opinion

Why Pashtun Qaumi Jirga?

By; Sher Zada

The peace deal between the United States and Taliban was signed on February 29, 2020 in Doha Qatar. That conveyed a message of excitement and happiness across the world, several events were held in the Afghan capital Kabul as well as people took into the main towns and in the streets in almost all the provinces to celebrate the peace deal. Alms and sweets were distributed and animals were slaughtered on this occasion. Indeed this was the moment that Afghans had been waiting since 1996, where once Taliban took control of Kabul and established its government. Although Afghans have a long  history of sorrows and hardships that have strengthened their resilience to forget about one tragic after the other, which had not only suffered Afghan people inside Afghanistan but also brought clouds of disturbance ,insurgency and terrorism  to the adjacent tribal belt of Pakistan. Since 1992 Taliban drive to overthrow the civilian government in Kabul the tribal belt of Pakistan spurred  with military mindsets ,where children were taught how to fight instead how to learn and go to formal schools. While some political elements sitting in Islamabad or in Peshawar were behind the promotion of pro-Taliban agenda that further provided a war projectile in the erstwhile federally administrated tribal areas (FATA) of Pakistan ,no matter it was aimed due to the strategic importance of the area or  somehow the matter of sovereignty of Pakistan. When U.S along her allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the clergies of destabilization mongered their war propaganda so fast that worked well in molding the frustrated youth to join the lines of extremists. That brought heavy damage to the state’s built infrastructures, bloodshed and abduction of officials and civilians till 2006.  Looking to this trembling scenario on November 21, 2006 Awami National Party (ANP) called a summit “Pashtun Peace Jirga ” in Peshawar to discuss the issue and find a possible way out to bring peace and stability in the tribal areas of Pakistan. This was the first kind of Pashtun Jirga in the history of ANP that pashtoon  leadership of all political parties was invited to its provincial headquarter  the Bacha Khan Markaz located in Peshawar. Siraj –ul-Haq the current Amir of Jammiat-e- Islami (JI) spoke the summit and criticized the military for its suspicious rule that goes against the will of the masses. Maulana Fazal-Urrehman offered him as mediator between the Taliban and the Afghan government, he also criticized the Pakistan Army and nullified the existed Durane Line as a fake border and stormed it a violation of Gandamak Agreement that was signed between the British and the Afghan governments 115 years ago. The ANP president Asfand Yar Wali urged that progressive nationalist and religious parties should work together for peace and stability in the region. Mehmud Khan Achakzai president of Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) demanded pullout of all foreign troops from Afghanistan as well as the uninvited guests in the tribal areas in Pakistan, he vowed that Pashtun should be given rights of their resources. More interestingly Imran Khan the current prime minister of Pakistan was also part of the 2006 PPJ, Mr. Khan held Pakistan Army responsible for destabilizing the normative peace structure in the tribal belt. However after fourteen years once again the Pashtun leadership felt the importance of raising the Pashtun cause.  Continuing its tradition ANP hosted this honor for the second time to organize “Pashtun Qaumi Jirga or PQJ” on March 10, 2020 in its provincial headquarter Bacha Khan Markaz. This time with a new spirit, that focused more on the rights of self-determination and resources for Pashtun in their land that they have been deprived for decades. The PQJ presented 21 points. That includes respect to the recent peace pact and sovereignty of Afghanistan, restricting insurgents from regrouping on Pashtun soil, rehabilitation of displaced peoples, raising issue of missing persons, removal of landmines, political and legal reforms in the newly merged tribal districts, share in NFC award in accordance to 18th amendment bill, royalty share of electricity production, natural resources and mineral act 2019,correction in national statistics ,issue of blocked CNICs, reforms in education and syllabus, discouraging negative portrayal of Pashtun in media, establishment of truth reconciliation commission, reinstatement  and reconstruction of trade routes, equal expansion of CPEC to Pashtun areas, Agricultural revival in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, withdrawal of  Actions in aid of civil power Ordinance, 2019 and reinstating the constituent statuses of Shirani and Harnai districts in Baluchistan. The question arises that why the Pashtun leadership in Pakistan is so keen about the future after the recent peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S? There are a no of reasons behind the exponential worries in Pashtun political arrays. First Pashtun leadership has been realized that since the figurative war has been ended in Afghanistan so far, it means that no one will be back in their region for developing infrastructures or funding projects aimed at development .Second the ongoing war has damaged the social and political fabrics amongst Pashtun to unbearable conditions that increased the public mistrust in their political leadership. Third since the approval of 18th amendments bill the provinces have got autonomy, so the expenses and burden fall in account of the provincial government, therefore looking to the challenging subject matters of maintaining peace and stability can drop the performance graph that ultimately cause increase in security expenditure such as police and paramilitary, law and order situations that constraint development program in the province. Fourth the retaliation that has been observed in the recent years in the form of resistive movement such as Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) could lead to further uncertainty in the Pashtun populated areas. Finally the leadership has realized that living in global era Pashtun are still pushed backward in terms of poor education, poor health, and poor economy and more importantly to vulnerable peace and stability. Because peace certainty is directly related to development, development and peace always go on in reciprocal relationship.

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