The Heated Politics of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Hazara

Posted on April 14, 2010
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Politics
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Owais Mughal

It has taken me few days to write on the topic because I wanted the noise and chatter to settle down a bit. While we have a war like situation in the newly named Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, it was interesting to see how all political parties came together for and against renaming of the province and ended up creating a new war zone within a war zone. The parties for it got it all settled within 2 weeks and those against it are still battling it out on the streets of Hazara Divsion.

Renaming of old NWFP has been at fore and back of ANP politics since atleast 1980s but the speed with which it got passed this time baffled even its supporters. My opinion on this issue is ‘fine!’ If the majority of people want this name for the province then why not? However, what is happening in Hazara for the past two weeks has been more a muted reaction. Just yesterday several people lost their lives.

What I have not completely understood yet and I am sure our readers will have a lot to say about it in comments below is why renaming a province has been such a polarizing issue in Hazara? May be my views are very simplistic but naam mein kia rakha hai yaar? Naming a province to one ethnicity or group doesn’t give or take anybody any extra rights. I however still think that a decision like this should’ve been taken by referendum where majority of people could have voted on the issue rather than few people deciding on it.

Another dimension of last few days’ events, and it appears quite obvious is that PML(Q) seems to be exploiting the situation in the area which has been the vote bank of PML(N) in the past.

Looks like what started with just renaming of the province may actually end up creating a separate province – Which by the way, may not be a bad idea either. At ATP we’ve discussed the idea of creating more provinces in Pakistan few times. See here and here. Yesterday PML(N)’s Javed Hashmi gave a very strong statement in favour of a separate province of Hazara region. Today PML(Q)’s Chaudhry Shujat has also called for a separate Hazara province.

Urdu newspaper Jang reported that in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s assembly two resolutions have been submitted – by two ANP members – to carve out Hazara province. So this appears to be another dimension of the conflict. The news cutting is to the right.

While the streets of Mansehra-Abbotabad simmer with burning tyres the usual blame game is also going on in full swing. So much so that it appears to be a league tournament – where everybody takes on everybody else. I’ve seen on-record news items where PTI has blamed ANP, PML(N) has blamed PML(Q). PML(Q) has blamed PML(N), local PPP guys have blamed ANP and ANP has blamed every body mentioned above for creating the chaos in Hazara.

This is time to rise above petty politics, because I think all parties want good in the end – It is just their inflated egos which they can’t seem to overcome. The name Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is fine. Congratulations to all those who wanted it. Those who want separate province called Hazara, I hope they lobby and arrange for public referendum on the issue and measure their support by ballot and not by burning public property.

I was especially saddened to see an Edhi ambulance burnt by the mob protesting for Hazara rights two days ago. Photos of this burning Edhi ambulance were published in news media all over – see our title photo above which captured this sad moment. Which cause teaches anybody to burn an ambulance? It is a shame. An excerpt from Dawn news of April 12 goes like this:

The protesters blocked roads, pelted police with stones, torched two police vehicles and an ambulance of Edhi Foundation, smashed billboards and also set a police station on fire.

On the ground – just by renaming the province, nothing changes in terms of rights of people, creating more jobs, better sanitation, more electricity, more schooling etc – Those issues still remian where they were before North West Frontier province was renamed as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

41 responses to “The Heated Politics of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Hazara”

  1. amin the abasin says:

    as an afghan-american Congrats to all the khyberi- pashtuns and to the ANP or whoever was responsible for the renaming of NWFP. Im very happy and excited for the province and its people. Alot of people dont know what the benefits of an identity is, now these ppl know who they are and what they are striving for. The pashtuns are more than 80% of the province and therefore they should have the final say in the province and they have spoken. For those who say that the minority are against the renaming, this issue of renaming of the province is nothing new, they haven been trying to rename the province for more than 109 years, it was a historical mistake but know corrected give them their due credit.

    again congrats to the province!

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