Tribal Affiliation - Source of leadership in Afghans
With increasing state antagonism against Pashtuns in Pakistan and increasing international challenges for their future in Afghanistan, it is suggested that Afghans should reinstate their tribal leadership institution to get the right people with leadership skills to lead the whole nation in future.
We observe that when the process of selection/election of Afghan leadership was given due respect and meritocracy was considered as a benchmark for the emergence of Afghan leadership then leaders like Ahmed Shah baba emerged out of that process. On the contrary the same empire founded by Ahmed Shah Baba demised when the process was either neglected or bypassed and a hereditary process was adopted to run the Afghan affairs.
In my opinion Afghans / Pashtuns should revive their tribal structure considering the progress in human socio-political institutions to evolve a beautiful amalgam of the rich Afghan tradition and modern norms so that they stand out as a distinguished nation in the fraternity of nations.
The following is a sketch for how the idea, if found reasonable, feasible and useful by Pashtuns, could be realized:
1) Each tribe should elect/select their chief or leader. The chief should be physically and mentally fit, person with integrity and character, aware about Pashtun history, vocal , strong communicator, orator , wise , mature , charismatic, creative, person of letters, social , extrovert, tolerant towards various faiths , politically opinionated about the helm of Pashtun affairs in socio-politico-economic spheres, friendly, sympathetic and responsive towards the collective concerns of his tribe, insightful, visionary and a person ready to accept and handle challenges.
2) The election procedure could involve election at district level, for example, and then at a higher level to take care of all areas which has a majority population of that tribe. For example the chief of Khattak tribe could be elected from Karak, Lachi, Kohat and Nokhar districts in second round of election due to majority Khattak population once the first round of election in each of these districts has taken place.
3) The physical presence of the candidates in their respective mainland should be obligatory unless his presence abroad does not stop the Chief from completing the duties assigned to him.
4) The election / selection of the Tribal Chief should take place in a ceremony for every tribe this ceremony should be included in the Pashtun customs formally. The Tribal Chief himself or his appointee could take part in the election within both current Afghanistan and Pakistan. However the Chief of all tribal chief who should be considered a defacto leader of the afghan nation should not participate in the election process in Pakistan to remain acceptable to all. However the defacto power he would have in the form of confidence of all tribal chiefs should be considered more precious.
5) A Jirga of non-candidate males and females, who are wise, competent, and credible, could modify the list of pre requisites for the Chief if required with a consensus and announce the tribal chief.
6) Once the tribal chiefs are elected /selected then there should be an election/selection for the leader of all those Afghan tribes together and this institution would serve as a nursery for the tribal as well as Pashtun national leadership in future keeping the national traditions of Pakhtu and Pakhtunwali alive among all the Afghans.
The revival ,organization and strengthening of this leadership institution would ensure that Pashtuns would never become an orphan nation which could be politically manipulated, economically exploited and socially humiliated due to absence of someone who could raise a voice for their rights.