Pashtun - Mahajir Peace Alliance in Karachi

Pashtun - Mahajir Peace Alliance in Karachi

The Karachi issue is a deep wound in the body politic of Pakistan and if not healed might become a cancer. This issue has the potential of becoming a cause for the ultimate demise of Pakistan which is already on the verge of collapse. The Karachi issue has political dimension which is ethnic in nature too in addition to being fundamentally a politico-economic issue.

It is proposed therefore that the Mahajir and Pashtun communities should get into an alliance both at political as well as socio-economic levels for the restoration of perpetual peace and progress in Karachi. Following are the points which might ring the bells in the minds of those who are the decision makers in both the communities and their representative political parties.

1. The intelligentsia of both these ethnicities and their representative parties should realize that in the bigger picture both the ethnicities in their separate capacities have no or less importance by virtue of belonging to a third world country and a nearly failed state so their alliance is what is in the interest of both.

2. Both the ethnicities have already left their original abodes for a better life with no or rare intention to return back. Whether Karachi becomes a separate city state or continues to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, neither could the five million Pashtuns go back to Pakhtunkhwa due to lack of opportunities nor could the ten million Mahajirs afford to go back to India which they have left for good due to the political situation prevalent at that time.

3. The only thing which both the communities can do is to share a mutual economic interest for a better life by exploiting each other’s potential.

4. Both can get close to each other by having joint business ventures in areas of their strength.

5. On the political level, Pakhtuns as well as Mahajirs have been victims of anti popular policies of Pakistani establishment in the name of operations both in Karachi as well as in Pakhtunkhwa.

6. Both the parties have been fighting for their rights for a reasonably long time and have points of intersections in their struggle like provincial autonomy, anti-Kalabagh struggle, anti- terrorism stance, belief in the segregation of state and religion etc.

7. Both have been flaying extremism and have been victims of Taliban contrary to military establishment’s policy of demonizing Taliban in Pakistan but helping their anti state and terrorist activities in Afghanistan.

8. Both started their struggle for their communities and are slowly entering Pakistani national level politics for which a basic pre requisite is to recognize and show tolerance towards other ethnic communities, cultures, languages and groups living in Pakistan.

9. Both ethnicities and their respective political parties can achieve their political goals in the national politics by binding themselves in an alliance to become a power to reckon with in national politics.

10. The hegemony of civil and military elite of Pakistani state majority of which belongs to Punjab makes it compulsory for both the ethnicities and their representative political parties to enter into the proposed alliance.

11. The dangerous and extremist thoughts and ideologies supported and propagated by the Pakistani state will also ultimately compel both these communities to think for their much required alliance.

12. Pashtuns are followers of towering historical personalities like Bacha Khan and Samad Khan Achakzai while the Mahajirs belong to the land of father of non violence - Gandhi and champion of constitutional struggle – M.A.Jinnah. All of these political leaders believed in peaceful and constitutional struggle instead of violence.

The violence in Karachi is not in the interest of anyone. The innocent and the poor from both the sides are used for the interest of others and that too by the conscious decisions of their leaders but the real executor and benefiter is behind the veil and gets direct benefit from the mutual antagonism between these two communities and their representative parties.

Tribal Affiliation - Source of leadership in Afghans

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.

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