Political autonomy is the first pre-requisite for the progress and development of a nation. If we trace back the reasons for the underdevelopment of a nation all of them converge to one root cause and that is – the lack of political autonomy.
All imperialist, exploitative, dictatorial, authoritarian and fascist governments convince and even compel the masses to help themselves in health, security , education and other basic human rights which are in fact the primary responsibilities of every government. On the contrary they leave no stone unturned to continue their never ending thirst for loot and plunder of the national resources.
In third world countries even religious beliefs like determinism are used to pacify and convince the masses to content themselves to their existing resources and avoid raising voice for their rights and share in the resources of the country.
The main technique used by authoritarian governments to deprive masses from their legitimate rights and divert their attention from the real issues to virtual issues is the good old principle of “divide and rule”. This technique is used in the following forms:
1) Encouraging religious clashes and sectarianism.
2) Using state controlled electronic and print media and ads-dependent private media for false propaganda.
3) Using state sponsored terrorism to suppress or kill all those voices which are raised against the usurpers.
4) Hijacking, terrorising and even killing the second level and in some cases top leadership of anti-government groups and parties.
5) Engaging the masses by creating confusion and disappointment.
The demands of a disorganized mob have always been helping status quo while an organised and systematic demand based on a vision has been fruitful in history. In case of Pakhtuns, their indifferent attitude towards national problems due to poverty and their victimization by the state have been the main reasons of diverting their attention, diverging their energies, confusion about their goal and diluting their efforts.
Thanks to the media which is projecting the state sponsored drama in the tribal areas by Pak forces and war against terror by US that Pakhtuns are identifying their internal and external enemies viz military establishment , civil bureaucracy , pro-establishment parties and the US.
Private electronic media has contributed a lot to the political consciousness of Pakhtuns so much so that Pakistan government had to close Pashto programs on the national television and shift the segment of Pashto programs to another government channel which is only available via satellite and hence not accessible by the majority of Pakhtun masses.
The detonation of bombs by secret agencies in Pakhtunkhwa to create law and order situation and execution of a well thought plan to make ISI-backed Talibanisation phenomenon synonymous with Pakhtun nationalism is in progress. The target of this effort is to pave the way for the ethnic cleansing of Pakhtuns first in the Pakhtun land and then all over Pakistan specially in Karachi by MQM.
The most they are going to get from the heirs of colonial masters is a name for the current NWFP province and some portfolios for the seasonal, opportunist, firangee loyal, Muslim league type black sheep elements among the Pakhtun nation. Obviously this palliative treatment is not going to solve the problems of Pakhtun nation whose very survival is at stake in Pakistan. Therefore the national interest of Pakhtuns in Pakistan lies in finding an answer to the question of political autonomy.
In my opinion Pakhtuns of Pakistan have three options:
a) To become a part of Afghanistan.
b) To establish a separate Pashtun state.
c) To remain a part of Pakistan but subject to the following conditions:
1. New Name for Pashtun province comprising of NWFP, FATA, PATA, Attock, Mianwali and Pakhtun belt of Baluchistan into a single Pakhtun Province to be called Pakhtunkhwa.
2. Provincial autonomy.
3. Sharing of water along with its net profit and due proportion in the revenue of tobacco.
4. The safeguard of Pashtun cultural and linguistic values.
4. Establishment of new industrial estates in Pakhtun land and stabilization of the old ones like Gadun Amazai, Jamrud and Hattar industrial estates.
5. Change of strategic depth policy by military Establishment to destabilize Afghanistan.
6. Compensation for the loss in Pakhtun land which Pakistani military has incurred in playing its role as an obedient servant to United States.
There are precedents set for all three options in history for example the unification of east and west Germany, founding of Bangladesh and provincial (state) autonomy to states in USA and India .Which option shall we opt for is to be decided by the masses and intelligentsia of Pakhtun nation.