How to Cite
Pakhtun Identity versus Militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA: Exploring the Gap between Culture of Peace and ilitancy
The Pakhtun culture had been flourishing between 484 - 425 BC, in the era of Herodotus and Alexander the Great. Herodotus, the Greek historian, for the first time, used the word Pactyans, for people who were living in parts of Persian Satrapy, Arachosia between 1000 - 1 BC. The hymns’ collection from an ancient Indian Sanskrit Ved used the word Pakthas for a tribe, who were inhabitants of eastern parts of Afghanistan. Presently, the terms Afghan and Pakhtun were synonyms till the Durand Line divided Afghanistan and Pakhtuns living in Pakistan. For these people the code of conduct remained Pakhtunwali; it is the pre-Islamic way of life and honour code based upon peace and tranquillity. It presents an ethnic self-portrait which defines the Pakhtuns as an ethnic group having not only a distinct culture, history and language but also a behaviour.
Pakhtuns are trusted to act honourably, therefore Pakhtunwali qualifies as honour code “Doing Pashto” that signifies their deep love for the societal solidarity. Wrong doings are effectively checked through their inner voices, “Am I not a Pakhtun?” In addition, the cultural platforms have been used for highlighting social evils and creating harmony in the society. However these platforms have been reoriented after the advent of militancy in the nerves of the society. The Afghan war of 1980 and incident of 9/11 have eroded the code of conduct, sense of belonging and cultural bondage of Pakhtuns. With this militarization and radicalization of the society, code of conduct, local customs, council of elders, music, festivals, recitals of poetry including singing of popular Tapa and Charbita as folk songs have been eliminated altogether from the memory and other practices of Pakhtuns.
Pakhtuns, live in South East parts of Afghanistan and North West parts of Pakistan, are making the larger society in the globe and as such identifies as Larr, lower, and Barr, upper, Pakhtuns of Pakistan and Afghanistan respectively. The Barr, Pakhtuns are 42 per cent of population as the largest single ethnic identity of Afghanistan and the Larr, Pakhtuns are 15 per cent of population as the second largest identity of Pakistan. (Hilali, 2001) In 1893, Mortimer Durand, the then British Indian Foreign Secretary, drew Durand Line; the border to divide them into two, Larr and Barr Pakhtuns to safeguard the interests of Britain. (Banerjee, 2000) However, in Pakistan they are called as Pakhtuns of KP, FATA and Baluchistan. (Rashid, 1999)
After 9/11, the US overthrew the Taliban government in Afghanistan, due to which most of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda fled to KP and FATA; these areas got colossal prominence worldwide. Ferocious terrorist’s attacks in these areas are the illustration of narrow minded philosophy obtruded upon general population in disguise to aggrandize Islam. (Mir, 2001) The religious militancy, political instability, destruction of educational institutions, non-availability of health facilities, continued military operations and living as TDPs reorient Pakhtuns’ identification as criminals who live without any code of conduct. (Torwali, 2014) The strategic and political appetites of regional powers further endanger the prospects of peace and complicate the situation to any extent in the region. (Amin, 2013) This paper aims to explore reasons as to how extreme religion views have taken over the socio-cultural aspects in Pakhtun region and to revisit the lost cultural heritage for restoring the everlasting bondage of fraternity in the society.
Socio-Cultural Patrimony and Heritage
Pakhtun’s territory is prosperous in natural beauty, rich in history and affluent in cultural heritage. In the past, Gandhara civilization was so flourished that its message extended worldwide. Many archaeologists and historians accredited Peshawar (Parshapura), Udabandhapura (Hund), Charsadah (Pushkalavati) and Taxila (Takshashila) being the main communication centres, located along the Indus, are true reflections of Gandhara civilization. (Muhammad bin Naveed, 2015) The borders of Gandhara kept change throughout its history; Taxila, Peshawar Valley and lately Swat were constituted to be part of Gandhara. (Majumdar, 1980) The enormous centres of culture and knowledge inveigled the Indian, Persian and Greek culture and art hence contrived and cultivated the very foundation of Gandhara art. Non-violence (Ahimsa), friendship, Love and fraternity prevailed to be the elemental ideals.
Due to continuous attacks by Sassanians, Kushana rule had declined and then white Huns were thrown out their areas, therefore the Gandharan art residuum dawdled on. However, the ceremonious and grandiose centres of Gandhara art were relinquished in eighth century. Out of these arts, hundreds of archaeological sections including Stupas and Monasteries can be spotted staggering in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Cribb, 1985) On the other hand, Pakhtuns don’t have their written history but hungry stones of existence thousands of ruins could tell such stories of the past to those who are taking care for listening.
Same way there are a number of Hindu and Sikh temples and Sufi shrines, mosques and other historic places tell tales of peaceful and harmonious co-existence. This environment kept prevailing and has never been crept in to be instigated for reprisal and retribution of conflict or violence among various communities living in KP and FATA. (T Ahmad, 2000) Pakhtuns have rich folklores in dances, music and poetry with well netted inbuilt tradition of attan; a traditional dance that is performed with energy, thrill, charm and vigour. The poetry has been used to give message of adornment and beautification of life; Hamza Shinwari, Rahman Baba, Ghani Khan and Khushal Khan Khattak, advocated the messages of openness, peace and humanity. (Buneri, 2013)
Pakhtun’s sense of belonging to the land provides a conducive environment, to create artistic exhibitions and expressions. The marriage ceremonies and other happy occasions are celebrated through the invitation, on feasts followed by trouping, singing and dancing. Local Pashto folk songs are having the strong bondage of Pakhtun’s unfulfilled desires, financial hardship and aesthetic sensibilities. The folk songs remind the history and hence play pivotal role in founding of Pakhtun’s Identity. (Stanley Kurtz, 2007) Tappa and charbita is the oldest and most famous genre of Pashto literature that women have been primarily composing them. These folklores communicate the political, spiritual, psychological, aesthetic and emotional aspects of Pakhtun’s social order.
To maintain peace and resolve conflicts, a council of elders having rural wisdom and experience is constituted and assembled, the council is called Jirga. It is a constitutional institution in which affected parties participate for conflict resolution; in the societal outlook, this is the only and an effective mechanism of conflict resolution. (Ibrahim Shinwari, 2016) However, mostly the interference of political administration and societal radicalization have affected its effectiveness to a great extent. Sometime Jirga, used for vested interests in place of resolution of the disputes, is resulted into disharmony and discontentment through partiality of the decisions. (Sher Khan, 2008) To its long list of traditions, providing shelter to oppressed families is inbuilt in Pakhtun’s hospitality because a Pakhtun can’t go to sleep till he doesn’t presents the food to his guests.
Dynamics of KP and FATA
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)
KP Province comprises of three zones; northern zone, central zone and southern zone, referred to Appendix - I. These areas had witnessed varied civilizations, out of which, the prominent ones were, Hindushahi and Gandhara. The area was a pivot of activities and served as mobile corridor to limitless intruders including Mahmood Ghaznavi, Tamerlain and Alexander the great. (Warriach, 2008) The Province spreads over the areas of 74,521 sq. kms with 22 million of population. It comprises of 26 Districts, of which eighteen are provincial districts and eight are PATA districts in which Pashto and Hindko are languages commonly spoken. (Govt of khyberpakhtunkhwa, 2015)
In 1979, former USSR invaded Afghanistan due to which most of the population living in the neighbouring migrated to Pakistan especially harboured in KP and FATA. The demography of the province altogether changed due to the arrival of over five million Afghan refugees. (Rakisits Claude, 2008) After the exit of Russia from Afghanistan around 3 million Afghan refugees continued to live in Pakistan. The complexity of events in Afghanistan, power vacuum and then Afghan’s insurgency of 1989 and 1992, led to rise of Taliban. Since then Afghan’s Taliban emerges as forbidding and daunting political force in the border areas of Pakistan. Consequently, FATA and KP province became the forward base after 9/11 to fight GWOT. (Nawaz, 2009)
Federally Administrated Tribal Areas
FATA is a region bordering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan in the East and South.... and Nangarhar, Kunar, Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces of Afghanistan in the West and North. FATA comprises of seven agencies; Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Aurakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan - referred to Appendix - I. (Stanley Kurtz, 2007) These tribal agencies are ruled through Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR) as amended on 27 August 2011. FATA spread over 27,220 sq kms with 3.4 million population, which is around 2 percent of Pakistan's population. The areas are solely colonized by Tribal Pakhtuns, who also maintain to live in the some parts of KP province. The major cities of the areas are Khaar, Ghalanai, Bara, Landikotal, Kalaya, Wana, Razmak, Miranshah and Parachinar. (Ayesha, 2008)
The Insightfulness of KP and FATA
KP and FATA are maintaining separate status constitutionally but geographically, both are contiguous and share common values and culture. FATA shares a rugged and porous border of 450 kms with Khost, Nangarhar, Konar and Nooristan provinces of Afghanistan. The Colonial Administrators of British India were struggling to control the areas by; establishing friendly govts, intervention and proxy wars. Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) was enforced in 1901 to replace the British Earlier Generation Law. (Farhat, 2012) When Soviet Forces moved in Afghanistan, FATA, the Wild West, started playing spillway and sluice role by receiving and lodging Mujahidin and then trained and launched them against the Russian Occupation Forces. At the end of cold war, the bipolar world transformed into unipolar in which US became the sole super power. Without any rehabilitation and management, KP and FATA were left with no other hopes except to face the fallouts of the war in Afghanistan. (Abbas, 2007)
In 1947, at the inception of Pakistan, Loya Jirga, the Afghan's parliament, declared Durand Line as invalid that led to continuous border tension. Since then Afghanistan had been buttressing Pakhtunistan’s Secessionist Movement but failed to gain abutment amongst the Pakhtun’s tribes. What an irony that in a few minutes after 9/11 in Afghanistan, the Neo-Cons zeroed its guns at Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda, once again the areas had to face fallouts. (Waziri, 2009) It is strangely notified that none of the perpetrators of 9/11 were from FATA or Afghanistan, yet KP and FATA had received the full punch of US military hard and softwares. These areas were forced to face the terror and shocking effects with vitalities of war. (Kanwal, 2009) Actions and reactions from the coalition forces and militants in Afghanistan and FATA have shaken the very foundation of humanity; hundred thousand people have become jobless, health and educations institutions dismantled, and so much so that most of the population of the area live displaced life. (UNHCR-Pakistan-IDP, 2014)
Tribal society is functioning on its historical old customs and traditions. However, FATA has been accredited with varied nom de plumes and misnomers through its abuses by international, national and regional players. (Ayesha, 2008) Unfortunately, the instantaneous and multidirectional pandemonium and tumult resulted in rupturing the civil society, religious harmony, traditional institutions, tribal and family bondages and the last Pakhtunwali. Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) received unparalleled treatment and hardships and obviously they will not forget them in times to come. Side by side their customs have now become a source of worries; their getups and popular turbines are considered to be the symbols of terrorism. (Buneri, 2013) In such disorder, it is also a fact that bomb blasts or suicide attacks have linkages entrenched in this area etc. In nutshell, the areas have been used repeatedly as battlefield to the extent of home grown, self-ambitiousness to the drawback and impairment to general population.
Bacha Khan’s Philosophy of Non-Violence
After World War One, British Indian rulers were at their best to expand their kingdom to Pakhtun’s territories however remained under severe turmoil and its economic situation deteriorated to a great extent. At that point of time, Pakhtuns were resisting the British Rule and fighting was erupted in some parts of North West Frontier (now KP) Province for many reasons but mainly due the treatment met out of Ottoman Caliph for breaking of promises at the conclusion of WW-I. (Bright, 1944) In addition, British hegemony had never been accepted in Pakhtun areas upon their arrival as rulers. It is to mention that after World War - I and the Indian Mutiny, the British excursions against Pakhtuns seem to be the most notable military event of British Indian Kingdom. (Wali Khan, 1993) Bacha Khan’s addressal of conflict issues was amenable who displayed introspective articulation for indigents and paupers.
From his earlier stage of life, he acted very differently from his predecessors; he gave message of non-violence to Pakhtuns. (Ali Shah, 1999) At the age of 20 years, he laid the foundation of his first school at Utmanzai, his native town. (Karim Khan, 1997) Traditionally, non-violence prevailed as a basic drill and a concept in the responsiveness of Pakhtun’s community. His Khudayi Khidmatgar Movement was based on non-violence to be deeply entrenched in societal outlook and subsequently became a popular movement in the society. (Farigh Bokhari, 1957) However, it is also a fact that Pakhtuns settle most of their issues through non-belligerent means, whereas, all disputes are not meant to be settled amicably. (Rafique Afzal, 1998) The message of non-violence was preached that proved to be a revamping societal behaviour. As a whole, this movement had improved the fraternity and wisdom among the masses for a better future. In fact Bacha Khan himself loudly spoke in favour of non-violence. (Rajmohan, 2013)
The Genesis of Militancy
Many social and political factors can be attributed to militancy; the internal factors like, social deprivation, religious exploitation, smuggling, presence of Afghan refugees and external factors like the reciprocity at local and international levels have its due shares to mushrooming of militancy in Pakistan. (Pervez Musharraf, 2006) The root cause of militancy can be traced back to Afghan war of 1980. However, after 9/11, US attack on Afghanistan surged the intricacies of militancy through cultivation of extremism in every walk of life including Islamic interpretation and implementation. With exception of short peaceful periods in between, cities after cities have been experiencing terror based crimes, suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and target killings etc. (David Kilkullen, 2009)
Now mostly all crimes have some kind of linkages with terrorism and the same are funded both by internal and external elements. Variety of weapons is available in abundance everywhere therefore militants and criminals can easily arm and equip their respective groups when in need. Consequently Jihadi groups had been arming their individuals to promote regional and local movements. After 9/11, when operation necessitated in Afghanistan, in US’s policy agenda, Pakistan was promoted to be a frontline state clambered to its central position to fight terrorism. In its way, Pakistan started hunting the residuum of Al-Qaeda and Taliban in FATA. (Farhat, 2012)
This cladding of Pakistan for fighting terrorism and providing magnanimous and charitable backing to US policy has heightened the suicide attacks whereas insurgency in Balochistan added as fuel to fire. Additionally, the incident of Lal Masjid provoked suicide bombings and target killings to its peak, resulted into a considerable number of attacks on civil and military installations. The terrorists are experimenting new ideas to disrupt human peace, the recent examples are; attacks on Bacha Khan University, Peshawar Army Public School, Malakand District Courts and Peshawar Bus Attack etc. Terrorism in Pakistan, unlike other countries, is a multidimensional, deeply rooted and wide spread phenomenon in terms of underlying causes, novelty and variety of terror techniques. (Rajmohan, 2013)
Foreign factor is playing devastating role in fuelling militancy in KP and FATA. Several states can be named but India is playing its filthy role in spreading militancy in KP and FATA. It is to highlight that at Farkhor airbase the Indian Secret Services enrolls youth from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan through paying them heavily. These enrolled youth are being trained on Guerilla Warfare, Automatic Weapons and Explosives. During the training, they are only granted to see the families in cases of any discloser of their employment. They are made to marry Indian women and accordingly brainwashed to be with these women in heaven. After proper training they are launched via Kabul in FATA and KP. Training is also impart to the Young men from FATA along with these Uzbeks and Tajiks. (Italian Journalists, 2013 ) In nutshell it is the grouping or regrouping of Jihadies working whether at their own or as proxies in one shape or the other, funded or otherwise, is causing militancy.
Military Operations in FATA and PATA and its Effects
The activities of TTP, TNSM, the extremist religious groups and other foreign funded individuals have been matter of saturnine. Pakistan’s military had been carrying out several operations against Al-Qaeda and Taliban ephemerals through its armed forces including paramilitary force to take bridle over their activities. (Riedel, 2011) The main purpose of such military operations was to coerce the militants out of their fortresses and bastions for the ultimate destruction and dismantling of their networks. This way, their potentials to launch attacks are to be degraded and weakened. Since 2001, Pakistan military have carried out seven main operations, coupled with several other smalls operations; Zalzala, Sher Dil, Rah-e-Rast, Al Mizan, Rah-e-Haq, Rah-e-Nijat, Enduring Freedom, Zarb-e-Azb and Radd ul Fasaad.
Attacking military convoys, destroying public properties, spreading terror, looting and kidnapping have been regular gimmicks. Pakistan has agonised a dreadful loss of life seething frenzy, tumult and violence. After weighing up the achievements of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, when all of the cities and towns were under continuous threat, now people have taken a sigh of relief. With all the achievements on forefront to eliminate the roots of militants, people still scare that the militants would re-surface unless the border with Afghanistan is properly sealed. (Hikmat, 2016) In addition, the 929,859 TDPs excluding those from Khyber Agency and Aurakzai Agency were registered and are waiting rehabilitation and safeguarding to be wilfully settling in their native villages. (UNHCR-Pakistan-IDP, 2014) Militancy has a direct bearing on the daily life in the affected areas. One fatal incident could degrade the psychological environment to the threshold from where lives end. The most affected areas of the conflict zone are FATA and then PATA of which the common life indicators are; suicidal tendencies, anxiety, depression and other negative domestic behavioural issues. Other effects of militancy are; abandonment of business activities, decline in growth rates, low revenue, no foreign investment, capital flight, loss of livelihood, destruction of infrastructure, and so much so that the entire social and economic system have collapsed. (S P Seth, 2015).
Affinity of Pakhtuns’ Culture
Edward E. Oliver observed the most remarkable trait of martial qualities in Pakhtun’s tribes; they are the most un-democratic and dis-united people among themselves but they uniformly join in hostility whenever opportunity offers. However, cultural and societal outlook of Pakhuns are greatly influenced by violence in Pakhtun’s areas. New drumming themes like gunship helicopters, bomb blasts, attacks and missiles have already enforced into Pashto literature including Tappa, Nazm and Ghazal etc. Such themes reflect clearly the devastating nature of low intensity conflicts and counter operations. (Safiya, 2008) Generally, cultures and customs are encased through poetical behaviour being the most effective way of writing. The writing appeals the listeners and readers irrespective of their affiliation to the political and societal groups and identities. Literally, Pashto advocates social values like forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation etc. (Zahid Ali Khan, 2011)
The Pakhtun’s social format is based on a compartment lineage system under certain values, traditions and customs known as Pakhtunwali. Pakhtunwali, the code of conduct predicaments them together under a special code of honour being eulogized that certifies equality among the general population of the society. It is an unwritten constitution of the society that forces its way to be part of heart and soul of Pakhtun’s community because it flourishes from soil through demonstration of experiences, aspirations and contradictions inside their societal life. (Idris Khan, 2009) Through these codes of conduct of life, the causes of humanity are being served by Pakhtun traditional authorities.
Pakhtun’s culture promotes to live peaceful life as routine affair; if strangers passing nearby they reciprocate amiabilities and reverences such as Pah Khair Raghlay, welcome, is replied by Pah Khair Ossay, may you live in peace and Starray Ma Shay, may you never be tired, is replied by Khudai Day Maal Sha, May Allah be with you. These are followed with a heartfelt handshake and keep asking each other like Jorr Yay, are you alright, Khushal Yay, are you happy, Takkrra Yay, are you hearty and blooming. Pakhtuns are often using words when they pledge to consummate a task at some time like Ka Khudai Ta Manzura Wee or Insha Allah, if Allah is willing Ka Khair Wee, if it goes well. The collective salutations are more fascinating like when a visitor is entering a Hujra is accosted with customary slogan of Har Kala Rasha, may you constantly come, the salutation is replied by Har Kala Ossay, may you constantly concede. When friends depart from each other, are always entrusted in safeguarding of Allah by saying, Pa Makha De Kha Or Da Khudai Pa Aman, may you safely reach your terminus. (Buneri, 2013)
However in the Pakhtun’s society, the law and order situation, have changed the very basic purpose of these authorities, institutions and codes. Hujra happened to be socio-cultural club where basic lessons of Pakhtunwali were taught and subsequently promoted in young generation, referred to Appendix - II. The self-enforced ideology has stolen the traditional institutions. Previously, Mashran “elders of the areas headed these institutions who were publically identified to be the representatives of the areas but now figures are the militants. The fascination of societal life exhales from a contemplation of integrity and security. (Mategeko, 2011)
How Did Militancy get accentuated in Pakhtunwali and the Will to Resist Gradually Degraded?
Militants played captivating role to bring the general public for acceptance of their rules which they are spelling out to be correct interpretation of Islamic. This menace has bred in the integrated code of conduct, Pakhtunwali, leading to gradual degradation of will to resist. (M G, Ali, 2014) Due to the some or all of the below points, the will to resist to the acts of militants has been degraded to the lowest and even couldn’t be restored through some daring sacrifices. Detail is summarized as under.
a. Afghan War of 1980 has paved up in creating the environment of terror and militancy.
b. Continued mental and resource mobilization through playing in the hands of Mullahs and in the folds of Madrasses.
c. Planning and preparing the young generation for continued battling against those whom they believe as infidels.
d. Resisting 9/11 and NATO adventurism in Afghanistan resulting into resurgence of extremism and militancy at full throttle.
e. Revenging the losses of drone attacks and Pak Army operation in FATA.
f. Groupings and regroupings of militants on the pretext of maintaining peace and stability but Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) remained silent spectators on their activities.
g. Collecting funds through philanthropic system for strengthening of their groups.
h. Managing and organizing large caches of all calibre weapons and of its ammunitions.
i. Involvement and inclination of General Public for provision of speedy justice.
j. Spreading terror through FM radio.
k. Violation to the rules is served with huge fines and exemplary punishments.
Impact of Militancy on Pakhtuns’ Values, Traditions and Pakhtunwali
Pakhtun’s cultural, social seminary and legacy sites have been agonized due to the prevailing series of instability, violence and conflict. The values of the society considered by enlightened and more libertarians were distorted and mutilated, so much so that their views and considerations have been replaced by extreme beliefs, concepts and practices. This extremism advocated conflict based environment, isolation, violent behavioural acts and racial bigotry. (L Runion, 2007) Unfortunately the gradual injection of militarization and radicalization in society, have scrubbed out all festivals from the memories of general public and have been replaced with religious congregations, training sessions and night surveillances with the purpose to promote militant vitality in the youth. Those who remained exposed to Pakhtun’s socio-cultural environment have been praising the traditions and societal values in Pakhtunwali and these are Rashtiya Wayel (truth), Mrasta (cooperation), Nanawaty (appeal for forgiveness), Melmastiya (hospitality) and Badal Akhistal (revenge).
It is rightly said that Pakhtun political, cultural and social institutions are under intense and continuous attacks. (Rajmohan, 2013) People elsewhere never have the feelings that something drastic of such nature is happening in KP and FATA. The war has brought considerable changes in structural ramifications, social, economic and political institutions and parochial attitude and thematic values. It is a common phenomenon that values, codes, customs and traditions are preserved and presented through the expression of art and literature. (Ayesha, 2008) The prevailing trends have been surfaced concurrently in Pashto literature and poetry in the war encumbered areas. A few reflections can be seen in the works of literary figures who are continuously addressing the prevailing situations in their works. (Ali Khan, 2011) It is unfortunate that some of the works in writings are predetermined and dominant by themes of violence and terror and can be categorised as; first, those who welcome new trends in the time of transitions in a society and second is denouncing the changes. (Shinwari, 2008)
Revamping Pakhtun’s Society
Traditional System of conflict resolution was amended and placed in the hands of the Political Agents during the British rule. British imposed Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) in tribal areas that took away the basic rights of tribesmen. Through this imposition of FCR, British rulers enforced corrupt practices and kept awarding handsome pieces of land to the loyalists. These acts eroded the basics of societal democratic character at all levels. (Zubair Torwali, 2014) It is highly ironic concurrently that Pakhtuns were ostracised from constitutional reforms being introduced in other parts of India. After the inception of Pakistan, the divide and rule policies of British in areas were maintained with heeds to the social and economic development were paid. The social structure and land ownership, based on unjust and bigoted system, had created class tensions and surfaced astute dissensions between values of Pakhtunwali and the newly feudal system. (Tariq Fatimi, 2012)
This degeneration in values reached to a no return point during Afghan war of 1980 when Pakhtuns were divulged to drugs, Kalashnikov culture and militancy. The inflow of Afghan refugees and foreign Jihadis in FATA put the tribal under colossal economic, ideological and social pressure. (Qandeel Siddique, 2011) During Afghan war of 1980, a large number of mosques and Madrasses were constructed in all parts of KP and FATA, duly financed by US Allies, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States. It was highly unfortunate that Jihad based on Islamic ideology was totally kidnapped in the Non-Muslims hand and was used against communist ideology. Mental mobilization on the issue of Jihad was so fascinating that the graduates from the Madrasses joined the wings of international, regional and local Jihadi groups. This ingress in religious lines of different colours and tinges in society was enforced in normal practices, led to an unending but forced extremism and radicalization. (Shaheen Akhtar, 2010)
Militancy of Taliban versus Pakhtun Culture of Peace
When US removed Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the miscreants of all groups took refuge in FATA. For their vest interests, these groups kept targeting schools, killing of tribal elders, exploding health centres etc. These acts swept over KP and FATA for enforcement of their specific agenda like death over life, censorship over expression and hatred over love thus heavily damaged the cultural environment. (Abdul Sattar, 2012) The new version of Islam took over the Islamic identity, the old heritage and values connected as they thought cultural heritage as skeptic to the teachings and admonitions of Islam. They acted proxies to wipe out the bondage of brotherhood among Pakhtun and cultural identity on either side of Durand line. (Qaisar Rashid, 2014) Basing on distorted information, few right wing politicians, journalists and academicians have depicted them as Pakhtun nationalists but ground realities have been showing very different posture of Taliban militancy. Glaring acts are (PILDAT Report, 2015):
- Bombing of Buddhist carving, 7th century Budha, rarest artistic piece, in Jehanabad town of Swat Valley, when asked, as to what was the motive to destroy the Buddhist carving, simply replied with smile that Idolism is not allowed in their religion.
- In Khyber Agency, militants burnt the houses and plundered everything in Tirah valley.
- The inhabitants were kept asking to either share the expenditures incurred or to provide them other alternates like provision of young boys for suicidal attacks and security guards etc.
- Dead bodies have been humiliated and beheaded bodies were placed in the prominent places with tags that the bodies would not be buried (even relatives could not handle the slaughtered bodies due to worrisome environment).
- Heritage sites and shrines in KP and FATA were razed to ground to pave way to reinterpret the history and to reshape Pakhtuns’ identity.
- Dancers, Singers and Musicians were described as associates of Satan therefore responsible for moral depravity of society and hence maintained to attack and punish them for any performance including wedding ceremonies etc.
Sports and Cultural Carnivals
The large scale radicalization, brainwashing and indoctrination drives daunted the cumulative and productive rendition of Pakhtuns. Ritualizing life events and other carnivals were once part of Pakhtun social life. Gatherings, dancing, sports, music and poetry recitals with Rubab, Harmonium and Mangey were the ratifications of these carnivals because musical and cultural gatherings take care of economic activities, social interaction and space for recreation. In modern day, sports like football, cricket and volley ball are famous in young generation. Without much of the facilities one can find the talents in grounds wherever they manage to play. Much of the players of KP and FATA got their positions at national and international levels. (Edward Newman, 2006)
The prominent players and specialists from other fields are Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Shahid Khan Afridi, Umer Gul, Rahimullah Yousafzai, Gulnar Begum, Khial Muhammad and many others. These imply prove the love and affection of people towards Sports and Cultural Carnivals. However, playing grounds and sports tournaments have not been spared by militants. Militants have killed a large number of players of various games and specialists of other fields. These socio-cultural activities that could bind people together from different walks of life for better integration of society were mercilessly discouraged to present their puritan form of Islam and on pretext for establishing true Islamic injunctions. It is irony that Militants have never made themselves aware of the very foundation of Pakhtun code and societal harmony in form of Pakhtunwali. (Hassan and Asmat, 2013)
Burial Proceedings and Shrines of Sufis
It is fascinating to have People from all walks of life to organize a grand festival at Rahman Baba’s mausoleum and writers, Poets and fans of Rahman Baba gather at Shrine to recite the poetry of Rahman Baba every year. (Buneri, 2013) The great spiritual poet, Rahman Baba was born on 1632 at Bahadur Kali, Peshawar. The poetry of Rahman Baba is famous for its universality, simplicity and spontaneity among Pakhtuns and others who take interest in evolution of Sufism. (Hussain, 2011) The work of Rahman Baba was introduced by Robert Sampson in the western world, through translation and writing commentaries with title of Rahman Baba - Poet of the Pakhtuns. In addition, selection from the poetry of Rahman Baba was published by Janes Enveldson with title Nightingale of Peshawar. (Buneri, 2013) Rahman Baba is the symbol of Pakhtuns’ tolerance, love, peace and spirituality in the heart of every Pakhtun. (Munir, 2012)
The militants consider Sufism and its linked traditions as a main stumbling block for the enforcement of their self-styled religious agenda. Very unfortunate, militants bombed the Shrine of great Pashto Spiritual Poet Abdurrahman Baba in March 2009. (Hussain, 2011) It would have been well received at the wake of devastation to give a message of love, peace, universal humanity and tranquillity as conveyed by Rahman Baba but this bombing of shrine gave the message to present Pakhtuns as cruel, uncivilized and barbarous nation of the world. In Nutshell, militants interpreted that the Islamic picture and all its attributes of the past to mausoleums to be destroyed being parts of Infidelity. The Pakhtun’s humanistic and pluralistic identity has been given a new dimension to the interpretation of Islam through these brutal acts of Militants.
· Policy Prescription. The genetics of terrorism have undergone changes at a tremendous pace. The product of negative evolution of militants is a group of degenerated, moral-less, cruel and emotionless human looking creatures. That is why fighting the war against terror, with only an option of victory should become the top agenda. Towards this end, govt needs to bring positive changes in its domestic and extraneous policies as policy prescription.
· Root Causes of Terrorism. It is the cry of the day to know the basic information related to the root causes of terrorism, sources of funding, motivation levels and coverage being provided to them. Researchers have pointed out the concept of terrorism being a moral issue with amplitudes beyond nationalism and sovereignty and hence terrorism should be treated as heinous crime.
· National Action Plan (NAP). To break the complex terror structure operating in Pakistan, govt has come up with the 21st Constitutional Amendment and formed a National Action Programme (NAP) to launch a sustained crackdown against the banned outfits. The NAP authorises the relevant security departments to reach out to the friendly countries to clamp down on financers of terrorist networks in Pakistan. At the domestic level NAP mainly entails the function of speedy trial courts, regularising the Madrassas system, checking the re-emergence of proscribed organisations, ban on hate speeches and publishing of hate-spreading material including misuse of loudspeaker and reactivation of National Counter Terrorism Agency (NACTA). As spelt, NAP should be implemented in true letter and spirit.
· Pragmatism in Handling of Terrorism. Well organized campaign for the revival and revitalization of pluralist and liberal values of the Pakhtun’s culture is needed for rupturing the monopoly and stranglehold; otherwise space for manoeuvring is always available for other forces to move in. Govt should take on and cripple with the propaganda campaign of militants. Well researched audio and video short films to counter their ideological and religious rationale should be made available to general public on electronic media.
· Religious Seminaries and their Reforms. Seminaries have been playing important role in imparting religious education in the past. Now Madrassas are used to breed terrorists in their folds and the existing curriculum is the main factor leading to raise extremism therefore corrective measures are needed for its revivalism. Govt needs to bring positive changes in Madrassas’ curriculum in conformity to the needs of Islamic teachings and prevailing environment.
· Suicide Terrorism. Act of suicide is become a main weapon of militants. Youth between the ages of 14 to 26, is brainwashed as suicide bombers. Govt needs to develop counter narratives that are attractive and easily to adopt to react to what is being promoted by militant organizations.
· Coordination and Harmony between Civil and Military. The lack of coordination among key law enforcement agencies, intelligence services and civil and military poses challenges. The hallmark of strategy of Pakistan’s war against terror is the unprecedented coordination and harmony between the civil govt and the military. Civil-military consensus should be strengthened.
· Introduction of Reforms or Doing away FCR. One of the important reasons of wining the hearts of the people by militant outfits is the people religious inclination. Additionally, most of them are not satisfied with existing legal structure in FCR. In order to throw out indoctrination propaganda from society, a well thought out legal structure matching the societal and religious requirements of the people should be devised so that people don’t get refuge under the garb of providing them justice and administrative relief etc.
· Job Opportunities. The prevailing unemployment, underdevelopment, illiteracy and non-availability of uplift moves provide breeding space for militancy and extremism. Govt should establish technical educational institutions for socio-economic development of the areas.
· Amelioration of Economic Status of People. We need to work on emergency basis to ameliorate the economic status of the people so that they are not forced to sell their property to become foot soldiers of terrorists. Every citizen should be given assurance to feel that he is being looked after and not exploited only then he can play the role of a productive citizen.
· Rehabilitation of Temporarily Displaced Persons.
Following points need due consideration.
- The vision of a prosperous, developed and peaceful KP and FATA is important to thwart the future plans of the terrorists.
- Whole nation, especially political leadership to be on forefront for provision of funding to the rehabilitation process.
- Educational activities should be immediately restored.
- Efforts should be made at all levels to maintain law and order, re-construct physical structures, inculcate cohesion and activate economic activities to ensure rehabilitation.
· Security Based Measures
- Proper passive measures should be ensured through enactment of law.
- The system of recruitment in police and training should be put under the direct control of the Pakistan Army.
- The system of police patrolling should be made effective and check-posts should be set up at inter-district thoroughfares.
- The provincial govts should set up separate force for arrest of thousands of proclaimed offenders involved in heinous crimes as part of national strategy aimed at curbing terrorism.
- An effective prosecution system, free of political interference, should be established to punish the criminals in accordance with law. The services of retired judges and expert lawyers should be sought to make the system effective and capable of delivering.
· Misguided Strategy of the Past needs to be Redirected
a. Hauling, packing and hunting without due process of law.
b. No way letting the mushrooming of militancy in any form.
c. Avoiding at all cost the collateral damages.
d. No way to let anybody who promote the foreign agenda.
· Revamping the Will of Local Populace to Resist Terrorists:
- Systematic retrieval of all codes of conduct of Pakhtunwali should be encouraged and promoted.
- To bring stability in the social, cultural, religious and psychological identity among Pakhtuns, foreign culture invasion if any should be confronted zealously.
- Making effective use of communicational technologies.
- The role of media is lucrative in the context of preserving local cultural values and national identities therefore media coverage should be stabilized in dissemination of local cultural commodities.
- Hujra Culture should be revitalized.
- Jirga system for undertaking its Role in Conflict Resolution should be revisited.
- Village Based Defence Committee should be established for search of Intruders and immediately handing over to the LEA.
- Sports activities should be a regular feature in the area.
- Cultural Heritage should be taken care of and young generation should be motivated to organize social activities.
- Artistic Life as Carrier should be encouraged and sponsored.
- Poetry Recitals should be organized as social activity.
It is said that one cannot fatten the horses during
the war, Therefore, all these recommendations will lead us nowhere until and
unless the scourge and affliction of insurgency in KP, FATA and elsewhere
remain and the security situation poses threat to the social fabric of the
country. The post 9/11 developments considerably affected Pakhtun culture. Code
of Pakhtunwali was once so effective mechanism that all the disputed issues had
to be resolved through peaceful means. Even Bacha Khan’s philosophy on
non-violence against the British rule proved the very nature of Pakhtuns as
peace-loving people. The entire changed scenario and its impact on Pakhtun’s
society is linked with both; independent and dependent variables and is paving
the way for disturbance in Pakistani Pakhtun areas which engraved the indelible
Map of FATA and PATA
Hujra’s Proceedings Underway