Pukhtun Jirga

ANP leadership hosted grand Pukhtun Jirga in Peshawar which was attended by representatives from 13 regional political parties and groups having vote bank in Pukhtun areas of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. An ethnic group propagating centrifugal agenda, named as Pukhtun Tahfuz Movement (PTM), was also invited to participate in this event. The ethnic militant group was founded in 2014.

A joint statement of the Jirga was released stating therein a number of demands. Major demands amazingly include investigation of war crimes; payment of compensation to the people affected in war on terror; sweeping of landmines in areas where terrorist outfits had hideouts in the past; taking measures to prevent the re-emergence and regrouping of militant outfits; total implementation of National Action Plan; stopping discrimination of Pukhtuns; holding of fresh census; fair distribution of water resources; and unblocking of blocked CNICs.

First demand is sheer allegation, unfounded and figment of sick mind. Reconstruction work in the tribal districts affected by war on terror is on and payment of compensation was denied by last PML- N .government in which ANP was a stakeholder. It was PML-N leadership which was opposed to military operation against the militant outfits in erstwhile FATA. That government had constituted a negotiating team headed by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Advisor IrfanSiddique, who had euologised and glorified TTP Chief HakeemullahMehsud in his column published in an Urdu daily newspaper. The ongoing operation RadulFasad against an amorphous enemy is multifaceted and long term operation against the fifth generation war waged against Pakistan by India which will take long time to complete. The services rendered by Pak Army, paramilitary forces and police must be acknowledged and appreciated. Total implementation of National Action Plan is inevitable and the demand is justified.

Discrimination of Puktuns is mere allegation as in PTI government they are holding powerful positions in federal bureaucracy, including Mr.Azam Khan Principle Secretary to the Prime Minister. Likewise, important federal cabinet portfolios are with Pukhtun Ministers which if compared with AsfandiyarWali close buddy Nawaz Sharif government is real bonanza for Puktuns. The demand of fair distribution of water resources could have been addressed in the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991had ANP leadership, while sharing power with PML-N in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, sincerely pressed for it. But that would have paved the way for consensus on the construction of Kalabagh dam, ensuring sufficient water share for the 10,000.00 acres of fertile agriculture land in six southern districts of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, making the province self-sufficient in the production of cereal crops, vegetable and fruits. But ANP leadership does not want green revolution in these districts for the fear of shift in political center of gravity to the southern districts of the province from the central districts of Charsadda and Mardan.

The necessity of blocking CNICs arose when leaders of Pukhtun Nationalist Parties exerted pressure on NADRA officials for issuing these cards to Afghan nationals in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Baluchistan for sake of increasing their vote bank. A modus operandi of making entry of Afghan Nationals in the family trees of Pakistanis was adopted, which later resulted in blocking of CNICs of bonafide citizens of the country. The ANP government in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa in 2008-13 deprived Pukhtuns of getting jobs on merit and misappropriation of public funds was the order of the day. It was the previous PTI government that restored merit in recruitment policy to some extent and improvement is on. Does the presence of PTM representatives in the Jirga imply that ANP and other federationist political parties support its trans-borders’ agenda of “Lar au Bar.” The charter of demand presented in the joint statement of Pukhtun Jirga cannot revive the lost image of ethnicity propagating leaders as they stand exposed among the masses for their bad governance and utter neglect of basic problems of people while in government.