By Shamim Shahid
(Peshawar): The three days Grand Pushtoon Jirga convened by Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party of Mahmud Khan Achakzai at Bannu concluded with demanding an end to armed forces involvement in every sort of administrative and political affairs of the country, ensuring the supremacy of parliament, rule of law, and due share and autonomy to Pushtoons and an end to every sort of interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan. It also asked for the early release of MNA Ali Wazir.
At the end of three days Jirga, the organizers Monday morning issued a four pages declaration which was framed in according to the results of a questionnaires, filled out by participants. Similarly, the points of view of leading speakers, especially office holders and representatives of different political parties also adjusted in the Jirga’s declaration.
The Jirga besides leading PMAP leaders headed by Mahmud Khan Achakzai and officeholders were also attended by officeholders and representatives of other parties. ANP’s Dr. Khadim Hussain, NDM Afrasiab Khattak and PTM Manzoor Pashteen were prominent amongst them. A number of highly educated intellectuals and technocrats also attended the Jirga and participated in the detail discussions over existing hardships of Pushtoons, scattered throughout the country and over-40 years-long conflict across the border in Afghanistan. Besides detailed political speeches, discussions and debates, Musical events and poetic sessions also remained part of the Jirga.
Bannu- the southern city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a legacy of Jirga’s and consultation pertained to problems and hardships of Pushtoons. At once considered center of freedom fighters associated with All India Congress and Khudayee Khidmatgar Tehrik of late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan commonly known as Bacha Khan, first-ever Pushtoon Jirga held at Hatikhel Bannu in 1956, whereas it was concluded with the demand of an independent Pushtoon state of Pakhtunistan. There is doubts about late Bacha Khan’s reaction as some circles believe that he had opposed the resolution, demanding Pakhtunistan as an independent state. However, Pakhtunistan later remains an important part of Radio Kabul transmissions.
The Jirga through its declaration while demanding an end to armed forces involvement in administrative and political affairs, emphasized on maximum autonomy to the parliament. Similarly, it endorsed the demands for supremacy of parliament, rule of law and independence of judiciary. It denounced what it called injustices and discrimination of Pushtoons, urged the state to ensure due constitutional rights to Pushtoons and stop subjecting Pushtoons to the worst king of terror, aggression, disappearance and even extrajudicial killing on the pretext of terrorism and extremism.
While demanding early release of Ali Wazir MNA from South Waziristan and withdrawal of all cases registered against him, the Jirga has also constituting of Facts Finding Commission with due representation to Pushtoons (members of this jirga) for probing target killing of ex-Senator Usman Kakar, Prof. Arman Looni, Police officer Tahir Dawar and others. Likewise, it also expressed serious reservations over the anti-terror policies of security forces and as well state. Such policies enable no other than certain state organs of subjecting the innocent Pushtoons to face punishment for undone sin.
The Jirga has also demanded free trade and business opportunities to Pushtoons living on both sides of Pak Afghan border. It recalled that Pushtoons suffered a lot due to prolong imposed and external hostilities in Afghanistan. Likewise, the Pushtoons deserve maximum relief in taxes and duties on internal trading and also traditional border trade with Afghanistan.
Referring to continue crises in Afghanistan, the grand Pushtoons Jirga has termed it “outcomes of incursions in its internal affairs from abroad, especially from neighboring countries.” It demanded an end to every sort of foreign interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, insisting on “ensuring of an opportunity to Afghans for deciding the fate of their country and destiny at own.”
In reaction to Grand Pushtoon Jirga’s declaration, Barrister M Ali Saif said, “ all affairs of government are run by a politically elected government. The Armed forces have no concern with administrative affairs. Armed forces determined are determined to ensure the safety of country’s geographical borders and some time extending helping civilian security forces in combating terrorists.”
Similarly, he said that ALI Wazir cases are pending before courts, therefore, courts may be approached for the purposes. He said that all others facing similar cases needs to approach the judiciary, which is independent and deciding cases on merit and justice. Barrister Saif said, “there is no discrimination against Pushtoons in the country.” The Pushtoons he said, “ are in a dominant position in all spheres of life after Punjab.” He also diverted attention towards maximum representation to Pushtoons in the present political setup, reminding that besides Prime Minister Imran Khan, opposition leader Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman, Mahmud Khan Achakzai, Aimal Wali Khan, and several others are all Pushtoons.