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Pashtuns beware of Imran Khan – by Jan Assakzai

Originally posted at: PASHTUN CHRONICLE

Pakistan’s pro-establishment media, journalists, pundits and spin doctors are relentlessly trying to usher in a possible new alternative to the current traditional political class of the country- led by PPP and PML (N). A day hardly passes by when one does not see pressers, articles and talk shows eulogising the upsurge in the political fortunes of Imran Khan.

Now the feudals, the Gadaanasheens and the turncoats have lined up to join Imran Khan’s bandwagon, of course with the consent of their “masters”. The powerful PR machine of Imran Khan only reinforces one message: Imran Khan is going to win the next election.

If indeed Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf comes to power with the acquiescence of the establishment, this begs the obvious question: What does the future hold for Khyber Pashtunkhwa and FATA and perhaps for Afghanistan and world at large.

Though, it remains to be seen whether the elections are held in 2013 or much earlier, the question no less important is what will happen if Imran rides the euphoria created by the above circles in Punjab-the traditional hegemonic power base- and comes to power.

One possible scenario is the that Imran Khan wins in Khyber Pashtunkhwa and clinches seats in FATA, so  that he can form  a government in the province. It is not a mere theoretical possibility. Let us start with FATA. FATA’s 12 seats in National Assembly and 8 in Senate can easily be delivered to Imran Khan as FATA is directly run by the GHQ. Thus arm twisting, bribing and manipulating of people in FATA are time tested tactics of the establishment to favour its blue- eyed elements to grab seats in Pakistan’s parliament.

Like other parts of Pakistan, in Khyber Pashtunkhwa too, there is a targeted campaign going on to focus on the usual turncoats, the so-called winnable candidates, and the establishment’s old guard   including the likes of Masood Sharif Khattak and Rustum Shah Momand to barter loyalties for Imran Khan. Besides, sensing the possible success of Imran Khan in elections, such elements will likely easily gravitate to Mr Khan. If everything fails, the favourite method of the establishment i.e., rigging elections in Imran Khan’s favour, is never out of its arsenal.

The 2002 elections that led to MMA Government were rigged with the premise to show the world, particularly the US, that Pashtuns were angry after the US invasion of Afghanistan. Now that the US and Islamabad relations have reached new lows, it would make more sense to show engineered “anti-American feelings” expressed in possible Imran Khan electoral victory in the country’s strategic north Western region including Khyber Pashtunkhwa and FATA.

Such an eventuality would have far reaching consequences for the peace of the province, stability of Afghanistan and security of the world.

We already know that Imran Khan preaches the virtue of dialogue with militants and is in cohort with ideological god fathers of Pakistan’s establishment i.e., Mirza Aslam Baig and Hameed Gul that proxy militants operating in FATA are by their nature “Pashtun resistance” to NATO invasion of Afghanistan and that Pakistan should “disengage” from the US “War on Terror”.

Simply translated, Islamabad should stop containing these militants particularly the TTP since Pakistan is already in peace with “good”  militants fighting the NATO forces in Afghanistan while at best tolerating the Al Qaeda and its linked-outfits’ presence in FATA. Recent reports that militants are in exploratory talks with the government are part of this thinking.

Unfortunately, Imran’s proposition regarding militancy in Pashtun areas if implemented in letter and spirit, may lead to these possible outcomes: first, the militants will likely to take over the whole of FATA. Second, FATA will become a defacto Taliban Emirate extending from Bajaur in the north to South Waziristan in the south (they have already established courts, police and kind of administrative shooras) further consolidating stranglehold around Pashtuns as any possible Imran-led governments in centre and province will simply turn a blind eye towards them.

The by-product of Imran Khan’s Taliban-appeasement policy will spur militants to concentrate more on Afghanistan. The TTP’s one time leader  Baiutullah Masood alone  sent nearly  250 groups of  fighters to  Helmand to fight NATO forces in Afghanistan  in  2006 (Source: Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by Saleem Shahzad -Pluto Press 2011). In such a scenario, the  proxy  Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan  will  greatly help Pakistan’s establishment  realise its strategic objective: keep pressurising  Afghan government until at least it surrenders part of its foreign and domestic policy  to the dictates  of   Islamabad-at times when the west is about to draw down its troops. .

Giving further “strategic depth” to the TTP and other militants through dialogue and accommodation at highest political level by Pakistan, the TTP   will likely gain time to regroup, rearm and hence re-launch itself.  These militants camouflaging Al Qaeda, will likely translate   FATA into latter’s mythological state of “Khurrasan” paving way for much larger possible plots against not only Afghanistan but the rest of the world. Al Qaeda may never shrink from its agenda of launching more transatlantic attacks. In case of such attack(s), footprints will sure be traced back to FATA spelling tsunami for Pashtuns in particular.

Supposedly, the infamous “Taliban” Khan forms a government in Khyber Pashtunkwha, it will have wider consequences for the province as well: since he believes that the Taliban are the Pashtun “resistance”, his possible government will simply acquiesce to their moving in to the settled districts of Khyber Pashunkhwa adjacent to FATA.

Unlike the ANP-led current government, it will not attempt to contain them to FATA region. The obscurantist agenda of the militants will simply turn the Pashtun clock back to medieval times. For they (militants) wrapped in Wahhabi ideology, are against education, Pashtun culture, Pashtun code of life (the Pashtunwali) and Pashtun heroes and music. This is going to be a nightmarish scenario for Pashtuns in the province as they are already the victim of Pakistan’s “Strategic Depth policy” in Afghanistan.

Khyber Pashtunkhwa being next to FATA and thus Afghanistan has more nuisance value as well: the establishment would love to have a more pliant government at the helms that has no problem with strategic proxy assets of Islamabad in FATA and Khyber Pashtunkhwa. Whereas the ANP has taken a clear stand against terrorists and opposed both external and internal violation of country’s sovereignty. The ANP-led government has successfully fought the war against militants and sustained public opinion against these militants.

Following the 18 Amendment, concurrent list has been abolished and subjects transferred to provinces, including education. The ANP-led government in Khyber Pashtunkhwa has started slowly altering the social agenda by introducing Pashtu subject in schools and introducing other reforms. As the establishment has always been wary of “irredentist credentials” of Pashtun nationalists, the possible Imran Khan electoral victory could easily put a stop to the ANP-led new social agenda for Pashtuns.

This is the time, the ANP in particular takes the electoral threat of Imran Khan seriously and devises a strategy to counter his possible gains in Khyber Pashtunkhwa.

The new generation of Pashtuns who have access to social media and the Internet are more impressionable and easily succumb to the appeal of propaganda PR machine of Imran Khan. A clear strategy needs to be devised aimed at this particular group.

Secondly, the ANP needs to enter into electoral alliances and seat to seat adjustments with other like-minded political parties including PKMAP, PPP and PML (N), and for any possible exploratory talks, this could be the right time. For containing the imminent danger of the new form of establishment’s erstwhile MMA i.e., Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Pashtun leadership needs not to sacrifice the interest of the Pashtuns at the altar of any false ego.

The Pashtun civil society should clearly articulate the case against voting Imran Khan in the next elections. This is their moment of truth to counter the thin layer of lies and falsehood hyped by Pakistan’s   parochial-media houses in Lahore and Karachi, surrounding the establishment’s new “stooge”-Imran Khan.

The message going out to Pashtuns cannot be starker and sterner than this: a hero and saviour for Punjab may spell disaster for Pashtuns.

Writer can be reached at: janassakzai200@gmail.com

About the author

Farhad Jarral

15 Comments

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  • Mr. Assakzai seems to be high on something. Imran Khan is the most popular leader in KP. Wake up!

  • @Shahid, Mr. Assakzai has already exhibited that he is wide awake and he is alarming those who are waiting for monster i.e. Imran Khan while still in their sleeping bags. The gullible followers of Talib Khan Qadri need to analyze this gravity of threat for humanity and especially for the people of KP

  • I am not a supporter of ANP or PPP but what Assakzai has described in this article are the ground realities which are expected to happen. Taliban have already started dialogue with Army in Bajour and Mohmand and situation are going back to peace temporarily. The Army needs a MMA type govt in KP which would ignore the activity of Taliban in FATA and Adjacent districts and intensify attacks across the border. Imran khan is the ideal person for this purpose and establishment is cultivating deeply…….

  • Only good Pashtuns are those Pashtuns who speak Urdu, hate India, who are uneducated or semi-educated and Jihadi to the core. All those Pashtuns who love their language and culture, who are educated, hate pakistan army version of Jihad and want peace and stability in KK, FATA and Afghanistan are ghaddar and should be annihilated as soon as possible.

    • Spot on with a little flip in there, thats about educated Pashtuns. In fact the educated ones under Pakistani Curriculum are the most fascists around. One can bring the illiterate ones towards truth, they will listen. The ones educated under Pakistani system would never even do that.

  • sorry 2 say but this is totally wrong only imran khan is the hope for pakistan & Pashtoon,s.ANP govt is due to on commitment wed America bcoz Asfandiar is dalal of america who started operation against pushtoons in whole province,We appx all pashtoons love imran khan & InshaAllah he will be the next prime minister of pakistan and will make individual Govt in All provinces of pak

  • Imran Khan is waste in Pakistan, I will be voting ANP they will be saving Khyber Pakhtonkha as they have built many schools and universities.

    • ANP is brave, but Imran is at least not against LUBP. Let us appreciate him.

  • Mr. Jan Achakzai, as a spokesman for the JUI-F, Maulana Fazal Rehman, how would you rate your party and your leader???

    -Do you want to make the nation further FOOL in this new decade?
    -Once and for all just speak one truth about your party past, present and its future vision and plan?
    -Now PTI and IK is establishment game by very nicely quoting some of the old pendits from the military?
    -What JUI-F and Maulana really did for Pakhtuns and the people of KP in the last 30 years being involved directly or indirectly in all governments??

    Your party hold an, “All parties conference” on peace and terrorism to settle the terrorism issue in the last month of the previous government, so what were your party doing in the last four and a half year, have they made any clear stance on militancy, taliban or establishment???

    Please don’t make the public fool, as most of the public are may well educated, well thinker, well equipped with the latest happenings around than you and your party!

    Just go back, check the reality, facts and also speak how a religion has been misused for politics in the overall JUI-F history of Pakistan- Your party has immensely damage Islam than any one else on this earth.

    Speak the truth and if you want the public to know about Imran Khan, please also expose the actual picture of your leader and other party members here in Islamabad with their tall bear and religious thinking!

    Speak the Truth- my dear Achakzai!

    Your party and leader is thirsty for government which is reality!

    “Monster”,

  • Had we seen anything from ANP, Imran Khan wouldn’t be popular in Pakhtoonkhwa. This is pretty evident that the writer of the article in not the resident of Pakhtoonkhwa. Ask me what ANP have done to Pakhtoonkhwa? I was supporter of ANP. Being a Pakhtoon nationalist I voted for them. The damage that they have done to KP no one has ever done. A small example is failed candidate of ANP has made 8 mln dollars during the ANP government says a very close friend of his. They were selling jobs. Different type of jobs had different prices, ranging from Rs. 1 mln to 5 mln. Smart and Intelligent but poor graduates are still knocking on doors looking for jobs. UAE, Europe and USA were their favorite destinations. Long story short, ANP failed not because of Talibs but because of their worst attitude towards common Pakhtoon population. Lets not blame others. Our own Pakhtoon leadership is of no use, be it in Pakhtoonkhwa or in Afghanistan.

  • the adminstrators of LET US BUILD PAKISTA N are apprently and confirmed blanket worn disguising their true identiy the Thieves of Pakistani Muslim Ideology believed in to bring a LA DEEN PAKISTAN – ( SECULAR ) society are the component who are negation of Muslim Ideology of Pakistan – They dont believe on the philosophy of Dr,Mohummad Iqbal the philosophy of Ideology of Pakistan – Now they are undermining the Movement of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf who has the manifesto political with refrence to the philosophy of Muslim Ideolgical State as Pakistan ka Mutlub Kia
    La Illaha Illulah – Mohummad uur Rasool Lulah !

  • the administrators of LET US BUILD PAKISTA N are apparently and confirmed blanket worn disguising their true identiy the Thieves of Pakistani Muslim Ideology believed in to bring a LA DEEN PAKISTAN – ( SECULAR ) society are the component who are negation of Muslim Ideology of Pakistan – They dont believe on the philosophy of Dr,Mohummad Iqbal the philosophy of Ideology of Pakistan – Now they are undermining the Movement of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf who has the manifesto political with reference to the philosophy of Muslim Ideological State as Pakistan ka Mutlub Kia
    La Illaha Illulah – Mohummad uur Rasool Lulah !