Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Full Text of the Peshawar Declaration, February 10

A friend of mine has sent me a copy of an interesting declaration prepared in Peshawar last February 10. It is interesting for a number of reasons, but one of them is that this is a formulation by some notable Pushtuns developed presumably on their own and clearly in their own words [although below is merely an English translation]. It is evident from the tone that this meeting was not organized or scripted by the Pakistanis. In that sense it resembles an attempt by a group of Afghanistan notables (I think in 1980; see Kakar's book on the Soviet war in Afghanistan) to form an organized resistance program against the Soviets who had recently invaded. The Pakistanis, however, shut the affair down in order to establish more direct control over the anti-soviet resistance movement among the Afghans. This one sounds like a similar group of notables, in this case Pakistani Pushtuns, trying to deal with what is obviously a tragic problem in their midst: the continued activity of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which is costing the peoples of FATA and Malakand dearly. Because it is so interesting I reproduce this document here in the form I received it. RLC

The Peshawar Declaration
The documents of *Peshawar Declaration* which is endorsed by Political Parties and Members Amn Tehrik, (an umbrella organization of all walks of civil society), was formally launched in a gathering in a local Hotel on 10 February 2010.

On December 12 and 13, a two days workshop/conference was held in Peshawar with the sole agenda "Terrorism - the ways out." The workshop was attended by the political parties and civil society organizations that actively opposed terrorism. The participants were keen to contribute and participate in discussions regarding the political, ideological, strategic, economic, and cultural and education/ awareness related aspects of the agenda. The participants were divided into Five Groups and they freely expressed their opinions about the topics they had selected by choice. On the first day every group came up with a rough draft. On the second day final recommendations were drawn from the rough drafts. In a commendable show of unity, members with different political affiliations and shades of opinion succeeded in agreeing upon a single document of consensus. The workshop was attended by the provincial leadership of Awami National Party (ANP), Pukhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party PMAP, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Peoples Party Sherpao PPP(S), National Party (NP) and Awami party Pakistan (APP). Civil society organizations under the banner of Amn Tehrik, (Peace Movement)[1]businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, students, laborers and intellectuals also participated in the workshop. Representatives from all the agencies of FATA, Swat, Malakand and Buner also participated. A significant number of female participants were also present. Each group presented its report before the Conference. Every report was critically analyzed, objections raised and recommendations for improvement discussed. It was decided that all the reports should be amalgamated into a joint declaration namely Peshawar Declaration. A five member committee was constituted to prepare the documentation. After deliberation it was decided that all the organizations that attended the conference will jointly struggle to translate Peshawar Declaration into actions. For this purpose, ten members Coordination Committee (Rabita Committee) was constituted comprising of members from ANP, PMAP, PPPP, PPP Sherpao, Awami Party, National Party and Amn Tehrik (Peace Movement). After the discussion the participants made political, ideological and strategic aspects as a single/one report.

Defining Terrorism:

Terrorism is to create fear on someone to achieve certain ends. A person can be terrorized by a mere threat or he/she can be beaten, abducted, jailed and killed. An individual, a particular group, a sect, a nation or a country can indulge in terrorism to achieve certain objectives. People can also engage in terrorism for money, property or women.

The Current Wave of Terrorism:

Man has been indulging in the ruthless treatment of other human beings throughout the history. The modes of terrorism were different in different times. In the conference all the participants agreed upon the idea that the current surge of terrorism is the most dangerous, the worst type. This kind of terrorism is a complex mixture of religious extremism, fanatics, sectarian, anti-civilization, anti-humanity and coercive ways of life which are most ruthless one. The aim of this kind of terrorism is to impose a self-proclaimed global agenda by killing humanity. What madness is this that the terrorist teacher issue the ticket of paradise to his soldier and marry him to a Hor (beautiful women in paradise) and the soldier confirms the ticket of the paradise by ruthlessly killing innocent humanity including women and children! The obvious madness and in-human thinking behind the rationale of killing fellow human beings including women and children for ones material and animalistic yearnings (Pure Wines and Beautiful Women) is beyond any comprehension and does not deserve any sympathy or empathy. To defeat this kind of terrorism of our region, it is mandatory to understand its causes and modus operandi, without which cure or elimination will not be possible.

Causes of the Terrorism in our Region:

The current wave of terrorism emanates from two sources i.e. Al-Qaeda and the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan. Al-Qaeda is a caricature of Arab Expansionism in the disguise of global Islam. Due to the prevalence of Wahabism in the historical hub of Islam, Arabs have dominated the other Muslims. Due to this Al-Qaeda is a specialist of this kind of terrorism including all its ingredient, organizational structure, techniques and strategies. The second ingredient contributing to this kind of terrorism is the Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan army. The purpose of this policy is to use Jihadi Culture in order to counter India and protect nuclear weapons: to subjugate Afghanistan and making it fifth province or like Azad Kashmir model. The policy was advanced further in 1995 and was decided to make Central Asian Muslim states as their clients states. The Strategic Depth policy of Pakistan army has a complete background. The ideology of nationhood on the basis of religion served its foundation. Cantonments were labeled with the slogans of Jihad Fi Sabel-e-La (Jihad in the name of Allah). Big crossing and turn- abouts in cities were furnished with tanks, fighter planes and replica of the Chaghai hills to make a war-like environment. Instead of a welfare state Pakistan was made a security state. The Objective Resolution (1949) gave birth to Mullah-Military Alliance. The same resolution was included, in letter and spirit, in the constitution by General Zia ul Haq. As a result of religious background, war-like environment, security state and Mullah-Military-Alliance, the first terrorist organizations in the names of Al-Shams and Al-Badarwere launched in Bengal. The defeat in Bengal should have been an eye-opener for the establishment and should have signaled end of the military-Jihadist nexus but unfortunately the same policy was practiced in Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Terrorist organizations like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba and Jash-e-Muhamamd were installed in Kashmir. In Paksitan Sibah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and in FATA Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amarbil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban have been operational.[5]All these organizations were termed as strategic assets. In Afghanistan terrorism was started in 1972. First of all Gulbadin Hikmatyar was brought to Peshawar and Colonel Imam was sent to Afghanistan. During that period and till 1978 Gulbadin Hikmat Yar, Professor Mujadidi, Burhan ud Din Rabbani, Pir Gilani and Abdul Rasool Siaf were trained to be the leaders of terrorists organizations.When these people conquered Afghanistan they tried to stop their patrons from interfering in Afghanistan. Thus strategic assets did not help their patrons. Even then the Army did not learn any lesson here and another asset with the name of Taliban was formed which tuned out to be more aggressive and destructive for Afghanistan. During this time the marriage between Taliban and Al-Qaeda took place and they became the rulers of Afghanistan. Due to the policy of strategic assets the country had already plunged deep into the abyss of terrorism even before 9/11. The riots between Shia and Sunni Sects were a common phenomenon. The suicide bombing in the country was started in 1993. The suicide attack that killed Ahmed Shah Masood was carried out just one day before the 9/11. India and Afghanistan had already been suffering from such attacks. But in due time Pakistan religious extremism spread its tentacles in Pakistan and sectarianism grew. Besides Shia, the Barelvi were also targeted. This is a historical fact that the US, China, Arab countries and Europe helped Pakistan in its aggression against Afghanistan. To quote just one example 24 billion petro-dollars were spent to establish seminaries (religious schools).Military aggression was named as Jihad. The whole environment was favorable to nurture the already strong triangular Mullah-Military-Militant nexus. During the rule of the afore-mentioned religious and military components of terrorism, terrorists from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Sin kiang and other parts of the world came to Afghanistan. Thus Afghanistan became the hub of international terrorism. After 9/11, all these peoples were shifted to FATA. No doubt these terrorists are now present in FATA and elsewhere in the country. There is no denying the fact that these terrorists have occupied FATA and some parts of Punjab like central Punjab and Muridke are their strong holds.

A contradictory Perception in the minds towards terrorism by the people of those areas who are under direct control of terrorists and those who are less are not effected:

FATA and Malakand are the most affected areas due to terrorism. Similarly not a single village or city of Pukhtunkhwa province is spared by terrorists. Although the whole country and even the whole world is suffering from terrorism and the fact that central Punjab or Mureedki is also the hub of terrorists, still it remains a bitter fact that the people of FATA and Pukhtunkhwa are virtually hostage to the terrorists. The perception of terrorism and its causes or their opinions about military operations, the involvement of foreign hands in terrorism and drone attacks are poles apart from the rest of the country.

Why is this contradiction?

One of its reasons is a natural one. There is a Pushtu proverb that burns are felt where there is fire. The second reason is the policy of the government. For example the media policy during General Pervez Musharaf allowed massive coverage to those people who were supporting terrorism. This also includes some of the retired generals, a few journalists and analysts. As a result, those living in other parts of the country or those who were not directly affected by terrorism were uninterruptedly indoctrinated with ideas for about eight years which further helped terrorism. Those living in the war zone are eye witness to all that is happening there and they have their own perception of this war of terrorism. A few examples are:
* It was propagated over the media, though in an implied manner, that terrorism is the continuation of Jihad against the Soviet Russia. The fact is that almost all of those who were fighting against the Russians are eagerly and actively painting on the political canvas of Afghanistan in order to bring stability to the democratic process in Afghanistan. They are the foremost opponents of terrorism. They include professor Mujadidi, Burhan ud Din Rabbani, Pir Gilani and Abdul Rasool Siab, Rasheed Dostam and the party of Ahmed Shah Masood late.
* Only two of the anti-Soviet campaigns are now involved in terrorism i.e. Gulbadin Hikmatyar and Jalal ud Din Haqqani. Gulbadins party is almost non-existent. Only one of his commanders Kashmir Khan and a few friends are supporting him. Haqqani had already joined the Taliban.
* Uzbeks, Chechens, Sudanese and terrorists from Sank yang came to Afghanistan during the period of Taliban. At that time the Soviets had withdrawn and Dr. Najeebs government was toppled. These terrorist did not exists during the war against Soviets.
* None of the Pakistani terrorists organization like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayeeba, Jash-e-Muhamamd Sibah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jangwi, Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Amar-bil-Maroof, Tahreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and Tahreek-e-Taliban had participated in anti-Soviet campaign.
* Even the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have no direct linkage with the anti-Soviet campaign. Despite this, it was propagated over the media that the on-going war is a continuation of the so-called Jihad in Afghanistan. It is propagated that these terrorists were part of the anti-Soviet campaign and they have been living in the tribal areas for thirty years where they had married the local women and thus became part and parcel of the tribal society. The fact is that in the tribal areas a forefinger is never called a native even if had taken asylum and lived there for centuries. Mahsud tribe of South Waziristan had the peculiarity that did not allow a single non local to stay in their area during this whole period.
* Another false propaganda over the media is the number of foreign militants. In the media the number of foreign militants is portrayed as hundred to two hundreds. The reality is that there are 11000 Uzbeks, 6000 Arabs and 9000 Punjabis.From Waziristan to swat the number of Pushtun terrorist is merely 4000 but despite of this fact the whole Pushtun nation is falsely propagated as extremists and terrorist.
* On other issues such as military operations, peace deals and the fighting between army and Taliban the people of war-affected areas have quite a different outlook than those living in the mainland. For example the people of the war-affected areas think that the army and Taliban are not enemies but friends. They have been persistently asking the question why the military failed to target the core leadership of the militants in all the 17 military operations in FATA? This is true that during the military operations the top as well as the second and third cadre leadership were neither killed nor wounded or captured. Moreover, the news of the killing of many terrorist leaders is telecasted several times over the media but they are still alive. Commanders like Ibn-e-Amin, Shah Duran and Ikram ud Din are the prime examples of such false propaganda.In Swat, the news that Fazl Ullah is under a siege was three times telecasted by the ISPR but in the same month it was propagated through media that he had escaped to Afghanistan. Fazl Ullahs close associates Muslim Khan, Haroon and Mahmood were arrested by the militants but six months have passed and nobody knows what happened to them.In the past, Sufi Muhammad was arrested and then released in a so-called peace deal which was imposed upon the political leadership at gunpoint. The valiant police of the province once arrested 28 terrorists with suicide jackets but these terrorists were taken by the intelligence agencies took them away with the plea of further investigation. These people were kept somewhere for few months. They were released on the day when General Pervez Musharaf imposed Emergency Plus.Only a few words came to us about their release. It is due to these reasons that the people of the war-affected areas are neither satisfied with the military operations nor do they entertain false hopes.
* The people of the war-affected areas demand that these terrorists should be hanged in open space like they used to hang innocent civilian or like what they did to Shabana.These people call for a real and targeted military operation and strongly condemn the dramas in the name of military operations. These people do not support any peace deals with the militants but unlike them the rest of Pakistan talk of putting an end to the military operations and resuming the so-called peace deals.
* The issue of Drone attacks is the most important one. If the people of the war-affected areas are satisfied with any counter militancy strategy, it is the Drone attacks which they support the most. According to the people of Waziristan, Drones have never killed any civilian. Even some people in Waziristan compare Drones with Ababels. (The holy swallows send by God to avenge Abraha, the intended conqueror the Khana Kaaba).A component of the Pakistani media, some retired generals, a few journalists/analysts and pro-Taliban political parties never tire in their baseless propaganda against Drone attacks.
* The same is true of the discourse of foreign hands in militancy. In FATA there is either military or the afore-mentioned militant organizations. Majority of the local people have migrated to other parts of the country. Those who could not flee are helpless and nothing is in their control. The questions arises which one of the militant organization is not created by the Pakistan army and which one is serving a foreign agenda? If such is the case Pakistan should raise the issue on UN forum or name the organization which is serving a foreign agenda by using the diplomatic channel. The possibility remains that there is a second or third tier terrorist with a few suicide bombers and he exchanges them for a handsome price. But this is not possible on organizational level and if the chaos persisted for a longer period there is also the possibility that some other countries would jumped into the fray or the UN would bring peace forces to these areas. All the participants agreed that the failure of military operations and the ongoing terrorism which is spreading its tentacles very fast are not because of the inability of the Pakistan army but rather it is a deliberate attempt on the part of our establishment to secure its military assets at every cost.

Terrorism and the Identification of Friends and Foe:

The conference agreed upon the idea that every individual, writer, intellectual, organization or country who is against the terrorists is our friend. Every individual, organization, party or country that provides sanctuary to the terrorists, extend financial or moral support to them or support them in any way like diverting peoples attention to non-issues by concealing the truth about them is a friend of the terrorists and hence an enemy of the participants of the conferencean enemy of Pushtuns, Pakistan and humanity in general. The conference applied the above mentioned criterion to gauge political parties. The participants unanimously reached the conclusions that Jumat-e-Islami, both factions of Jameet-Ulema-e-Islam, Jumat Al-Hadis Sajid Mir Group, Tahreek-e-Insaf, a component of the Pakistani media and establishment are pro-terrorists. All the Baloch Nationalist Parties are apposing terrorism and supporting Drones so they are our friends. Pakistan Muslim Leg (N, Q) are primarily Punjab based parties, and very closed to establishment. There stand against terrorism is vague so they are on our watch list. MQM in it self is a terrorist organization. Though MQM is apposing terrorist but its because that they see their own terrorism vanishing if the new phenomena enters their constituency.

A) Political Recommendations for the Elimination of Terrorism:

1. The conference agreed upon the decision that the strategic depth policy is not only the cause of terrorism but also it is an end in itself regarding terrorism. The policy caused thousands times greater harm to Pakistan than any NRO or writing off debts could do. Due to this policy hundreds of thousands people killed or injured. The policy has pushed Pakistan into such abysmal depths that its foundations are eroding. The conference agreed upon the idea that the people of Pakistan would still be resolute to oppose terrorist ideology even if the US, NATO or ISAF are defeated in Afghanistan and the terrorist capture the throne of Kabul. If the terrorists succeeded in Afghanistan their next target would be Pakistan. Therefore, this policy is destructive for Pakistan and should be abolished above board.

2. Those who framed this policy should be tried in courts.
3. Interference in Afghanistan should be stopped at one and it should be treated as a sovereign neighbor state.
4. Sanctuaries of terrorism in FATA, Pukhtunkhwa province and other parts of the country like those in Bara, Darra Adam Khel, Mechanai, Mirnashah, Mir Ali, Kurram Agency and central Punjab should be destroyed. A brief and targeted military operation should be launched against the terrorists. A half-hearted military operation is only spreading and helping the terrorists. Therefore, the blunders of the past should not be repeated.

5. NATO and ISAF are sent to Afghanistan under UN mandate. NATO and ISAF should stay in Afghanistan until terrorism is uprooted, foreign interference in Afghanistan must be stopped and the institutions of army and police are established on solid footings. However they should offer a clear time frame for the withdrawal of troops. The US has supported some of the terrorist and it still holds a double standard. Americans are blamed to supporting Jandullah Group. Similarly they are least interested in dealing with the terrorist from Sang kiang. Therefore, no peace loving person would tolerate them after terrorism is uprooted.
6. The conference appeals Saudi Arab and other Arab countries to stop financing the terrorists.
7. The Pakistan army should not indulge it self in registration of the IDPs or Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of affected areas. This job should be done by the civilian authority the army should concentrate on elimination of the terrorist.
8. Some political forces and a component of the media and establishment are supporting terrorists. These people are enemy of Pushtuns and Pakistan. Such anti-human forces should be defeated and uprooted.
9. The conference urged to promote AFPAK people to people contacts and demanded both the countries not to pose obstacles in them.
10. Besides uprooting terrorism in FATA the people of FATA should be compensated for the damage done due to terrorism. A comprehensive developmental package should be planned and the people of FATA should be allowed to choose any administrative system for themselves.
11. The so-called nonfunctional terrorist organizations are still operative in the country. Merely naming them dysfunctional would not help. These organizations should be practically eliminated.
12. The conference demands that Pakistan army and intelligence agencies should not interfere in politics. They should do their jobs for which they have been recruited. Army and intelligence agencies should be made subservient to the parliament and their control should be in civilian hands.
13. The conference believes that every democratic government should complete its term. Any conspiracy to derail democracy will be defeated. The conference condemns the media trial of the politicians and the so-called corruption charges against them. The conference strongly demands that the establishment should stop dividing the political parties.
14. The IDPs as a result of army operations should be treated as per UN resolution.
15. The conference agreed that Pushtuns in FATA and Northern Pukhtoonkhwa are made hostage by the terrorists. The terrorists and security personnel are apparently engaged in fighting but their targets are innocent civilians. Four millions Pushtuns are living as IDPs. Our schools are closed and our youth unemployed. Whether there is chance for festivity or an occasion of mourning terrorism is feared. Our Jargas are the target of terrorism. Jargas and Lashkars are banned in tribal areas. In settled areas gatherings and processions are not possible. Local Pushtuns names like Aimal Khan, Darya Khan and Khushal Khan are changed into Abu Zar and Abu Jandal. Pushtun nation is not only hostage to these terrorists but there is also an organized campaign to Arabize them. The whole world is playing its due role against terrorism but the most affected people of this menace are unable to play their effective historical role. The participants in conference agreed that if Pushtuns are given an opportunity to fight terrorism they would definitely deal with the terrorists in their historical courageous way. It is suggested that a grand Pushtun Jarga of the Pushtun of Pakistan should be called upon under the auspices of United Nations. If possible, Afghanistan should also be given representation. The Jarga should deal with the sole agenda how to eliminate terrorism. The Jarga should not be arranged on the traditional pattern; rather it should be given a broader touch by inviting all the Khels and tribes so that they can discuss the matter for two or three days the participation of women in this Jirga must be mandatory. It should be conveyed to all non-Pushtuns that these Jargas are actually time-tested indigenous workshops. We believe that this Jarga would supersede all effective counter terrorism efforts. If succeeded, the same experiments should be repeated with the Pushtuns of Afghanistan.
16. The conference unanimously analyzed that the ground realities suggest terrorism is on the rise and Pushtuns are drifting along the tides of national, social, educational and psychological hopelessness. If terrorism is not uprooted in the upcoming months or if it further increased, Pushtuns would distrust all state institution vis-à-vis eliminating terrorism. In that case Pushtuns will be forced to invite UN peace keeping forces. To avoid the worst scenario the problem of terrorism should be taken seriously. Participants of the conference were unanimous in their thinking that all responsibility would fall on the shoulders of the Pakistani establishment if UN peace-keeping forces landed in the area are the world finally opted to redraw the marking of various countries in the region.

B) Economic Recommendations to Eliminate Terrorism:

Fata and Pukhtunkwha province are the most deprived areas for the past 62 years. The irony is that despite of having vast natural resources and being the richest nation, Pushtuns are the poorest, the most uneducated, the most unemployed and perhaps the most displaced people of the world. The ongoing surge of terrorism is only adding insult to injury. To defeat terrorism, all the deprivations of Pushtuns should be dealt with and their economic problems should be solved. 1. All the aid and international assistance in the name of counter terrorism should be spent on FATA, Pukhtunkwha province and other terror-affected areas. The aid should not be diverted to other provinces or institution as is the routine in Pakistan.
2. Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (Roz) should be established in FATA and the people of FATA should be given its ownership and they should also be equipped with the relevant technical know how.
3. Pukhtunkwha province should be declared as war-affected area and support should be extended till terrorism is uprooted in the from of exemption from taxes and utility bills.
4. In FATA the damages done due to terrorism should be compensated and a comprehensive developmental package approved to compensate the deprivations of the past.
5. An economic database should be established in FATA and Pukhtunkwha province for planning and keeping record of the economic needs.
6. Small and medium enterprises and large scale industries should be planned with the aim of imparting technical know how to the local population.
7. Fata and Pukhtunkwha province should be granted ownership of the resources of water, electricity, tobacco, gas and petrol and full fiscal autonomy should be granted accordingly.
8. Pushtuns living in four divided administrative unitesshould be merged to be gather and made a single united province. Full national autonomy should be granted to this Pukhtun province named Afghania, Pukhtunkhwa or Pukhtunistan. All the liabilities of this province in regard to their resources that are due to the federal government should be paid immediately.
9. Canals from Indus should be networked in Swabi, Shakardara, Laki Marwat and Dera Ismael Khan in order to irrigate and cultivatable 80% of the land which will contribute to the overall agricultural output of the country.
10. In order to increase the hydroelectricity output, the proposed plans in Pukhtuns land should be materialized.

C) Education and Awareness Related Recommendation to Eliminate Terrorism:

The need of education and awareness to combat terrorism should be overemphasized. Terrorism is a global phenomenon but it has become the core issue of Pakistan. The rulers of Pakistan openly admit that Pakistan is in a state of war but unfortunately an open willingness to declare war on terrorism is still a far cry. Minor and poorly coordinated military operations have aggravated the crisis even further. A close examination reveals that the menace of terrorism is spreading deeper and deeper into the society by eroding the basic social fabric.


* The government of Pakistan should institute and initialize a concentrated media campaign against terrorism and activities such as dramas, educational pictures, documentaries etc against terrorism should be promoted.
* The media should play its due role in the fight against terrorism. Pro-terrorism broadcasts should be banned. The media should also realize that discussion of non-issues further plays into the hands of the terrorists. The political parties, civil personalities and Lashkars constituted against terrorism should be given proper media coverage. Positive portrayal of terrorists should be discouraged.
* Suicide bomber is the most lethal weapon in the hands of the terrorists. The experience of last many years has proved that the age of suicide bomber is from 12 20 years. This age group should be educated that this act is against humanity and Islam. A massive campaign in this regard should be lunched in all the schools, seminaries, every house and village and off course the media should be utilize for this propos and repeatedly re-telecasted. If we are able to educate this age group it would been that the terrorists will use their major weapon.

Education and Religious Seminaries:

1. Budget allocation for education should be increased.
2. Education should be acknowledged as a basic human right.
3. Education till matriculation should be provided free of cost and elementary education up to grade 8 should be made compulsory. Female education should be emphasized.
4. Admission to higher educations should be based on merit while special arrangement should be made to secure the rights of the backward areas and lower classes.
5. Participatory teaching methodology should be introduce in education.
6. Corporal punishment should be banned in educational institutions.
7. The syllabus of education should be renewed. The curriculum should be designed on broader humanistic goals and the aims of good citizenship.
8. Modern scientific knowledge should be imparted on the basis of research and creativity.
9. Laboratories and libraries should be declared necessary for all institutions and all areas.
10. The need to inculcate the qualities of tolerance, peace and democracy should be emphasized and the contributions of people having these qualities should be highlighted to inspire the youth.
11. All the material regarding hate, prejudice and Jihad should be removed from the curriculum.
12. Sectarianism and religious hatred in any form should be termed as terrorism and the persons involved in such activities should be severely punished.
13. All the seminaries that have direct or indirect link with terrorists should be closed and Fatwas (Religious Decree) should be obtained from the remaining against the current terrorists.
14. Orthodox seminaries should be streamlined and made answerable to the government.
15. Old history of the region and the consequent major historical events should be incorporated in the curriculum.
16. The curriculum should cater for broader national, regional and international understanding.
17. Healthy co-curricular activities should be made compulsory.
18. Gender equality should be ensured in Education and it should be taught to the students. Discriminatory customs, traditions, laws and curriculum against women should be undone.
19. Parent Teachers Association/ council should also be made compulsory for every school.
20. Students Unions should be reinstated and literary and cultural activities should be termed mandatory in colleges.

D) Cultural Recommendation for the Elimination of Terrorism:

Pushtun nation has 6000 years old strong cultural heritage. Pushtun society and culture is the main target of the current wave of terrorism. Jargas, Lashkars and Collective Responsibility are the three hallmarks of social and cultural fabrics in the tribal areas. Terrorism has targeted these three pillars of the tribal structures in a very organized way. As a result the society has become vulnerable.
If we empower Pushtuns socially and culturally it would mean we have won 50% of the war against terror.
1. There is a dire need to instill a new life in Jarga, Hujra and Lashkar and reorganize them on modern modalities.
2. Arts Councils should be established in every district.
3. Community Centers should be set up in every district.
4. Pushtu Literary and Cultural Centers should be organized keeping the Press Clubs modality in view.
5. In this regard the literary organizations which are already contributing should be supported and Peace Committees should be organized in all parts of FATA and Pukhtunkwha province.
6. All illegal FM channels should be closed at once and the perpetrators should be severely dealt with.
7. FM channels should be started by the government to promote peace, development and Pushtun culture.
8. The artists who suffered due to terrorism should be compensated on emergency footings The female artists must also be compensated.
9. Fine Arts departments should be opened in colleges and universities and other educational institutions should be encouraged in this regard.
10. Pakistani media should take measures to discourage the negative trends of presenting Pushtuns as backward, ignorant, extremists and terrorists.
11. A national TV channel for Pushtuns should be started.
12. All those cultural activates should be banned which are against the basic human rights especially against the rights of women.
13. In FATA and Pukhtunkwha museums related to the historical, literary and political personalities should be established for example Khushal Khan Khattak, Aimal Khan Momand, Darya Khan Afridi, Umara Khan, Pir Rokhan, Faqir Ipi, Baacha Khan, Abbdul Samad Khan Achakzai and Sanubar Hussain Kaka Ji.
14. Pushtu should be declared as official language and it should be made the language of education courts and offices.
15. The sign boards should be written in mother tongue.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Pipeline Deal: Signs of the emerging pattern of alliances in Eurasia?

Syed Fazl-e-Haider, author of a book on the development of Baluchistan, has recently published an announcement in Asia Times Online that Iran and Pakistan have signed a final agreement for the construction of a gas pipeline that would serve Pakistan and conceivably might be extended into India. There have been financial difficulties, however, as Pakistan has so far not been able to arrange the cash, the Americans being no help as they are against the deal.  China has a great interest in the agreement and others with Pakistan, and may come to the rescue.  The US has been opposed to much of what the Iranians have tried to do since Khomeini came to power in 1979.

The plan is for Iran to provide 750 million cu ft of gas per day through this pipe for the next 25 years. This is a big for Pakistan, which is 3,000 megawatts short of electric power. Contracts like this seem to me worth a close watch as they are the material and technological links through which goods are transported ever more cheaply and in larger amounts faster from localities of production to consuming communities, the long term effect being to link peoples ever closer together. And their expense helps link political and military interests. These are the physical instruments of world shrinkage and international alliances. That such agreements are being worked out in the face of American opposition is not especially new but it indicates the actual realities of our world -- namely, that local interests trump those of the hegemon whenever possible.

There is more in the offing, according to Fazl-e-Haider: China wants to build a pipeline from Iran to China through Pakistan. That would be a huge project: it would mean taking the pipeline through the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan where the Khunjerab Pass is over 15,000 feet through one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. Such is China's interest in energy. And such is China's belief that Pakistan is over the long term "safe" territory, safe politically.  China seems to be viewing Pakistan and Iran as long term partners worth establishing enduring ties with.

Deals like this suggest where the world is trending, worth watching with some care.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A source from Pakistan

A good friend has sent me a copy of a report from a source on the ground in Pakistan.  This is a helpful view of what is going on among the peoples of Pakistan.

Zubair Torwali pleads the case for a misunderstood people

Victims of their neighbours. Voiceless people?

What has happened in the region and what is happening now is the result of the conflicting agendas of the major powers involved in the game. In this mess the neighbours of the Pashtun region between the Oxus and the Indus are as responsible as the big powers.

The fact that Pashtuns living on both sides of the Durand Line are bearing the brunt of terrorism and the War on Terror is an obvious truth. As scapegoats for the last three decades, sometimes in the name of a 'Jihad' against the communist regime of the former USSR, sometimes in the name of strategic depth against contending neighbours, and now in the name of the so-called war on terror, the voices of the Pashtuns have not been adequately heard.

In this game the major players never bother about the actual people of the region. What has happened in the region, and what is happening now, is the result of the conflicting of agendas between the major players involved. In this mess, the neighbors of the Pashtun region - between the Oxus and the Indus - are as responsible as the big powers. Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Russia and the USA all have their own plans for the region at the cost of the destruction and genocide of the Pashtuns. Specifically, these states have designs which are irreconcilable with each other. Pakistan has always wanted a dependent regime in Kabul, one which would have no connection with India. Iran and Saudi Arabia have colliding agendas in the region, mainly based on sectarian grounds. Similarly China and the USA have their designs as well. But the most regretful and astonishing aspect of this game is that these players have never regarded the Pashtun people of the region as human beings. On the contrary, they have tried to make these people mere scapegoats. The realization of this crucial game is now greatly felt by the Pashtun intelligentsia on either side of the Durand Line.

For the last two months this writer has been engaged in an online discussion with many of the Pashtun intelligentsia. The discussion covers topics from politics to the phenomenon of global jihad. In this article some of the main concerns are given.   First, the Pashtun see the famous policy of 'strategic depth' as a deep grave for the Pashtun people. They are not reluctant about expressing their conviction that the Punjabi-dominated establishment of Pakistan has made the Pashtun people scapegoats for the 'survival' of Pakistan. They contend that what is happening in the region after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan in the late eighties has its roots in this "strategic depth policy"; and in this Pakistan has been helped by the Wahabi state of Saudi Arabia. To further this policy, they first produced the Mujahideen who were used against the Soviet Union. When this failed to achieve anything, the Taliban were installed in Afghanistan, who brought the peace of the graveyard into Afghanistan through the use of brute force against those who did not support the medieval version of Islam they wished to impose. Initially, the United States was happy with what was going on in Afghanistan, After 9/11, things took a serious turn. After the USA's direct intervention in Afghanistan, the strategic depth policy dragged the war to the eastern side of the Durand Line and into the settled areas of the Pashtun population.

Second, the Pashtun intelligentsia sounds off on its grievances against the mainstream media, particularly in Pakistan. In spite of the brutality that the Taliban has inflicted upon women, children, the general public and the security forces, elements in the media still remain who support the militants and their version of jihad.

Besides that the media provide more space to pro-strategic depth and anti-Pashtun elements. People who spout the waging of jihad on neighbouring states are given extra space on the electronic media, whereas those who talk sense, keeping ground realities in view, are labeled as being treacherous or unpatriotic. Further, the media has continued to harp on issues for which it seems they are paid by some hidden forces. For example the media hype against the corruption of a single individual who happens to be the president of Pakistan. Thus the media ignores the core issues of security and Pashtun genocide.

No section of the media raise voices of protest against the banning of coverage during the South Waziristan operation. The talk-shows, which mainly mould the opinions of viewers, do not give due space to the Pashtun scholars and leaders. Instead they often invite 'analysts' who do not even know the geography of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Thus the Pashtun intelligentsia has started to think this selective and exclusive approach in the mainstream media is a threat to the national integrity of Pakistan, thus ringing memories of the exclusion of Bengalis before the partition of Pakistan.

Thirdly, the drone attacks on the Al-Qaeda and Taliban hideouts of the in the Pakistani territory of FATA are seen by the Pashtuns not as an infringement of sovereignty but as a precise weapon which has to this date killed some of the top leaders of Al-Qaeda and Taliban. This hype in the name of sovereignty is an effort by the pro-Taliban segments of the media who want to protect them as strategic assets.

Fourth, the Pashtun intelligentsia is very sensitive about their identity issue. They think the North West Frontier Province should be given a specific name. They would like the province to be named Pukhtunkhwa, but a number of them also see Afghaniya as an applicable alternative.

These concerns and grievances are not baseless, since the Pashtun are the direct victims of terrorism and counter-terrorism. The Pakistani designers of foreign policy, the media and civil society need to listen to the Pashtun, as should the international community as well.

The writer is a freelance analyst and social activist based in Swat, Pakistan, and coordinates the Center for Education and Development there. Email:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bhadrakumar's recent postings: valuable signs of shifting affairs in Central Asia and Afghanistan

M K Bhadrakumar of Asia Times Online has recently published two valuable reports worth careful attention.  The one that appeared on January 8 reveals how the struggle for pipeline access to the gas and oil fields of Central Asia [the "energy war"] is shaping up.  The one dated March 13, 2010, is about the tug of war over how to settle the conflict in Afghanistan.

Both of these you should read through.  The world we live in is not the same as it was and will not be the same tomorrow.  As we best can, we would like to track with it.  

Despite a likely pro-Indian bias, this guy's work helps us gain a sense of how affairs are moving.  


On pipelines in Central Asia:

On the efforts to develop a secure agreement for peace in Afghanistan