Pakhtunkhwa referendum – what will be the criteria?


September 12, 2009 (The Frontier Post)

In 1933 Chowdary Rehmat Ali a young thoughtful politician and lawyer was the first man to who prepared the word ‘Pakistan’. He took the first letters of the five areas of the north namely ‘P’ from Punjab, ‘A’ from Afghan or Afghhnia, ‘K’ from Kashmir, ‘S’ from Sind and ‘Tan’ from Balochistan and gave it the name of Pakistan. Later he also formed the ‘Pakistan National Movement’. But he did not agree with final map of Pakistan. So historically and officially the name proposed for NWFP is Afghania. But sorry to say pashtoons are left deprived of their name. And now when they struggle for thier due right the “P” for Politicians of Punjab opposes them or suggests a way out that can create problems. Nawaz Sharif has asked for a referendum on this issue. Will he also suggest a referendum on the question of creating of new province in Punjab? Because that issue got momentum in last few months. But that was rejected on the ground that there is no need of new provinces at this critical time.

What is the real motive behind referendum? Actually up till now the issues raised by Nwaz sharif, have caused bitterness and hostility among the political parties. It is said that Judiciary issue has ended with success. But if looked impartially it had even created problem within judiciary on one side and on the other side now Judiciary is becoming a hurdle in the way of executive. Judiciary is still playing in the hands of politicians. Common people have gained nothing. Musharaf Trial is not a public demand. But just an issue which can keep PML-N in headlines. In the war of terror PML-N contribution is negligible. The credit goes to PPP, ANP and MQM. As a whole there is cooperation here in this province among political parties.  If we decide the Pakhtoonkhwa issue by referendum so it can create bitterness among the political parties. And that is real motive of PML-N. Because ANP in not in favour of so called Musharaf’s Trial.

In the past “Jinah pur” was a nightmare for Nawaz Sharif and now Pahtoonkhwa. After coming back to Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has turned stubborn. It is a fact that his popular majority government was overthrown by a Military dictator and no body protested for Nawaz Sharif. But will he punish the entire nation for this? He may get the wrong end of the stick by studding the surveys about his popularity. Musharaf was also once a popular leader according these surveys. When Nawaz government was overthrown the people distributed sweets. Now for Musharaf’s trial we must also conduct a referendum. Because his party PML-Q has got maximum votes in the elections of 2008.

Some of our analysts are of the opinion that it can open a new Pandora box. It can create a possibility for formation of Saraiki province. It means that there is also a struggle for Saraiki province but it is suppressed by the establishment. And by the way if there is any uprising in any area so can it be controlled by closeting our eyes to it? If yes so why there are crisis in Balochistan? Because we have ignored this issue for decades. The same will take place in the matter of Pahktoonkhwa. We had started a Khalafat movement for the restoration of Ottoman Empire. We raised voices for the liberation of Palatine, Iraq and so many other international issues. But it’s shocking that our politicians suggest referendum for the solution of internal problem. If referendum is the way to solve problems so what is the need for elected assemblies. The affairs of the state can be run by beaurocracy. We must just conduct referendums to collect the popular view points to guide the establishment.

One of a leading media group has conducted a survey under the label “What our viewers say on The Pakhtoonkhwa issue”. Most of the people rejected the name Pakhtoonkhwa. While some have suggested referendum on this matter. A few suggested that we must concentrate on other issue like economy. Alas our politician could understand this last suggestion. Obviously there is an argent need of policy making on the issue of financial crisis. But our politicians have engaged the nation, media, and judiciary in non issues. An elected assembly passed resolution on this matter but still we don’t understand why some politicians and media groups advocate a costly and uncertain concept of referendum. What will be the formula for this referendum? How many votes should be cast in the favour of Pakhtoonkhwa?  A simple majority is enough? Then why not a simple resolution from an elected provincial assembly?

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