Rethinking Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa-Hazara


Syed Ali Ehsan April 15, 2010

ABOTTABAD: It’s a fragile peace that has descended on Abbottabad. After the replacement of the DIG and the promised release of the protesters arrested by the police, the leader of the Hazara Qaumi Tehrik (HQT) Sardar Haider Zaman has called off the general strike.

Meanwhile, the NWFP government has ordered a judicial inquiry, spearheaded by Justice Abdul Aziz of the Peshawar High Court, into the violence. But analysts say this calm will be short lived. The issue erupted over the proposed renaming of the NWFP. The all-party Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms agreed to change the name of the province to Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa and that is how it was passed by the 292-members- present-and-voting in the National Assembly.

While the PML-N did get cold feet shortly before the National Assembly session, it came around eventually. And that is when the PML-Q began vociferously protesting against the proposed name, slinging mud alternately at the ANP and the PML-N. The protests started in many major cities besides Abbottabad.

And the PML-Q supporters were soon joined by people who claimed to be the original Hazarewal and demanded their own province. Matters came to a head on Monday with violent clashes between the police and protesters in Abbottabad, which left eight dead and scores injured.

The city erupted in wave after wave of protest, with people insisting that the police had fired on peaceful demonstrators. HQT called for a general strike, blocked all major arteries into the city, including the Karakoram Highway, and many more clashes followed. Eventually, in a bid to appease the protesters, the district administration sacked the DIG and called off section 144 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the parties continue to bicker. At an address in Haripur, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif said his party had no objections to the creation of Hazara province and blamed the PML-Q for violence in the area. He pointed out that PML-Q had been humbled in elections in the area and were now trying for cheap popularity by playing on emotions.

Addressing the media, he reiterated that the issue of the 18th amendment should not have been clubbed with the issue of renaming NWFP. He said PML-N’s MPs from Hazara had serious reservations over the renaming of NWFP. Meanwhile, the PML-Q leadership on Wednesday also supported the demand of the Hazara people to form a separate unit in the region.

Speaking to journalists after chairing a meeting of his party’s central executive committee in Islamabad, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said his party would also support people from the Seraiki belt if they wanted a province of their own. He also blamed the PML-N for complicating the renaming issue by supporting it at the ‘cost of national unity’.

Abbottabad saw peaceful protests at Fawara Chowk and Missile Chowk. The day saw Zaman appealing to traders to resume commercial activity and call off the strike, political analysts say the worst isn’t over yet. The issue, they say, has turned into one of ethnicity.

While the protesters were less violent, argue these observers, they also distributed copies of the map of the new Hazara province, a sign that they’re not going to give in that easy.The reason for the scaling down is the PMA passing out parade on April 17, conjecture the analysts who think uniformed friends may have convinced the protesters to back down, for now. While Zaman admits to this in passing, he says the effects on the economy are the main reason he has called off the strike.

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COMMENTS (12)

Arshad | 11 years ago | Reply People of Hazarawal are demanding separate province since long from the platform of Hazara Quami Mahaz (HQM). After renaming the province Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, almost all political parties in the region has started demanding a separate province named "Hazara". The leading distinctive features of Hazara are its mountain ranges, the plains, the valleys and the lakes. The area blessed with the rich and harmonious combination of tall and stately fine trees, high mountains, plains, beautiful valleys and lakes, which make it a heaven of peace. Hazara has the major industry of NWFP, including TIP, Hattar Industrial state. This region is famous for Tarbela Dam Haripur(Tarbela Dam is a dam on the Indus River. It is one of the largest earth filled dams in the world and it produces most of Pakistan's hydroelectricity), Kakul military academy Abbottabad, tea plantation and best grade tobacco of Pakistan, Karakoram highway pass through Hazara, while not through rest of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. It is a fact that major resources of Hazara region were used for the development of other part of the province. Development work was not done in Hazara region since independence, because of the prejudiced attitude of the Pakhtoon. We should not forget that, ANP opposed Pakistan at the time of independence and even now, internally they are working for Greater Paktunistan.. Their elders even refused to buried in Pakistan. Everyone, must have seen that how DIG Abbottabad (a Pakhtoon ) ordered to kill 11 & injured over 100 innocent people of Hazara. After this killing, not a single leader from ANP visited Hazara region. One of their top leaders says on national media what happened if 7 or 8 people have been killed in Abbottabad (SHAME ON THESE PEOPLE). **Since, people of Hazara has different language, different culture, different values, different customs and above all, after renaming the province name on ethnic ground, people of Hazara are justified to demand a separate province (HAZARA PROVINCE.** Government of Pakistan should not waist time to announce Hazara Province, because, this is their legitimate demand.
Hayat Advocate | 11 years ago | Reply Being a nation, it is our misfortune that we always preferred individual or/and group interest over national interests. At the moment, this ill-fated nation is facing thousand of confusions and finds itself in the whirlpool of problems, but no political party is seriously heading towards this national menace. Over 80% population of our native land is living below poverty line, the entire nation is suffering the ghost of terrorism and justice and peace is something unbelievable and imaginative to us. Despite these, the buying capacity of the people is giving way to helplessness and starvation, education is being considered to be the sole rights of only well offs, the outdated spell of social fabric is gaining momentum, our economy is deteriorating with a constant pace, the very image of our mother land is going to be deteriorated, a Pakistani feel shame abroad when being asked who are you? And energy crises’ are threatening the poor nation with a certain calamity. Is the nation in necessity of solving the abovementioned or they needed the "Name Change" in the moment? This is a big question mark before those who are just tracing their individual and group (party) interests. Though I am not opposing the name change, but I am sorry to say that it was and is not the priority of the nation at the moment. However, a journey of thousand miles must be started by a fist steep, the Name change was a problem or has been projected to be a problem and that is solved which is something to be reckoning with. But it is my request rather begging those in power that now the attention and energies may please be channelized towards the solution of the real problems.
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