Home Political History Abdul Samad Khan’s Perceptions of Pashtoonistan (Part-II)

Abdul Samad Khan’s Perceptions of Pashtoonistan (Part-II)

Abdul Samad Khan’s Perceptions of Pashtoonistan (Part-II)

Abdul Samad Khan opposed the British imposed system of Nawabs and Sardars, and had also demanded the abolition of Sardari and Nawabi system in Pakistan.

By Aman Ullah and Dr. Kaleem Ullah Khan Barech

[Pak-Afghan border remain one of the important factor, which influenced Pak-Afghan relation since the emergence of Pakistan. It is important to highlight the significance of Durand line in historical perspective. At one end Durand line is internationally agreed as border between Pakistan and Afghanistan but on the other side time and again officials from Afghanistan denied it. This resulted in the sparking of a movement in Pashtun areas of Pakistan to undo Durand Line and include the Pashtun areas of Pakistan in Afghanistan. This movement was named as Pashtoonistan movement and it lasted basis in the province of KPK and Balochistan. The main supporters of the moment were some Pashtun nationalist, whom politically supported the idea of Pashtoonistan. This paper deals with the perspective of Abdul Samad Khan Achekzai regarding Pashtoonistan. Abdul Samad Achekzai was the pro-Pashtun nationalist leader, whose political idea dominated Pashtun-nationalist political perspective in Balochistan. This research aims to explore and analyze the perceptions of Abdul Samad Khan Achekzai regarding Pashtoonistan. This work is important as Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP) inherited the legacy of Abdul Samad Khan and PkMAP is one of the dominant political parties of Balochistan (Southern Pakhtunkhwa)]

The Afghanistan government used the word Pashtoonistan for their claimed area Pakistani territory. These claims can be seen in the statements of the officials from Afghanistan like Muhammad Tarzi and also of Mohammad Daoud (President and Prime Minister of Afghanistan). Daoud in an interview while explaining Afghanistan’s stance over Pashtoonistan stated that “The decisions of the Loya Jirgah and the Parliament and the official statements of the governments in Afghanistan about Pashtoonistan have been given at every occasion and opportunity in which our position has been explained”. He also declared Pashtoonistan issue as the one and only factor influencing Pak-Afghan relations. He stated that, “… [We] cannot accept negotiation with preconditions. I wish to tell you clearly that between Afghanistan and Pakistan no other problem exists except that of the Pashtoonistan issue. If a solution based upon reality is found for it then, as I have stated times and again and say again now, no other problem will remain when this sole issue is solved” (Ibid, p.3). Pakistan governing elite developed a deep distrust of even the words Pashtunkhwa and Pashtoonistan.

During the 1950s, many factions of Pashto also supported Pakhtunistan. Some of them work in partnership with Afghanistan as will with India. Intelligence reports reveal that the administrator of the Pashto Unit at All India Radio (AIR) in New Delhi, with the name of Anwarul Haq Gran was also the Chief Co-ordinator of the Pashtoonistan movement (NDC, 4 March 1950). Nasrullah Khan Nasr was the Secretary of the Adabi-Tolae (organization for the advancement of Pashto), used to provide news to Afghan Consul in Peshawar about the run of the movement in NWFP. Similler reports were also given about the patronage of Pashtu in schools to provide base for the movement (NDC, 4 March 1950). The government of Pakistan’s state agent at Federally Administrative Tribal Area (FATA) shows the number of Afghan agents, who support Pashtoonistan movement were 1,500 (NDC, 19 January 1950). The “Pashto Tolane” of Kabul was also reported to be involved in the support of Pashtoonistan movement against Pakistan. A secret report reveals that, “[The Pashto Tolane] is the main organization responsible for the development and propagation of the Pashto language and literature for the dissemination of Pathan culture in Afghanistan. Actually it serves the double purpose of a Pashto Academy and a mighty machine that is zealously advocating the Pathanistan ideal” (NDC, August 20, 1950).

These reports made Pakistani government officials so suspicious of Pashto that all Pashto publications were to be monitored. As Pashtuns nationalists, the supporters of Khan Ghaffar Khan and his son Wali Khan gave primacy to their Pashtuns identity over the Muslim or the Pakistani one, discussions on the issue often grew bitter. Pashto, being a symbol of this identity, was always supported by the Pashtuns nationalists.

Abdul Samad Khan’s Perception of Pashtoonistan

Abdul Samad khan Achekzai had political alliance with Indian National Congress (INC) and after the foundation of Pakistan the Pashtoonistan issue was boosted by Pashtun ethno-nationalists with the help of Afghanistan government. The Pakhtunistan was perceived at least in three ways. The Afghan Government wanted it as a separate state comprised of Pashtun areas of Pakistan. Khan Abdul Ghaffar khan and his followers perceived it as movement for joining Afghanistan and establishment of Pashtun state comprised of Afghanistan and Pashtun areas of Pakistan.

Abdul Samad khan perceived it as separate province of Pakistan comprising all Pashtuns of Pakistan. However, the Historian could not differentiate between the political thoughts of Wali khan and Samad khan. In November 10, 1969 in a press conference Abdul Samad khan Achekzai clearly stated that “I was against the Idea of Pakistan, but with the formation of Pakistan, I am a patriot citizen of Pakistan. The peculiar person can oppose Pakistan. He further explained that we will oppose every action of Afghanistan, which is against Pakistan.

In 1972, Abdul Samad khan Achekzai rejected the views of Afghan Foreign Minister, who claimed that Pakistan forcefully included Balochistan as a part of Pakistan. He believed that the accession of Balochistan was done through democratic process although he participated as a spokesman of Indian National Congress (INC). It was done through referendum; in which all the members of Shahi Jirga, which was the political authority of Balochistan at that time.

However, earlier in 1939, Abdul Samad Khan rejected the idea that Anjuman-e-Watan is a branch of Indian National Congress. In the annual session of Anjuman in 1939, he clearly stated that the working and its effect on the local level cravings that it should remain a local party instead of a national level. In the same session he further highlighted the misperceptions about the Anjuman on both public and official level.

ABDUL_SAMAD_KHANAbdul Samad Khan in his presidential address stated that, to represent Anjuman as Congress of Balochistan is a false thinking, which propagated by those who wants to defame a political party which is established on the basis of local interest. This cares the rights of local, especially the welfare of workers and formers. I do not want nor is needed to waste my time for explaining and answering that Congress is a Hindu party. If Anjuman would become Congress, I will not object nor feel shame of it. But at the time being in it wrong and not correct to say that Anjuman has the applied system and ideology of Congress, which is spread all over India. It (Congress) has its own members, committees and plague, as well ruling in eight provinces. Thus I am going to announce that our party (Anjuman-e-Watan) is not part of it (Congress), nor appellation with it, nor we worked according to the advice of Congress. We also have no intentions to become part of Congress, earlier this year (1939) and last year (1938) we had rejected such two proposals. Here I have to explain that nor I am member of any committee of Congress, nor do I have any political relations with the leadership of Congress. My relations with congress leaders are in personal capacity, which are just caused by the British cruelty toward our political workers. We just want to secure ourselves from the cruelty of the members of British Jirga and their masters the British.

From the above facts the concept of Abdul Samad Khan is clear, that he was neither part of Congress plan against the creation of Pakistan and never opted for the creation of a separate state. He was working for the rights of Pashtuns, as he perceives Pashtun as an oppressed nation. The misconception was the result of ambiguities produced by the name Pashtoonistan. Abdul Samad khan was demanding the unification of Pashtun under a single administration. For him this unified administration was to be named as Pashtoonistan, Afghania or Pashtunkhwa.

However before not only the creation of Pakistan but also the commencement of Pakistan in 1939, when Abdul Samad Khan was addressing the annual session of Anjuman-e-Watan he rejected the congress and also express his sorrow about the attitude of leadership of Muslim League for their ignorance of British Balochistan. Abdul Samad Khan expressed his feelings in these words. In the resent session of All India Muslim League … focused was laid over those issues which are the result of its rivalry with Congress. Similar is the case of Congress. Both parties are playing with their old rivalries. In Punjab, Sindh and Sarhad (Frontier) none of them established government… but was of mutual understanding of the locals. Similar is the here (British Balochistan). In this session (of Muslim League) the resolutions are passed over issues of national level and also over the political opposition (of Congress), but the local issues, tribal rivalries and the (local) public were ignored.

Analysing the political ideas of Abdul Samad Khan it become clear that he was not against the creation of Pakistan but his concentration was on local issues, which he thought were ignored by the All India

Muslim League. After the creation of Pakistan, he appreciated the policy of Muslim League for the amalgamation of the princely states of Pashtun inhabitation in a single administration. Abdul Samad Khan expressed his concerns that the prevailing conditions will push Pashtuns for separation.

Therefore, he was requesting each member of the committee to have notice of that point. He stated that, “I am providing this proposal with the aim to direct the cause of separation idea and to normalize and dilute the feelings for integration as well to minimize the privileged fairing thoughts of discrimination. The feelings of … discrimination and the wishes and hopes for being in a single administration is not only the wish of a single group or individual but also of all Pashtuns. These are also represented by the decision of the Muslim League … to amalgamate the Pashtun States, Agencies and Frontier Province in a single administration”.

Abdul Samad Khan desired a single and uniform administration for the Pashtuns of Pakistan. The wished name of the unified administration was inspired by the name given to other provinces of Pakistan. For example, the Baloch dominated area was named as Balochistan, the Punjabi dominated area was named as Punjab and the Sindhi dominated province was called as Sindh. Abdul Samad Khan was a keen observer, who noticed that in South Asia the clash remains always among the groups on linguistic basis. Thus he wanted a province for the Pashtuns to avoid the clash with other ethnicities and create an environment for the peaceful progress.

Some people misunderstood the word Pashtun, Pathan and Afghan. They believe that the Pashtuns of Pakistan who had started the Pashtoonistan Movement they have some political relation with Afghanistan or this movement will bring Pashtuns territory under the control of Afghanistan government. They also believe that Pashtoonistan means the establishment of an independent state comprising the Pashtuns inhabited areas of Pakistan. Interestingly these perceptions are also present among in some circles of Pashtun also. (Continues)


Courtesy: Bilingual/Bi-annual Pakistan Studies English / Urdu Research Journal VOl.No.09, Issue No. 01 January -June, 2019

Click here for Part-I 



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