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14th August Special Program with Zaid Hamid, Imran Khan and Ahmed Quraishi

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Recently, I interviewed two of my friends (Ali and Ahmed*) who have worked inside the IDP relief camps. These friends went to IDP camps in early July and since then many IDPs have moved back to their homes in Swat, Malakand and Buner area. Many other refugees have not yet been able to return home, but the situation is improving at the moment. The lack of funds is still is a big problem for the people and the government because the costs of rebuilding entire towns, villages and infrastructure are enormous.

Before we get into the interviews which follow, it is important that the reader know something about the Pathans. The vast Majority of the people living in NWFP (North West Frontier Province are Pathans). Pathans are an ethnic group that speaks the Pashto language. Pathans, or Pushtoon, are also the majority population of Afghanistan. Pushtoons are able fighters and accustomed to living under harsh climatic conditions. Pushtoons were part of most armies that ruled the region and the Indian Sub-continent and they are also staunch Muslims.

Pushtoons have contributed a great deal to the development and prosperity of the Pakistan. Many of Pakistan’s prominent personalities have been Pushtoon. Pushtoons for the most part follow their own tribal laws and customs, and they are very strict about those laws. To the Western world it seems confusing when Pushtoons fight with one another, but these are easily understood as any group struggles for internal control. It’s also important to understand that they have have many tribal laws and customs, which have nothing to do with Islam but rather, are based on their tribal laws and Jirga (council of leaders). Western pressure, western backed NGO’s, military action, political pressure, or other such urbane machinations cannot force the Pushtoons to change these laws or to amend them. Pushtoons are also the backbone of the Pakistan Army, the most powerful institution of Pakistan. Pathans are proficient with the use of modern technology and equipment and they are innovative in new business and customs but they will not alter their tribal codes or laws.

The Pathans are staunchly religious and don’t think of Afghanistan as a foreign country because Afghanistan has a majority population of Pushtoons. The Pushtoons are strongly opposed to the U.S.-led war and they consider the U.S. occupation force to be a repetition of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Pushtoons are also unhappy with the Pakistan Government because both the current Zardari government and the earlier Musharraf government are puppets of the United States. They also view the rest of the Pakistani elite class and politicians and the majority of the Pustoon politicians to be corrupt and Pro-U.S. for their own self interest.

TM = Talha Mujaddidi, Axis of Logic Columnist
RW = Relief Workers being interviewed.


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