IT is a general perception regarding Pakhtun people that they are prejudiced and narrow minded by nature. Even they are not prepared to give freedom and human rights to the people living on the globe. Especially, their women are confronted with many problems and issues in their marginalized society. Moreover Pakhtuns are also considered to be extremist and violent people, as they are continuously involved in interfaith riots, sectarianism and exploitation of the women and others regarding evils prevailing in society. It is never proved at any time in the history of mankind that Pakhtuns are violent and fundamentalist. It is indeed a totally wrong and fallacious concept and has no link with truth and reality in any form and shape.
Basically, Pakhtuns are liberal and free minded people. They not only want progress and development for themselves but also want to see peace, progress and development in the world over. They are in quest to get excellence in the race of progress and surpass the other advanced nations of the world. Furthermore in Pakhtuns society, people attached with other religions and notions also enjoy equal rights and liberties at their own sweet will. In other words, followers of other religions and beliefs live a free and independent life in this society. Pakhtun women are also regarded with great honour and veneration. Thus it reflects the nefarious designs of all those elements that are antagonistic to the very existence of Pakhtun people. This feature and fact is testimony to the fact that the impression labelled by the world community against Pakhtun does not match or reflect the culture and history of Pakhtun society. It seems to be a collective and well planned conspiracy hatched by the different forces to malign and tarnish the true image of Pakhtuns.
For this very reason the distinguished writer, analyst and thinker Salim Raz has aptly remarked that verily Pakhtun is progressive and independent nation by nature and its main proof is the Pakhtun culture and society itself. Where like all other features and tributes, the concept of Hujra and Jumat (mosque) owes much weight and significance and both the institutions play vital roles in Pakhtun life and society. They represent and magnify our culture, civilization and social ethics. With the help of Hujra and Masjid we can judge the main principle of life ie love, unity, respect and other social political and economic values of our life which can best be realized in our society. Similarly the Pakhtun nation also extends great respect to religious norms and traditions. They do not like to have any conflict with religion. Even from the very beginning religious extremism is not visible in nature and life of Pakhtun people. The Pakhtun society from very inception has been a peace loving society. Nevertheless as far as our internal riots and conflicts are concerned – have some other peculiar reasons and causes. In other words these feuds and disputes among various factions of Pakhtun society arose due to some other reasons.
But in this regard the institution of Jirga (a reconciliatory body) plays a vital role in resolving the issues of conflicts amicably. The elders or elites of the areas try their level best to resolve the issue through the system of jirga among the factions. The history is also testimony to the fact that we never see any evidence or proof of Pakhtun involvement in any dispute of sectarian or religious nature. They are being labelled as violent and warrior people. It is a nation which wants progress and development with the help of knowledge and research. So that the future generation could be able to see a stable, peaceful, educated, prosperous, developed and enlightened Pakhtun society.
—The writer is freelancer, based in Buner, KP