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Joint Pashtun intellectual forum being established

Joint Pashtun intellectual forum being established

Nov 12, 2016 - 20:02

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan and Pakistani culturists and civil society activists on Saturday decided to assess and find solutions to problems being faced by people living on both sides of the Durand Line through a joint intellectual forum.

The decision came at a two-day seminar “Culture Corridor: A path towards people’s solidarity” in Kabul. The seminar was arranged by Afghan and Pakistani culturists and civil society activists in cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Tribal and Border Affairs.

One of the seminar organizers, Khoshal Rohi, a member of the joint jirga of Afghan Culture Association, said the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line were burning in flames of the war.

“The game is not ours, but we are dying on both sides. Unfortunately, we are victim of terrorism as well as accused of terrorism.”

Rohi said as long as Pashtuns living in Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa did not join hands and shun their differences, they would not be able to live in peace and prosperity, a reason he cited behind arranging the seminar.

“In the two-day seminar, the participants will discuss problems, challenges, capacities and opportunities and practical mechanisms in this regard. In the later part, responsibilities of the working groups of both the sides will be specified and a joint intellectual foundation will be established and practical work launched.”

From Pakistan, tribal elder and Pak-Afghan Friendship Foundation head, Alamzeb, said the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line had been in great trouble for the past three decades and deprived of their rights.

“Now the time has come to find basic solution to the problem and take practical steps. It is unfortunate that we always discuss problems but never do practical work to resolve them,” he said.

Advisor to the president on social affairs, Malalai Shinwari, said the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line were not only a tribe but had blood relations. The tribe should embrace each other and promote brotherhood, she said.

“Let’s come and sit, talk and find solution and convince each other. If the Pashtuns fail to find solution to the ongoing problems, they will plunge deeper in the deadly ravine.”

Representing Pashtuns in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial city, Dr. Feroza Khan, said: “Pashtuns in Afghanistan face the same problems the Pashtuns face in Pakistan. The commonality in their problems is an opportunity for them to get united and jointly address all big and small problems.”

But after some time, the participants verbally attacked each other. Journalist Hassan Khan from Pakistan’s Sindh province said insulting Pakistan meant insulting Pashtuns living there. “You should keep care of us when talking about Pakistan,” he said.

He said they should not discuss what happened in the past and instead should think what they had done for the future of their coming generations. “Look where the world has reached and our youth carry the burden of emotions.”

In response to his remarks, Kabul University teacher Ismail Yun said the Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line should think about the conspiracies aimed at their destruction and should find effective solution.

“We have a history, and heroes. Forgetting history creates a big headache. Pakistan has made many missiles, but it lacked heroes and named its missiles after Afghans.”

“About Hassan Khan’s assertions, I would like to recall a historic statement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar. When the United States was preparing to attack Afghanistan, then Pakistani interior minister told Mullah Omar to hand over Osama Bin Laden to the US. Omar responded by saying many governments had changed in Afghanistan, I will protect the history and you protect your government in Pakistan.”

The university teacher called the Durand Line an unreal border and said no one had signed or endorsed it.

But former chief of staff at the former president Hamid Karzai’s office, Karim Khurram, said the Pashtuns should look for solution to problems among them and should work on a mechanism that could rescue them from being destroyed and put them on the path to development.

“China which has a different culture and civilization is emerging a supper power in the region. The country should prepare a strategy that guarantees the survival of Pashtuns. If we clash over Pakistan is Pakistan and Afghanistan is Afghanistan, I don’t think we will witness any happiness.”

He said Afghanistan and Pakistan were two separate states and had their laws, but the Pashtuns were a family and sensitive matters should be considered in talks.

Deputy Information and Culture Minister Zardasht Shams also said the tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan should talk to each other about their problems and how to address them jointly.