|Are Pashtuns Pakistani Citizens?
||Abdul Qayum Mohmand
The primary organizing principle of civil society is that there exists freedom of expression, association, and communication. There also exists the rule of law, which establishes legal guarantees to every citizen. Interests and values of civil society are the major generators of political society. Political society on the other hand has free and inclusive electoral contestations. These rules of law create a political culture, which is respected by political society and the state apparatus. These rules of law also establish a hierarchy of norms and principles that makes action legitimate. As a result, the state apparatus is comprised of rational-legal bureaucratic norms.
The way the Imran Khan administration and its military establishment behave does not have these characteristics. The whole political apparatus is established based on authoritarianism and military dictatorship. The military establishment, which does not have the support of the people, but of their own rank and files, tolerates some ideas and conditions from groups and circles that do not have political and/or decision-making power. Under international pressure, the authoritarian rulers open up certain limited space for opposing views, in the hope, that they can relieve various pressures, and obtain needed international financial and military support without altering the structure of their authority. That is, according to O’Donnell and Schmitter, without becoming accountable to the citizens for their actions.
In a country, where civil institutions are at the service of the military establishment one cannot expect justice, the implementation of civil society norms and equal treatment of citizens. In such authoritarian conditions, it is expected that the military establishment will label members of the non-violent civil rights Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement as terrorist and condemn their civil right demands as anti-state measures. Even though the Pakistani Constitution, articles 1 to 28 are detailed about the fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens, but the Pakistani military and civilian governments are not willing to extend these rights to the Pashtuns of Pakistan.
Instead of providing the needed infrastructure and address Pashtuns demands for education, social and economic development, peace, stability, the rule of law, and equal treatment before the law, the Pakistani government and military establish bluntly violate the constitution and the basic civil rights of the Pashtun citizens. The recent example of killing and injuring innocent people, including Mohsin Dawar, member of Pakistan National Assembly, arresting and torturing Ali Wazir, who is also a member of Pakistan National Assembly, in Khar Qamar, North Waziristan on Sunday, May 27, 2019, is another clear example of the direct violations of the constitution, which requires the state to provide security for all citizens.
Considering the Pashtuns peaceful and legitimate demands and the Pakistani government’s and the military establishment’s brutal and violent response, and extra-judicial killings, one can only conclude that the Pakistani government and military establishment do not consider Pashtuns to be Pakistani citizens, but their slaves. It is apparent that by denying the Pashtuns their basic human necessities, dignity, rule of law, and justice, the Pashtun land is treated as occupied territory. Punjabi Apartheid and Zionism together in one place.
Abdul Qayum Mohmand
Independent Researcher and Consultant