Monday, 18 June 2018

Pashteen Cap And Afghans, by Sarwat Najib*

Pashteen Cap And Afghans, by Sarwat Najib*

The Afghan Mazari cap worn by PTM’s leader Manzoor Pashteen is now known as Pashteen Cap and sold in big numbers on daily basis, the cap is also known as Mazari Cap, which is called BOREK in Uzbiki language. These type of caps and/or hates have been most important symbols of central Asian culture. On one hand the light and embroidered round and partridge caps represents the handicraft arts of central Asian women, while on the other hand, the accustomed to these caps make them even anomalous.
These traditional caps are worn to the new born baby sons, on their circumcision, on victory and success and to a groom on wedding. Saying that, caps are worn on males head in order to welcome him on every new journey of his life. Caps are signs of honor and dignity, many leaders’ caps became symbols of their ideologies. The red oblong hat of Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi was known as a symbol of love and nonviolence, which later was adopted by Bacha Khan (Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan) as his revolutionary red cap, the Che Guevara’s one star cap is known as the symbol of fight for the right and independence.
Similarly, the 20th century’s Afghan Kings’ cap (Karakol) was also worn by Mohammed Ali Jinah of Pakistan and the cap is called Jinah cap in Pakistan. It’s worth a mention that currently KARAKOL is internationally known as Karzai’s cap. Now, a 26 year young leader from FATA has made the Mazari Cap his revolutionary symbol, Najibullah Azad the former spokesman of the Afghan President in a Facebook post said “Manzoor Pashteen shall not be taken easy and/or considered as a simple young tribal man, but his personality shall be glistened from his cap just like Che Guevara’s cap that became a symbol, thus, this red Mazari cap will soon become a symbol of Pashtun’s protection and their rights”, with the viral of this Facebook post many Afghan young boys including the Kabul Sit-In participators started wearing the red Mazari Cap in solidarity with Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen and the cap got to be known as Pashteen cap, then not only Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand line but also in the west started wearing Pashteen cap, which made the demand in much big numbers than the supply.
In addition to that, before the mass gathering in Peshawar, Kabul market ran out of the Mazari cap and the suppliers had to make orders from Mazar Sharif. In some European countries where the caps were not available the Pashtuns started making the cap with traditional printed cloth that had a similar pattern.
The Pashteen Cap with the three colors red, black and white is the best revolutionary sign. Elaborating on that, the black color represents the black law (FCR) for FATA that has caused numbers of oppressiveness, cruelty, injustice and tyrannies on Pashtuns, red color is the sign of revolution, enthusiasm and luckiness, while the white color is the sign of hope, peace and stability, the white pattern on the upper part of the cap means that every dark changes into a light.
Since these caps are handmade products of women, thus wearing them by millions people not only give them an appreciation but an acknowledgment of women’s present in the movement, their role and particularly the mothers who have lost their sons, crowns of their heads and canopy who might never come back, and those who lost their lives and became the victims of an unknown war. Cap is the best gift in the sense of protecting a head, thus it is a pray and a hope that there is no more capacity and courage in any Pashtun mother, this extraction shall be brought to an end, so mothers could make their sons caps.
However, Afghan youth do not only wear this Mazari cap in solidarity with Pashtun on the other side of the Durand line but telling their brothers that LAR O BAR (Pashtuns on both sides) are one nation, ethnicity, blood and of course one ideology. During USSR invasion the FATA Pashtuns stood by their bothers, now since for the first time in 70 years FATA Pashtuns raised their voice and have stood for their rights, so how would Afghans on this side of Durand line not become Manzoor Pashteen’s voice, how nail could be separated from the flesh? Love is choice-less and unincorporated, it’s just like when a needle sticks in a finger, the finger automatically goes towards the mouth, similarly, Afghan neither need to think before helping their brothers nor ask for one’s permission.
Since after Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey this Afghan cap is getting world-wide popularity especially in Pakistan, conveys the message of peace in the regions, the peace just like a cataract of white pearls that could not be longer a cataract if a single pearl is taken out. Peace in LOY Afghanistan is peace in the region and world. Mazar Sharif (Center of Balkh Province) is a figurative of spring in Afghanistan, thousands of people make it to Mazar to celebrate the spring festival where they also visit Hazrat Ali’s pilgrimage and raise the flag and jubilant the event. Thus, the Pashteen cap is a sign of every coming day’s hope and protection. Anyone wearing Pashteen cap conveys the message that Pashtuns are not terrorist but the real representatives of nonviolence, human rights defender and peace protector.
However, Manzoor Pashteen has been criticized and blamed by the Paki establishment as an Afghan intelligence agency’s spy just because he and his supporters on both sides of the Durand line are wearing the same cap. But, the question arises here why he has being blamed?
When Israeli army attack Palestinian, the entire Muslim community stands against Israel, when Iraq was attacked all Pakistan tried to show off how they care for Iraqis and the same strategy went on for Syria, Pakistanis went on a strike for Rohingyan Muslims, they even protested against an Afghan air strike on Taliban in Kunduz, none of those Pakis were blamed to be spies and agents of such countries, since they manipulate that all Muslims are brothers. But, when it comes to Pashtuns on this side of Durand line in solidarity with Manzoor Pashteen, then Pashteen becomes a spy, they forget that Pashtuns on both sides are not only brothers based on Islamic teachings but they are brothers by blood as well, they forget that when a part of body hurts the entire body gets disturbed. Most importantly, I still remember how Pakistanis went on supporting the Turkish people when they made the so called Turkish Army’s coup against the elected government and kept saying that the democracy won against an army coup. While on the other hand, they keep saying that their army is the only rightful authority fighting for the right in the entire world, which is really disgusting.
Pashtuns on the other side of Durand line faced the severe cruelty and oppressiveness after Pakistan came into exists. Anyone including Pashtuns, Balochis, Sindhis, Bengalis and Muhajirs of Karach are labeled insidious when they raise their voice for their rights. Afghans will keep standing with Manzoor Pashteen since he is our brother, Pashtuns are vexed of this genocide, one day Kabul the other day Peshawar burns, or one day Waziristan bleeds and the day Kandahar. Yet Pashtun is blamed to be a terrorist and to be an insidious.
*Ms. Sarwat Najib is an Afghan writer, columnist, researcher, critic and a poetess.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Shujaat Bukhari's demise blow to middle path approach in Kashmir; rejection of violence will be an ideal tribute, By Lt General, Syed Ata Hasnain

Shujaat Bukhari's demise blow to middle path approach in Kashmir; rejection of violence will be an ideal tribute, By Lt General, Syed Ata Hasnain

The news of Shujaat Bukhari’s untimely demise was received with moist eyes, much regret and worry about the future of Kashmir. In my family, everyone knew that he was my friend and that I cared much for his opinion and advice. They also knew that we had huge differences in outlook on the handling of the complexities of Kashmir, but these actually helped in understanding the situation better.
Although we knew each other for over 20 years, it was my tenure as commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps that brought us closer together with more frequent interaction. In 2010, I had returned to the iconic Indian Army formation, the prize command and the most challenging one. Kashmir was burning and I had the experience of handling turbulence in Kashmir’s violence-prone landscape many times. Knowing well that anything routine never works there, I immediately turned to taking advice, lots of it. Among the plethora of wonderful intellectuals that Kashmir possesses and many others with earthy knowledge, with whom I interacted over a month, I found Shujaat the most affable and the most acceptable. He told me on my face that anything I would try would fail unless it touched the core of the heart of the Kashmiris. He said upfront that Kashmiris do not trust Indians, so the first thing is all about establishing that trust. I was not looking at any solutions, just the cooling and calming of the environment. Once that was achieved, people would be able to speak with clearer minds. Shujaat strictly guarded the Kashmiri turf and always spoke of Kashmiri interests, but within an Indian system. He advised me to undertake those measures by which trust could be established.
ile image of Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead on Thursday. Twitter/@
File image of Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead on Thursday. Twitter/@bukharishujaat
Through 2011, the Hearts Doctrine, partially drawn up on some of the advisories from Shujaat and many other well-meaning Kashmiris, played itself out. The Kashmir Premier League, change in convoy timings to allow free flow of civil vehicular traffic and the much appreciated ‘awami sunwaii’ programmes, along with skill development, career counseling and youth interaction all formed part of the doctrine to restore in Kashmiris the required confidence about India.
What was important about people like Shujaat was the frankness and complete belief in their line of thinking which was never radical. Although a much accomplished journalist, he represented and in fact epitomised the plight of the journalist community in Kashmir. Many in the rest of India are unaware of the very large number of newspapers which hit Srinagar’s streets every morning. Besides the inevitable stringers, there are many outstanding columnists. And then, you have the television correspondents of mainstream channels who are at trouble spots all the time, placing their lives at risk. Who knows which opinion will meet with a negative response? I marvel at their courage just as I appreciated Shujaat’s ability to hold an independent line at all times, not swayed by sentiments except the most genuine ones.
When I was leaving Kashmir in 2012, we organised a huge seminar. I was sceptical about opening it to the media, and to overcome that guilt, invited Shujaat as the only representative of the media. He made a stirring speech at the end, and also wrote an entire piece as a farewell to me; something I shared on social media now.
Obviously, Shujaat’s willingness to engage with us was not to the liking of many, not realising that what he was doing was for the interest of every Kashmiri. Lately, there were allegations that he took a huge sum of money to run my public relations programme which earned him the pleasure of dining with me at an iftaar, the photograph of which is doing the rounds on social media. In 2013, in one of my pieces that I wrote, I appreciated the work of many Kashmiri friends and thanked them for their advice. Shujaat was obviously one of them. He was quick to call me and chide me for putting him and others in danger by mentioning positives about our interactions. I never wrote about him again. We traveled together to Dubai in 2015 for a Track 2 conference on Pakistan and later attended many seminars in Delhi and one in Mumbai. He had now taken to being critical of my opinion that without commensurate military domination, no outreach to the population could be achieved; this was immediately after Burhan Wani’s killing. It took some convincing to get him to understand that parallel soft power campaigns to restore the dignity of the people are rarely possible unless the army was first fully in control. We agreed that simultaneity was perhaps the answer.
Shujaat’s death was an assassination and behind it were people who did not appreciate his middle path approach which favoured talks with all. Perhaps they found him the ideal target to convey the message that measures such as suspension of operations may not work in the context of Jammu and Kashmir. However, Kashmir’s appreciation for a man who was a true representative of the people’s interests will be best exhibited if a thumbs down is shown to those who believe in the path of violence.
Rest in peace Shujaat; you did your bit wonderfully and are going to be hugely missed by your large following of friends and admirers.
The author is a retired lieutenant general and former general officer commanding 15 and 21 Corps