A big threat to Pakhtuns

Asif Khan Turk

Like other core issues, today, religious extremism is one of the major challenges to Pakhtun society in Pakistan which historically has been a very good example of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, acceptance, pluralism and diversity, however, military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq crushed and ruined the cultural and social structure and image of this society through his so-called Islamization to achieve his personal objectives.

As a result, now religious fanaticism and fundamentalism are at the peak in Pakhtun society while progressive voices can be listened very rarely in number. Due to General Zia’s regime, the overall structure of Pakistani society brutally transformed from the prevailing progressive mode to violent nature in general but the Pakhtun society in particular.

Because of his bloody, dark and inhuman regime, the poison of the so-called Islamization has been widely injected into the veins of the people, particularly the youth in a very sophisticated manner, which resulted in the form of hatred, sectarian violence and killing each other in the name of religion etc.

Here, it is worth to mention that historically, Pakhtuns have been mostly secular, progressive and liberal in nature and have never been confused about the difference between the religion and culture, but they were made confused by the fake jihadi hero General Zia and his masters – the big world powers for their vested interests, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (the former NWFP) has remained a great center of human civilization, diversity and pluralism.

The so-called jihadi mindset created by dictator Zia has almost destroyed the social fabric and norms of Pakhtun society whereas the present history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has witnessed a large number of incidents in which religion or sect has been used as a tool or object for respective personal aims in view.

Well, blaming only the dictators and big world powers for destroying the social infrastructure of Pakhtun society is also not a wise approach at all. We, the Pakhtuns should also look into our own collar and should thoroughly think and analyze the situation that what we did extraordinary for the recovery of our original image on national and international level as drawn above?

So, it is the right time that Pakhtuns should focus on the rehabilitation of their ‘dead’ social fabric and infrastructure and display their picture to the world like other progressive nations that they are peace loving people, while the rights of women, children, non-Muslims and other suppressed communities are protected here on the land of Pakhtunkhwa.

It is a fact that religious fanaticism and extremism everywhere is a threat to the peace and prosperity of the world, while democracy, progressiveness, liberalism and pluralism are the only key factors for achieving the goal of a developed and prosperous world. Therefore, a secular, liberal and progressive Pakistan is need of the time, otherwise the way of killing each other in the name of religion, sect and creed will not stop anyway.

As stated in the above para, religious fundamentalism is like a cancer for humanity whether it is anywhere in the world, therefore, the United Nations and the concerned authorities and organizations should start special and purposeful initiatives and projects for the youth throughout the world to make them tolerant, peaceful and progressive.

The writer is the Editor of Sunrise Today and President of the Science Journalism Society of Pakistan. He can be contacted at: asif1015@yahoo.com. He also tweets at: @TheAsifKhanTurk.

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