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Conference: Pshtoons are passing through a critical juncture of their history

Speakers at a conference on Wednesday stressed the need for finding an indigenous solution to the problems being faced by the Pashtoons in Pakistan and Afghanistan, The News reported.

The speakers highlighted the history, culture, traditions and geography of the people inhabiting the present day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Afghanistan since pre-historic period. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser said that Pashtoons as a nation had suffered in alien wars on their soil and had been adversely affected in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in the war against terrorism since the 9/11 attacks on the US.

“Pshtoons are passing through a critical juncture of their history and the Pachtoon intelligentsia should find out an indigenous solution to the current crisis in their region,” he said. He added that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would provide platform for bridging the gap between the two countries.

He said the war against terrorism had changed the culture, traditions and lifestyle of Pashtoons living on both sides of the border in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He asked the people to face the crisis as one nation. About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the provincial assembly speaker said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would not impose Section-4 of the Land Requisition Act to acquire land for the CPEC if all the facilities are not included in the western route passing through the province.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not honored his commitment to provide all facilities to the western route of CPEC,” he added.Dr Ihsan Ali discussed in detail the history and civilization of the present- day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Afghanistan and said human-beings have inhabited this region since pre-historic period.

“We have excavated and discovered a cave in Sangao area of Mardan district where we found signs and remnants of the people who lived in the area about 40,000 years ago in the bottom of the cave,” he said. He pointed out that the first planned city was found in Jandi Babar, Rehman Dheri in the Gomal Valley in Dera Ismail Khan district.

He said the inhabitants of the region were very active in the transitional period from pre-historic period to the new Stone Age at the time when the human-beings had started farming and hunting for their livelihoods.

Dr Ihsan Ali also presented documentary proof and evidence of his research and excavation of Gandhara Grave Culture, Persian influence, Indo-Greek period, Buddhist civilisation, Hindu Shahi and Islamic period in the erstwhile Gandhara comprising present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and some parts of Afghanistan.

Prof Anatol Lieven of Georgetown University, Qatar, who has written a book titled “Pakistan – a hard country” said that the imperialist forces had drawn a line between the Pakhtuns of Pakistan and Afghanistan and mostly exploited it for various vested interests.

“The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has to be strengthened against the movement of militants in both directions and can consequently be relaxed for the free movement of people and goods for trade purposes in the two neighboring countries,” he added.

He felt the Pashtoons being transporters active all over Pakistan and beyond could benefit from the CPEC. In her welcome address, Dr Razia Sultana said that the scholarly approach and new research about the Pashtoon identity and their problems would find out indigenous plans and solutions.

“Unfortunately, Pakhtuns have been portrayed as warriors, violent and terrorists to the world but if we look at the history they were used as tools in alien wars and conflicts on their soil,” she added.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser was the chief guest. Vice-Chancellor of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Dr Razia Sultana, Vice-Chancellor of Abdul Wali Khan University Dr Ihsan Ali, and Prof Anatol Lieven from Georgetown University, Qatar, spoke on the occasion.

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