Whither “Progressive” Bacha Khan’s Wife?


By Yasser Latif Hamdani

“If political consciousness is awakened amongst our women, remember, your children will not have much to worry about.” Founding Father of Pakistan, Mr. Mahomed Ali Jinnah, Lahore, March 22, 1940

The title?  No I don’t post such things out of spite or because I am a horribly mean and terrible person.  I might be all those things but I am posting this question because I am sick of the hypocrisy shown by Pushtun Nationalists, who try and monopolize the terms “secular” and “progressive” for their narrow tribal agena.  

Bear with me as I come to the main course.  But first Bacha Khan –   the Wikipedia entry makes this mention of his wives:

He married his first wife Meharqanda in 1912; she was a daughter of Yar Mohammad Khan of the Kinankhel clan of the Mohammadzai tribe of Razzar, a village adjacent to Utmanzai. They had a son in 1913, Abdul Ghani Khan, who would become a noted artist and poet. Subsequently, they had another son, Abdul Wali Khan (17 January 1917-), and daughter, Sardaro. Meharqanda died during the 1918 influenza epidemic. In 1920, Abdul Ghaffar Khan remarried; his new wife, Nambata, was a cousin of his first wife and the daughter of Sultan Mohammad Khan of Razzar. She bore him a daughter, Mehar Taj (25 May 1921- ), and a son, Abdul Ali Khan (20 August 1922-19 February 1997). Tragically, in 1926 Nambata died early as well from a fall down the stairs of the apartment they were staying at in Jerusalem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Abdul_Ghaffar_Khan

Now surely there must be a picture or two of the great Bacha Khan’s wife in public sphere since it has now become fashionable to claim that he worked for women’s empowerment.   Can someone please upload it?   It is of urgent importance.    The most chilling argument I got in response was that Bacha Khan’s wives stayed in seclusion out of their free will.   After this there was a barrage of abuse and attacks on me for being racist against Pushtuns.

And it is not like you can say that the culture then was different.   After all Mahomed Ali Jinnah – who is lampooned by these self styled Bacha Khan supporters and Pushtun Nationalists as being retrogressve-  said famously : “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.” (Jinnah – Lahore 1944).

Now you might be wondering the reason for this sudden diatribe against Bacha Khan, not that I need to give one.  This morning as I was minding my own business on facebook, a Pushtun Nationalist friend, for my benefit,  uploaded Muslim League group picture, which had in it standing an elderly lady – the wife of Maulana Muhammad Ali of the Ali Brothers- in a Burqah- insinuating that this was official league policy.   When I asked him if he was actually serious by insinuating that this was the norm (Muslim League under Jinnah actually brought Muslim women out of seclusion and most Muslim women leaders of note were exceptionally liberal and progressive women out of Purdah.  Jinnah realized how fundamental women’s participation was to electoral success ),  he responded first by saying “jinnah tolerated Purdah,  am confused , those who extract their politics from Jinnah’s political views and stunts- what is this?”  In other words Jinnah was supposed to tell the elderly lady to throw off her Burqah to qualify.

Forget that all Jinnah women were always out of Purdah and self consciously modern including Ruttie, Fatima and Dina… and forget that Jinnah had played an important role in the uplift of Muslim women – a role that no other leader in subcontinent’s Muslims had played in 1000 years.  Here are some of the pictures of Jinnah with his family:  http://pakistaniat.com/2009/03/21/ruttie-pettit-jinnah/

So where are Bacha Khan’s wives?  I mean we have Jinnah the retrogressive exhorting his people to take women as comrades,  to give equal rights,  to liberate them from seclusion and purdah,  to make them political conscious…  we have Jinnah with the Muslim women national guard, talking to women as equals,  having lunch surrounded in women, taking his sister side by side him even in the most conservative areas of Muslim India, where is secular and progressive Bacha Khan’s wife? Sister? Daughter?

And if this is not the case,  why lampoon the one man who did champion these causes.    Jinnah was part of the suffragette movement when Bacha Khan’s mentor Gandhi was denouncing it a “Ravanna Raj” or the “rule of Satan”.   Jinnah followed in his political life Annie Besant and his closest colleague in his early days was Sarojini Naidu.    His wife – Ruttie Jinnah – was a staunch nationalist.  His sister may well have been the first woman president in the world had the military dictatorship not rigged the 1965 elections.  This was Jinnah.   So who is Bacha Khan’s wife? Who is Bacha Khan’s sister?  Who is Bacha Khan’s daughter?

(Update:  After first claiming what he did, my Pushtun Nationalist friend has suddenly transformed into an honor-obsessed Pushtun who has ruled out “exhibition” of wives as standard for liberalism.  Ironically all I had asked for a simple picture of Bacha Khan’s wife not the picture of his wife in a mini-skirt.)


Filed under Women

140 responses to “Whither “Progressive” Bacha Khan’s Wife?

  1. haq

    YLH I like your writings because you are not afraid of pissing people off.

    At the end we justify our prejudices by citing honour based criteria by calling them relegion, being pushtun or being punjabi.

    I think it was Immanuel Kant who said that “enlightment is the will to know”.

    If you have this will to know you can also have the ability to overcome such prejudices.

  2. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Is it true that some ANP senators vetoed a Parliamentary resolution against honour killing?


  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    I believe it was Ajmal Khattak.

    It would be interesting to also look into the voting record of ANP on the 15th Amendment moved by Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    Did you like the caption in the photo?

  5. Majumdar

    He, he, he,…. of course I did.


  6. yasserlatifhamdani


    Another crook follower of this Bacha Khan has alleged that I am on the payroll of Zaid Hamid…. because I wrote this.

    How frikkin’ strange… it seems that all these Red Topi, Red Shirts wallahs are equally crazy … equally idiotic.

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    …. PS: And the original Pushtun nationalist is whining about how Pushtuns have been left behind.

    Ironically…. the Bharat Ratna Bacha Khan got and the funds with it never made it to the Pushtun people…

    Ofcourse… the only leader who left Pushtun educational institutions any money in his will was Mahomed Ali Jinnah…. the ICU that resisted Zaid Hamid recently was built in large part on Jinnah’s own personal funds.

  8. Ganpat Ram


    If Jinnah was so very progressive as you claim, why did he base his case for Pakistan on a negative campaign against the Hindus?

    Why did he not emulate the Israelis and say: We LIKE Islam and want a separate state to pursue the ideals of Islam without being bothered by the pressure of Hindus…….That is the case the Israelis make for their state: it is not just due to anti-semitism, but the POSITIVE ideal of building on Jewish ideals.

    Instead, all we get from Jinnah and his follwers is the wail: “If only the Hindus gave us each and everything we demanded, it would not have been necessary to have Pakistan….” A purely negative stance.

    As for Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, at least he did not go in for Hindu-baiting, like Jinnah. He may have been bogged down in the ancient customs of his people, but he was no hater. Let us give him that.

  9. Ranger

    All this stuff about Gandhi-Jinnah-whatever is a lot of mental masturbation…. I mean.. who cares ? And how does it matter anymore ? Move on folks.

  10. Ranger

    Majumdar bhai, dont see you much on chowk anymore ? I heard you work in Gurgaon as well. Which company do you work for, if you dont mind my asking ?

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ofcourse one is not surprised that Hindutvadi Ganpat Ram is a fan of Bacha Khan the progressive.

    Your myths have been broken many times… but let us assume Jinnah was as retrogressive as you claim he was…. but he said all this. Where is the progressive’s wife then?

  12. Majumdar

    Ranger bhai,

    We will meet in April, too tied up with year end work, thats why MIA most of the time.


  13. Ganpat Ram


    I have made clear I am no Hindutva guy. I think you know that.

    As for the “joke” about Gandhi as the wife of Khan….It is in poor taste, betraying contempt for Hindus. You would never permit a joke like that about Jinnah, I am sure.

    It is ironic in view of your self-proclaimed admiration for those who build bridges betweem Hindus and Muslims. These two tried.

    Please play fair.

    I am struck by what kindly faces Khan and Gandhi have.

  14. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ahmed Nadeem Gehla,

    Why don’t you stop trying to post under 5 or 6 different nicks.

    1. No I am not an ISI agent (you are I am afraid …as till recently you abused PPP and Zardari)…

    2. I am a critical PPP supporter… and PPP is the party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto… who despite all his faults was a patriot of Pakistan. PPP is a national Pakistani party.. a part of the federation and the only real hope for this country….. despite its follies.

    3. Bhutto would be spinning in his grave to see Bacha Khan types trying to infiltrate into his party. No I don’t mean Asif Ali Zardari etc… I mean Pushtun nationalists trying to make common cause between ANP + PPP.

    4. Where was ANP in 1997-1998? Where was ANP when the vote was called on the issue of the 15th Amendment?

    5. Let us count the 9 stars shall we of the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement in 1977? A for ANP! Oh man how progressive.

    Memories are not that short. Not long ago you were boasting about your wife’s royal ancestry and how the agriculture tax on feudals is a crime against humanity…. now you are trying to pose as some sort of people’s revolutionary.

    My advice: Post under your name.

  15. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ganpat mian…

    “It is ironic in view of your self-proclaimed admiration for those who build bridges betweem Hindus and Muslims. These two tried.”

    These two were opportunists in it for their aggrandizement.

    Bacha Khan- after Pakistan’s creation- joined up with Fakir of Ipi- the forerunner of Behtullah Mehsud to de-stabilize Pakistan.

  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS: I have admiration for those who build bridges between Pakistan and India…. on the basis of sovereign national equality.

    I am not interested in crooks scratching each other’s backs.

  17. takhalus

    With ref to ANP’s voting record on the 15th amendment I’d suggest a reading of this



    Earlier the speaker ruled out a point of order raised by Naveed
    Qamar that under the rules a notice of one-clear day should have
    been given after introducing amendment in the bill.

    He said that they received the draft late on Thursday night and
    notice of one-clear day was not given. He claimed that some members
    of the ruling party had not even seen the amended draft.

    The ANP parliamentary party leader, Asfandyar Wali, termed the bill
    as an attempt to subvert the Constitution.

    The prime minister should resign and go to the electorate for a
    fresh mandate for abrogating the Constitution, he said.

    Mr. Wali contended that the bill would undermine the provincial
    autonomy of the smaller federating units. Any law passed by the
    provincial assembly could be set aside by the federal government
    under the new bill on the pretext of Islam, he said.

    “You are handing over absolute power to one individual what would
    happen to the country,?” he questioned.

  18. Ghani Khan’s “Ai Zama Watan” was regulary broadcast from Radio Kabul on the even of Pashtunistan day as it is the Pakhtoonistan National Anthem. It is still played before ANP functions.
    Another of Ghani Khan’s poems is: Zama da meenay kala sta de barjo na loogay; zama khaista kabala sta da tapo na loogai” was presented by Afghan children representing Revolutionary AFghan Women’s Association (RAWA) as it is in praise of Kabul.
    Ghaffar Khan is called “Badshah” as he was accepted as the king of Pakhtoonistan, let the ANP call him Badshah, but let us please stick to his God-given name, Ghaffar Khan.
    The NWFP has the singular honour of actually voting FOR Pakistan; the other provinces came by default. NWFP was presented with the option of Pakhtoonistan and a referendum was forced on the Province at the behest of Ghaffar Khan etc. The rest is history, as they say!…:)

  19. YLH

    Yes… and Ghani Khan was awarded the Presidential medal of Honor and Nishan-e-Imtiaz by GENERAL ZIA UL HAQ.

  20. PMA

    Yasser: At the first hint of acceptance of the principle of “sovereign national equality” I will join you in “building bridges”. Please let me know when it happens. And mind you I know how to build bridges.

  21. yasserlatifhamdani

    Takhalus… good that Asfandyar Wali spoke against it…

    But did ANP quit the government once the vote was over? Did it leave the treasury benches and join the opposition after the attempt to “subvert the constitution”?

    No… ANP didn’t do any such thing. It remained a PML-N ally both in NWFP and the center.

  22. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS. Perhaps you can produce a picture of Bacha Khan’s wife.

  23. yasserlatifhamdani

    From the Economic Review:

    The discussion on the 15th Amendment was kicked off by Asfandyar Wali Khan of ANP from NWFP, who said that the Holy Quran and Sunnah were the main part of ANP’s manifesto and the party was not opposed to Islamisation. But between the lines the sinister designs of the government has alarmed the people. Nawaz Sharif’s idea is just to eliminate courts, constitution Parliament and the provincial autonomy. The Prime Minister is taking the country back to the era of Ranjeet Singh, who played the role of a semi-dictator under British Empire.

    Three points here:

    1. ANP’s stance proves that it is not a secular liberal party it now claims to be.

    2. It was committed to “Islamization”.

    3. Ranjeet Singh was one of the finest liberal and secular rulers of Punjab and he was not under the British.

  24. PM

    This is hilarious, enjoyed it greatly.
    You know that anybody crossing the Bacha Khan party is considered a Punjabi.

  25. Akash

    Hmm.. So Bacha Khan was a jerk after all. Is there any one left that can be called as a good, honorable, intellectual giant apart from your Jinnah and his wife et al. I must say my veneration for the Prophet has cooled down a bit after I compare him to Jinnah that emerges from your arguments. Looks like he has been wronged by a billion plus people. That makes me sad. He reminds me of crucified Jesus.

  26. PMA

    yasserlatifhamdani (March 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm):

    “Ranjeet Singh was one of the finest liberal and secular rulers of Punjab and he was not under the British.”

    Ranjeet and his Sikh gangs maintained a ‘liberal’ lifestyle. Imitating Mughals they kept large harems and countless concubines. But secular and just they were not. During their ruthless and from-the-seat-of-the-pants Sikh rule Muslims and Muslim cultural and social life suffered a great deal. They were crude and cruel rulers. One-eyed Ranjeet Singh himself was an illiterate man. One is hard pressed to find any worthwhile contributions of the Sikhs of Punjab. You are probably familiar of the desecration of Muslim places of worship that suffered at the Sikh hands. But I do not wish to debate this issue with you as Ranjeet Singh and Sikhs are irrelevant to Pakistan now. But you need to correct your historical perspective. There is a difference between a secular governmental system and the ‘care-free’ lifestyle of which Sikhs were known for.

  27. Shaheen

    According to a reference,before partition Pakies were omly slaves but after partition they are slaves of the slaves as their senses and minds are locked by the Jinnah Fraud. They still have not been able to understand that America and Britain were,through Sultan Aghakhan(the sectarian leader supported by Jews and America),the creators and supporters of Jinnah(aghakhani) and Pakistan for their multiple stratagic interests.The sorrowful plight of this miserable country for the last 60 years is the speaking proof of this fact.

    Mr. Ganpat and Mr. Ranger may be knowing well that American and British wanted to create partition on the line that India and Pakistan should be set fighiting for ever.This was done through the Kashmir Drama. Jinnah was trained actor leader who was expert in issuing ambiguious statements and donating in religious and educational institutions which was the practice of his master Aghakhan to
    befool the muslims.

  28. yasserlatifhamdani


    “You know that anybody crossing the Bacha Khan party is considered a Punjabi”

    Punjabi, ISI and a British agent…. all rolled in one. And I have recently discovered that I work for Zaid Hamid as well when I am not moonlighting for Jamaat e Islami.

  29. yasserlatifhamdani

    I consider Ranjit Singh a forerunner of Pakistan… the curtain raiser…. a precursor even.

  30. yasserlatifhamdani

    Love this post:

    According to a reference,before partition Pakies were omly slaves but after partition they are slaves of the slaves as their senses and minds are locked by the Jinnah Fraud. They still have not been able to understand that America and Britain were,through Sultan Aghakhan(the sectarian leader supported by Jews and America),the creators and supporters of Jinnah(aghakhani) and Pakistan for their multiple stratagic interests.The sorrowful plight of this miserable country for the last 60 years is the speaking proof of this fact.

    Mr. Ganpat and Mr. Ranger may be knowing well that American and British wanted to create partition on the line that India and Pakistan should be set fighiting for ever.This was done through the Kashmir Drama. Jinnah was trained actor leader who was expert in issuing ambiguious statements and donating in religious and educational institutions which was the practice of his master Aghakhan to befool the muslims.

    And we thought only lal topi wallahs can make such brilliant connections between Jews, British, Aga Khanis and America.

  31. ahmed

    If we are talking about treatment of women, why not about Jinnah.
    At least Bacha Khan didn’t make his wife go insane!
    You can shout about it as much as you want to but the fact is the ANP are considered a secular party all over the world, more secular than any other in Pakistan.
    It doesn’t mean that they treat women better than any other political party in Pakistan, but they are difinitely not relegious biggots.

  32. PMA

    yasserlatifhamdani (March 23, 2010 at 1:26 am):

    “I consider Ranjit Singh a forerunner of Pakistan… the curtain raiser…. a precursor even.”

    Ranjeet Singh a forerunner, curtain raiser, even a precursor of Pakistan? My dear Yasser you have turned upside down all of your previous arguments. Ranjeet was a crude ethnic Punjabi Sikh ruler with no room for any other religious or ethnic group under him other than as a second or perhaps third class citizen. Do you know what ‘Sikha Shahi’ means? Rule of no-law. And you don’t forget to remind us that you are a law graduate. Muslims of Punjab lost more economic and political ground in his time than in any other period of our one thousand year long history in Punjab. His rule is marked with suppression of Muslims of Punjab and he is remembered by his endless and senseless wars with our own Pashtun brothers. How do you wish to build a Pakistani Nation as envisioned by Jinnah if ethnic despots like Ranjeet are your heroes. If he is a forerunner and precursor of Pakistan then could you site one occasion where Jinnah eulogised the likes of Ranjeet? Ranjeet has no relevance to Pakistan. If anything he and his Sikh marauders delayed our independence by one and a half century. His regime was the worst period of our history. I want you to show me what was his contribution towards the advancement of Punjab in any field of life. Any.

  33. YLH

    Well I am not aware of who drove who mad – must be some new Pushtun imagination… but I suppose Bacha Khan simply pushed his wife down the stairs in Jerusalem didn’t he?

    “but the fact is the ANP are considered a secular party all over the world, more secular than any other in Pakistan.”

    Nonsense. ANP is an ethno-fascist part of crooks… it is the party that was part of the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement to establish Islamic rule.

    And read this from 1998:

    “The discussion on the 15th Amendment was kicked off by Asfandyar Wali Khan of ANP from NWFP, who said that the Holy Quran and Sunnah were the main part of ANP’s manifesto and the party was not opposed to Islamisation”

    So much for a “secular” party.

  34. YLH


    I have already written an article on Ranjit Singh who was one of the great heroes of our motherland Pakistan.

    You may read it. I have answered these questions there.

    If Pakistan Army was to learn a thing or two from this great military and political genius… we might end this war much earlier.

  35. PMA

    YLH (March 23, 2010 at 2:39 am):

    Yasser my friend, you are sidestepping. You have chosen not to answer any of my points. But that’s OK. I won’t press you any further. Good night.

  36. Gorki

    PMA Sahib:

    “Do you know what ‘Sikha Shahi’ means? Rule of no-law”
    Are you sure this refers to the rule of Ranjit Singh and not the Bhangi period in Lahore?

    “I want you to show me what was his contribution towards the advancement of Punjab in any field of life. Any”

    I believe there is a book titled ‘The Real Ranjit Singh’ by Azzizudin, incidently a decendant of Faqir Azzizudin, a minister of ‘high importance’ in the Lahore Durbar of the period. It sheds some positive light on the period.

    Another writer is Shah Muhammad who wrote an epic punjabi poem about the Anglo Sikh wars. I believe it will need some work to find it but would be worthwhile looking for it.

    The Punjabi-Pustoon rivalry preceded Ranjit Singh’s birth by more than fifty years. (Hint: The attack on Mughal India by Nadir Shah was not a war of liberation)


  37. B. Civilian

    just to add to gorki’s punjabi-pashtun ‘rivalry’ being all pre-ranjit singh. there was also the ‘jihadi’ syed ahmed, originally from rae bareli, in ranjit singh’s lifetime.

  38. Gorki

    PMA Sahib:

    I found the following passage as an introduction to a book review of a biography of the King by Khushwant Singh and thought it sort of sets the record straight as to why someone could consider him a forrunner of modern day Pakistan. Of course YLH may give his own reasons in his own words.

    “Ranjit Singh has been poorly served by his biographers. Hindu and Sikh admirers deified him as a virtuous man and a selfless patriot. This academic apotheosis reduced a full blooded man and an astute politician to an anemic saint and a simple minded nationalist. Muslim historians are unduly harsh in describing him as an avaricious freebooter
    His success was undoubtedly due to his ability to arouse the nascent sense of nationalism amongst his people and make them conscious that more important than being Muslim, Hindu or Sikh was the fact of being Punjabi. His Sikh and Hindu troops subdued the Sikh and Hindu Rajas of the Punjab. His Mussulman Najibs rejected the appeals of their Hindustani, Afghan and Pathan co-religionists to crusade against the ‘infidel’ and instead helped to liquidate the crusaders. The year Ranjit Singh died, it was his Muslim troops led by colonel Sheikh Basswan that crossed the Khyber pass and carried Ranjit’s colors through the streets of Kabul in the victory parade. And a couple of years later Zorawar Singh, a Dogra Hindu, planted the Sikh flag in the heart of Tibet. These events were the high water mark of Punjabi imperialism which had carried Ranjit Singh to the heights of power and which subsided soon after his death”


  39. yasserlatifhamdani

    Taken off the picture in deference to Mahatma Gandhi.

    On Ranjit Singh… my views are clear in my article on him.

  40. Majumdar

    Gorki sb/Yasser Pai,

    So Ranjit Singh did carry the Punjoo flag over half of the greater AfPak region. But PMA sb’s question still remains unanswered- what were the great achievements of the Sikh rule in Punjab in the field of culture, architecture and public works etc in Punjab and NWFP.

    Wud appreciate some insight into this.


  41. Ammar

    Here is a piece about achievements under Ranjit Singh in the field of education-even the British were amazed when they saw it. The term Sikha Shahi does not refer to Ranjit’s period but the war of successions after Ranjit’d death.

    By Majid Sheikh
    Dawn, Sunday, 24 January 2010, Lahore Metropolitan Page # 16

    When the British conquered Lahore in 1849, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor
    General, declared that he would educate the “wild illiterate Punjabis” in a
    new system of Anglo-Vernacular education. When they started the East India
    Company Board was shocked by what already existed.

    The board was amazed to find that the literacy rate in Lahore and its
    suburbs was over 80 per cent, and this was qualified by the description that
    this 80 per cent comprised of people who could write a letter. Today, in
    2010, less than nine per cent can do this, while 38 per cent can sign their
    name, and, thus, are officially ‘literate’. If you happen to read Arnold
    Woolner’s book ‘History of Indigenous Education in the Punjab ’ you will come
    across some amazing facts we today just do not know. To understand the
    situation it would interest scholars to go through the ‘A.C. Woolner
    Collection in the Punjab University Library. My review is a scant one. But
    studying other similar pieces provides a picture of the educational system
    as it existed in Lahore in 1849 when the British took over.

    The publication ‘The Marquis of Dalhousie’s Administration of British India’
    provides an amazing quote (page 345): “The board discovered to its surprise
    that the incidence of literacy in Punjab was higher than any other place in
    India . In Lahore city alone there were 16 elementary schools for girls
    alone, and to our amazement we discovered that co-educational schools were
    aplenty”. Mind you another fact is also mentioned by the great Sir Aurel
    Stein, a former principal of the Oriental College , Lahore , in his research
    on the ‘great game’ *where he described the teaching excellence of the Vedas
    and Dharma Sutras in the Hindu educational institutions of Lahore . The Sikh
    schools, the Muslim ‘madrassahs’ and the Hindu schools catered to the latest
    developments in mathematics and astronomy, all of which assisted the Sikh
    rulers maintain an edge over the British in the rest of India .
    We also know from the book ‘Punjabi Grammar’ compiled by Dr. Carry of Fort
    Williams College , Calcutta , in 1812, that it based its grammar from the
    farmed ‘Punjabi Qaida’, which was made compulsory for all Punjabi women to
    read during the reign of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. Every village ‘lambardar’
    made sure that every female in every village had a copy of the ‘qaida’,
    which made sure that literacy was in-built into the Punjabi State at the
    family level. After taking over, the EIC Board allowed the ‘madrasahs’ at
    even the village level to continue to operate. However, to enforce the
    English language as the base for all State functions, which seemed the
    sensible thing for the English to do in order to rule effectively, central
    schools for higher education were set up. The model for this came,
    initially, in the shape of the Rang Mahal School by Ewing , and then by the
    Central Model School at Lower Mall.

    But the most detailed study of the educational system in place in Lahore
    before the British took over came in the shape of the research undertaken by
    Dr. Leitner, the first principal and founder of Government College , Lahore
    and the Punjabi University . The eminent linguist described in some detail
    how the ‘Punjabi Qaida’ was removed from the scene, at even the village
    level, after the events of 1857, when it was felt that unless Punjabi was
    removed as the language of first choice, the ‘wild Punjabis’ would soon
    overcome the British. Both Leitner and John Lawrence disagreed with this
    strategy, while Henry Lawrence, Dalhousie and Montogomery wanted a *military
    solution to “end Punjabi educational dominance once English was introduced”.
    In the de-militarisation of the Punjab , “over 120,000 cartloads of arms and
    swords were confiscated”, and in the process, says Edwardes and Merville in
    their publication of 1867 (page 433-34) it was thought important *“to make
    sure militant Punjabis – Sikhs, Muslim and Hindus – and their language, were
    crushed by removing not only all arms and swords, but more importantly their
    books, which were all burnt”.* Sir Aurel Stein described how a wealth of
    books on mathematics and astronomy were lost in this ‘action’. For those
    still interested, samples of those books can be found in the Punjab Public

    But which sort of schools and ‘madrassahs’ and ‘shawalas’ existed in Lahore
    before the British came in 1849 to ‘civilise’ the people of this ancient
    city? The Muslim ‘madrassahs’ were located at every ‘guzzar’ and the
    madrassahs opened by the family of fakir azizuddin were considered among the
    most modern in the entire subcontinent. They not only taught Punjabi,
    Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages, they also, at the elementary level,
    excelled at mathematics. Thus the basics of the logical transfer of
    knowledge had already been laid at the basic level. It now seems that the
    British, against the popular belief, actually destroyed this structure, to
    forever dent the ‘formal learning institutions’ available to the Punjabi

    *Higher mathematics and astronomy, as well as chemistry and physics, not to
    mention history and geography, were taught in these’ madrassahs’.* The
    Punjab Public Library has a few beautiful leather-bound books of that time
    period in the reference section. Just for the record, these were bound in
    the square opposite the mosque of Wazir Khan, now consumed by illegal
    structures. For those interested in the classics, you will know that the
    British Museum Library has ample examples of ‘Lahore Classics’, all
    hand-written and those edges are painted in floral designs.

    The research carried out by Lord Osbourne (1804-1888) in his description of
    the “Court and Camp of Ranjeet Singh’ describes how well-educated his
    camp-followers were. The same can be seen in the article on the subject by
    Sir Henry Griffin. The Dogra brothers who ruled the Punjab in important
    positions were leaders in setting up Hindus schools, just as among the Sikhs
    the Majhathia Malwai and Dhanna Singh families led in the setting up of
    schools for Sikhs, which also admitted Muslim and Hindu students. A few of
    them were co-educational, which was revolutionary for their concept at that
    time. It seems the French influence was also a reason for this.

    *In the years 2010 when the teaching of history is no longer allowed, where
    the exact sciences are deliberately avoided in the official syllabus,* and
    where the system of examinations have created two distinct social and
    economic classes – Urdu and English medium – a study of our past in terms of
    its educational achievements needs to be undertaken by every child, so that
    we can pick up where we left off almost 160 years ago.

  42. PMA

    Gorki (March 23, 2010 at 10:01 am):

    There is much that ails Pakistan. Our two biggest problems are Sectarianism and Ethnic Nationalism. Just like Pashtun Nationalists and Baloch Nationalists and Sindhi Nationalists, there is no shortage of Punjabi Nationalists in Pakistan. Praise of Ranjeet Singh as a national hero comes from the Punjabi Nationalists. These ethnic nationalists are the most dangerous people for the safety of Pakistan in my opinion. Yasser my friend on the other hand, in his search of secularism, has chosen to hang on to Ranjeet Singh as one of his heroes. If there is a study in contrast, then it is of Jinnah and Ranjeet. Yasser my friend is unable to see that. His youthful enthusiasm blinds him.

  43. Ahmad Nadeem


  44. B. Civilian

    @Ahmed Nadeem

    Should you wish to reconsider and rewrite your comment without the cheap personal remarks, you might just be able to make a valid contribution to a civilised debate. (Mod)

  45. Ahmad Nadeem

    We had this debate before {…EDITED}

    [Ok, Ahmed. I acknowledge what you have said. But I must edit regardless of any consideration whatsoever other than the content fitting very minimum criteria of civility. As a rule, I censor quite reluctantly and entirely mechanically. Thankfully, I seldom have to. – BC]

  46. Ahmad Nadeem

    Typical of you…..you wont let me answer your personal remarks…hypocrite middle class revolutionaries…i got a right to respond and you take it away in name of moderation…I can post on my and another Pakistani Blogs…but then it might be a rift in bibliographer…your forwardness is exemplary! {EDITED}

  47. Ahmad Nadeem

    hahaha…how scraed you are YHL…I am enjoying! {EDITED}

  48. ylh

    Yaar Ahmad sb, I am sorry if a commenter on my status on FB who happened to be my wife took you to cleaners after you claimed that your wife didn’t get her picture taken because she was from the Royal family …it is not my fault. The said commenter’s relationship with me is purely incidental. Her status as my wife was irrelevant …anyone would have done the same to you.

    No need to get abusive. The moderators can see for themselves what kind of a sick individual you are.

  49. ylh


    I am not a Punjabi nationalist.

    I am a Pakistani. My admiration for Ranjeet Singh comes from the role he played in subduing Islamist insurgency of Syed Ahmed and others.

    He was not necessarily a Pushtun-hater …his Sikh Army had lots of Pushtun officers just like Pakistan Army today.

    I don’t know how you compare a 19th century warrior king with a 20th century parliamentarian… but had Sikhs accepted J-man’s blank cheque, the regiment fighting in NWFP kicking butt would be led by a proud Pakistani sikh officer named Ranjit.

  50. PMA

    ylh (March 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm):

    Syed Ahmed was an Islamist and Ranjeet Singh was a secularist kindly monarch! How naive of you Yasser. Let us forget Syed Ahmed for a second. Let us examine the role of the Sikhs at the fall of the Mughals and then later on after the death of Ahmad Shah Abdali. During that period the sword wielding Sikh gangs ran around the Punjab countryside terrorising and murdering innocent people, raping women and burning villages. They were the eighteenth century ‘Taliban’. Your warrior hero did not become king because he was some Sufi sage. His hands are stained with the blood of Muslims. And you want me to accept him as my national hero. No way. Not a chance. Ranjeet Singh and his gangs were the ethnic and sectarian Sikh rulers of Punjab. And that is where they must be left at. The half century of Sikh kingdom is an anomaly in our one thousand years long history and it has no relevance to the modern day Republic of Pakistan that transcends all ethnic and sectarian lines. Promoting an ethnic Punjabi Sikh ruler to the status of a national Pakistani hero is a very dangerous game. Not good for Pakistan of Jinnah. Not good at all.

  51. Hayyer

    Do I understand you correctly that if historical facts come in the way of forging a Pakistani identity then those facts should be traduced?
    Some weeks ago we had a similar discussion when I asked whether you wanted India to forget its history in order to enable Pakistan to create its own. Your reply was, I think, that I had got your drift pretty well.
    I have nothing against nationalism of any sort except as it promotes hatred. But you seem to believe that facts should be ignored, even suppressed to build a nation. What kind of nation would that be?

  52. PMA Sahib:

    There is no way one can compare Ranjit Singh and MAJ; one was, for all practical purposes a medieval monarch and the other a modern nationalist. I can not tell you or YLH how they both relate to Pakistan the modern nation; besides you are a historian and I am but an amateur enthusianst, ther is not much that I can teach you?

    I only posted my note because I agreed with the point that historians have either lionized him or demonised him; both doing a disservice to this fine man of flesh and blood.

    If there is any comparision to be made, he should be compared to his contemporaries; the later day Mughals, Tipu Sultan or Ahmad Shah Abdali and his successors.

    In the Indian context, it whould be as if one was comparing Emperor Akbar with JLN (Incidently the emperor’s biography, right down to being precocious but illiterate and yet lover of fine books and art, is uncannily similar to Ranjit Singh.)

    In the Indian context, JLN understood that Akbar was a man of his times; the middle ages, and thus often ruthless in the exercise of power, yet paid rich tributes to his secular spirit and admired him in the same breath as Emperor Ashoka.


  53. B. Civilian


    i see a lot of similarities between ahmed shah and ranjit singh. and they were equally unlucky in the case of their successors. there were one or two contrasts too, but they were accidents of both history and geography.

    geogrpaphy: neither kabul nor kandahar were as cosmopolitan as lahore.

    history: sikhism was, or was atleast amalgamated with, a popular movement within the punjab. and it was still a relatively young movement. the status quo powers were bound to view it with great suspicion. ahmed shah followed suit.

  54. ylh

    MAJ was not a prolific writer like JLN …but MAJ’s wooing of Sikhs may allow for a similarity somewhat akin to JLN’s link to Tipu Sultan.

    Honestly I wish the Sikhs would have chosen Pakistan … I know ofcourse that Majumdar and others will give a thousand reasons why they did the right thing (not that everything was fine and dandy on the other side).

    PMA should consider that MAJ had offered permanent Army chief position to Sikhs btw …(I don’t know how such a confessional system would work for an army) and offered Khushwant Singh the position of the Lahore High Court Judge.

    Khushwant Singh wrote the book “Ranjit Singh” … So if J-man would have had his way, Ranjit Singh group would be very strong in J-man’s Pakistan.

  55. YLH I noted with satisfaction that you took the picture down and wrote the following “Taken off the picture in deference to Mahatma Gandhi”

    I did not want to say anything before but now let me say it now that by taking the picture and the caption down; you have shown that you yourself are growing in stature. Such antics can be amusing sometimes but only for a moment, and while they are a standard on the sites like the Chowk, they make the PTH look bad.

    To quote President Lincoln who said about the national heroes in another context:
    “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here…”

    By saying the above I do not for the moment want you to overlook what in your mind were their shortcomings; instead, all I want you to understand is that those dead may have been flawed heroes but still were men larger than life.
    Their battles are long done and over with, it is for our generation to set right what they missed then.

    For it, our generation does not need more jesters; because we already have enough of those; but leaders, for we have too few of them.


  56. PMA

    Hayyer (March 23, 2010 at 11:23 pm):

    No Hayyer. History is what it is. No need to change it for any purpose. I recognise Ranjeet Singh as a Sikh Punjabi ruler of the Punjab. That is all. Like all men of sword and other absolute monarchs he has his place in our Pakistan History. Hell Zia also have a place in our history. But unlike my dear friend Yasser I am no hero worshiper. My contention is that Ranjeet Singh was not a forerunner or a precursor of Pakistan. The kingdom of Ranjeet and the Republic of Pakistan, other than the territory of west Punjab and Peshawar Valley have nothing in common; neither ideologically nor geographically nor demographically. Period.

  57. ylh

    Well I consider the state of Pakistan a direct successor to Ranjit Singh and the British Empire …when it comes to dealing with Islamist insurgency in NWFP.

  58. PMA

    B. Civilian (March 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm):

    I agree with you on your this point. Both Ahmad Shah Abdali and Ranjeet Singh have a place in our history. Abdali more so because his kingdom covers the entire area of Pakistan while Ranjeet is limited to Punjab and Peshawar. So in that sense if any one should be a precursor of Pakistan it should be Abdali and not Ranjeet. But ever wonder why the two kingdoms were short lived and rapidly fell apart after the death of their respective founders. No it was not due to the ineptness of the successors. Reason lies somewhere else. I will let others speculate on that.

  59. ylh

    Gorki sb,

    The article is itself a reactive piece written in response to direct provocation.

    I did not want to drag Bacha Khan’s personal life into it…but needless to say Bacha Khan’s complaint that “muslim league was using non-purdah women in civil disobedience” should atleast give pause to those liberal admirers of the man who are making movies about him and organizing conferences about him.

    In this respect I note with satisfaction Obama’s Pakistan Day message. I just request everyone of friends not to impose “icons” of their choice on us.

  60. ylh


    1984 has an answer to your question.

  61. PMA

    Gorki (March 23, 2010 at 11:36 pm):

    I neither lionise nor demonise Ranjeet or for that matter Abdali. Only my friend Yasser does. But Ranjeet is part of our history and that is where he belongs. He has no relevance to Pakistan. What so ever. Incidentally I have taken time to visit as many Sikh sites of historical significance in Pakistan as I can. The Haveli of Mahan Singh where Ranjeet was born, the samadhi of Mahan Singh, the Sheranwala Bagh, all tell us a lot about the early life of Sikh gangs and Ranjeet Singh.

  62. PMA

    ylh (March 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm):

    “Honestly I wish the Sikhs would have chosen Pakistan …”

    I think the same way. But that is not what happened. Now it is too late. Now we have to build with what we got. A precondition is to let the East Punjabis go and embrace our own countrymen to the west, even if they were initially against Pakistan. Pragmatism requires that.

  63. PMA

    ylh (March 24, 2010 at 1:06 am):

    “Well I consider the state of Pakistan a direct successor to Ranjit Singh and the British Empire …when it comes to dealing with Islamist insurgency in NWFP.”

    Now you are shifting to ‘Islamist insurgency’.

    The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries conflicts between Muslim Pashtuns and Sikh Punjabis was a struggle for political dominance. Try to see it in that light. It may help you to see through.

    And “the state of Pakistan a direct successor to Ranjit Singh”. Try to explain that to our countrymen from Peshawar, Sindh or Balochistan. They will laugh at you.

  64. B. Civilian

    “Try to explain that to our countrymen from Peshawar, Sindh or Balochistan”

    well, actually peshawar might be the odd one out there, to some extent. after all, it is what it is today, in terms of its demography and particular mixture of culture, due to ranjit singh to a large extent. perhaps you meant to say nwfp.

    re. islamist insurgency

    do you think those pashtun tribes that did ‘rise’ against ranjit singh would have done so had there been no islamists from shah walliullah’s madrassah in delhi leading them (on)?

    did many sindhis, baloch or punjabis revolt against ranjit singh or joined syed ahmed’s lashkar?

  65. B. Civilian

    sorry PMA, for butting into your conversation with YLH. answers to my queries about this history can wait. thanks

  66. PMA

    B. Civilian (March 24, 2010 at 1:53 am):

    As I have said above. Muslim Pashtun vs. Sikh Punjabi conflicts of Ahmad Shah Abdali and then later on of Ranjeet Singh period must be seen in their own political and military context; not in Pakistani context. Today, in the interest of Pakistan and her future we must not revive the old ethnic rivalries. Pakistani Punjab, both in terms of geography and demography is not the Punjab of Ranjeet Singh. And further more, save few, their are no Sikhs left in Pakistan. Ranjeet Singh’s Punjab died in 1947 in every sense the word. No need to resurrect him as a national hero of Pakistan.

    The Shah Waliullah or Syed Ahmed ‘insurgencies’ have their origin in northern India and not in Afghanistan even though they took place in NWFP. But what does that have to do with Pakistan? Nothing.

    When did the demography of Peshawar started to change? During the British period when the Indus was bridged and movement of goods and people became easier. Sikhs in Peshawar were in foreign land.

    “did many sindhis, baloch or punjabis revolt against ranjit singh or joined syed ahmed’s lashkar?”

    Sindhis and Balochis had no reason to do so even though they provided free passage to the lashkars on their way from north India to Afghanistan. Punjabi Muslims were already crushed by the Sikh gangs. They were lucky to save their own skin.

  67. B. Civilian


    “but had Sikhs accepted J-man’s blank cheque, the regiment fighting in NWFP kicking butt would be led by a proud Pakistani sikh officer named Ranjit.”[YLH]

    YLH of course meant kicking Taliban butt. so there isn’t much danger of stoking the fires of ethnic rivalries as far as that statement is concerned at least. and he has a valid thesis about linking taliban, the likes of mufti mehmood and his son and many a tribal mullah before them, to syed ahmed and shah waliullah via deoband.

  68. B. Civilian

    demography of these parts is a tricky subject anyway, and peshawar’s is more complicated than most. in any case, more pahstuns live in the punjab, and have done so for much longer, than the other way round. peshawar’s hidkowans include such a variety of ethnicities that it’s difficult to tell how they ended up speaking the same language. for a lay person like me, that is.

  69. kohestani

    Various wars were fought between the Sikhs and Baloch tribes esp. Mazaris in DGK and what is now Southern Punjab. Talpurs were the rulers of Sind and I am not aware if they fought any war against the Sikhs. Various ragtag Pashtun tribes, esp. Khattaks and Yousufzais fought many battle against Sikhs before the arrival of Jihadis from Cental India, famous battle of Nowshera was one of them.

    One of many other reasons why the Sikhs managed to control the Peshawar valley, even if for a very short period of time, was that unlike the Pashtun tribes the Sikhs had a very sophisticated army which was trained by the European mercenaries and they also had a very heavy artillery.

    I have no problem if some Punjabis consider him their hero, even though the Badshahi mosques was turned into an arsenal, the tomb of Humayun was used as a stable, Azaan was banned and the eating of beef was punishable by death. Among us Pashtuns the short Sikh rule is considered a dark period of our long history.

  70. kohestani

    “but had Sikhs accepted J-man’s blank cheque, the regiment fighting in NWFP kicking butt would be led by a proud Pakistani sikh officer named Ranjit.”[YLH]

    Only if Bacha Khan was aware of his history the whole NWFP and FATA would be again a part of Afghanistan and proud Punjabi Sikh officers will be again busy raping proud Punjabi Muslim girls. Sorry guys, but it is your histry.

  71. kohestani

    Well, I didn’t find any picture of any Bacha Khan’s female family member but I have found something else that may be more interesting for some people here.

  72. “Only if Bacha Khan was aware of his history the whole NWFP and FATA would be again a part of Afghanistan and proud Punjabi Sikh officers will be again busy raping proud Punjabi Muslim girls. Sorry guys, but it is your history”

    Serious historians understand that history of each and every land has more than one narrative; when it comes to ancient lands like ours, there are bound to be multiple narratives.

    South Asia may be too close to home and heart to discuss frankly here and for many there may be some nerves still are too raw so let us ignore it for the moment and look elsewhere.

    Take the Balkans for example; a relatively small portion of a relatively small continent that has over thousands of years been home to many different peoples and tribes, empires and kingdoms whose present day descendants live with too long memories of the days gone by. These memories give rise to many different, often conflicting claims and counter claims.

    The passions arising out of these claims and counterclaims plunged the World into its bloodiest conflict in the beginning years of the 20th century and yet little was settled so that the 20th century ended as it had started for these people; in a war, murder, mayhem, rapes and massacres.

    North East Indian Subcontinent is a similarly blessed and yet similarly blighted land that has been home to many different peoples over time. Each side has a heroic narrative for its own side and a litany of evil deeds for the other. The only way to approach it is either as dispassionate students of history or not at all. If one takes the former approach it will quickly become clear that there are no complete angels and no complete demons in this story; only different peoples are oppressed at different times, often brutally, by another, many times of the same ethnicity and faith.

    So where do we go from here? Are we condemned forever like the Balkans; to never learn anything and to never forget anything, or can we turn a new leaf?

    Can we perhaps understand that the men of the generations gone by belonged to another time, another place; in effect were another nations; today we are a new generation and a new nation; where we go from here is entirely up to us?

    It is said that Emperor Alamgir wrote a very poignant last letter before his death; reflecting on his career; and said in effect that the moment of glory for him had lasted but a split second; too short and it was gone; before he had realized it was too late for him to leave anything positive behind.
    He lamented that when he looked into the future he saw a deep abyss.
    Each generation has to confront its own moment of truth; ours will too pretty soon, only now is the time to think what it will take so that we will feel differently when our time comes……


  73. hoss

    “the state of Pakistan a direct successor to Ranjit Singh”. Try to explain that to our countrymen from Peshawar, Sindh or Balochistan. They will laugh at you.”

    I am sure most of them would laugh but this goes to the mindset that anyone living outside of Punjab is not Pakistani. The current Punjab might be a direct successor to Ranjit or whosoever but not Pakistan. People living in other provinces just know him as one of the many criminals who attacked them.

    B. Civilian
    March 24, 2010 at 3:30 am

    “he has a valid thesis about linking taliban, the likes of mufti mehmood and his son and many a tribal mullah before them, to syed ahmed and shah waliullah via deoband.”

    The valid thesis is all about creating a history and then living in it all alone. There is no ideological strain that connects Taliban with the others. Taliban is not a religious movement; it is a criminal outfit and should not be elevated to a legitimate level. It was forcibly created by the Pakistan army. It has neither religious background nor any political ideology to boot. The first batch of Taliban was groups of people patched together by the ISI and the army. Now if you think the army and the ISI have some religious movement going then sure you can start linking these criminals with anything east of Attock.

    Deoband School’s foundation was laid in 1866 and Syed Ahmed was dead in 1831. Shah waliullah was way before that and died in 1762. So the connection at best is a figment of imagination and nothing else.

    Sometimes reading real history is beneficial.

    Ranjit Singh or his forces did attack part of Sindh and Shikarpur district in Sindh still has some Sikhs living there. Btw, most Hindu in the central and northern Sindh are Sikhs in the sense that they follow Guru Nanak. However, most of them call themselves Hindu and not Sikh.

    Hindus in the Southern Sindh and Baluchistan mostly have links with Rajputana.

  74. ylh


    It is tempting to respond the gaping holes in Hoss mian’s knowledge but why bother? The guy gets his information from Wikipedia.

    Don’t even bother explaining Shah Waliullah’s connection to Syed Ahmed, Syed Ahmed’s connection to Shah Abdul Aziz or his connection to Mullah Pawinda. And why bother then connecting the dots between Ipi and Mehsud.

    For a long time people like Hoss have misled the Americans into bad analysis. It seems though that now better sense has prevailed …a recent article in the Economist connected these dots. Hoss is only interested in connecting dots where it suits him.

    Ranjit Singh was a grand hero of this land and I mean all of Pakistan. I wish he also kicked around those Talpur types in the South.

  75. ylh

    We are supposed to foresake Ranjit Singh because he happened to be a Punjabi Sikh.

    But we are supposed to celebrate a person like Bacha Khan because he was a Pushtun Musalman. Forget that man stabbed Pakistan in the back every chance he got.

    I have no truck with such progressives who oppress their women and also spew hatred against of the greatest statesmen in all of subcontinent alongside Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.

  76. ylh

    Gorki sb,

    I do hope that the exchange with Kohestani is an eye-opener for you and other Indian patriots.

    Buying the thesis of these ethno-fascist types tapers over the real fault-lines in Pakistan.

    I have often wondered by ZAB- himself from a smaller province- was so brutal with Wali Khan and his family. But it is elementary.

  77. Asif Khan

    I would like to suggest to the author that if a husband does not like to make his wife appear in public in real or picture, then do we have the right to publish her picture on the web? I think whether mini skirt or hijab this is not ethically correct unless you are a foreigner who does not understand feelings os various Pakistani sects and cultures.You write well and if you care well as well we would love you more.

  78. ylh

    Dear Asif the issue started with my friend- a Pushtun nationalist- questioning why Jinnah tolerated an elderly lady in a Burqah. See the article in question in that context.

    My issue is with those liberals who pose Bacha Khan as a liberal. He was not.

  79. Hayyer

    There were Hindu traders living in Tashkent and Samarkand deep in central Asia for many hundreds of years. The trader Sikh families of Kabul and Swat are probably the Sikh converts from those Hindus. When is a foreign land not a foreign land. When it is home. There are millions of Muslims of Afghan descent settled in various parts of India who were for the first generation or two also settled in a foreign l,and, but are Indian for many generations.
    Besides, as you know, eastern Afghanistan itself was under the Hindu Shahi dynasty, and the population Hindu or Buddhist till its defeat by Ghazni. When would you say that it became foreign land for Hindus or for that matter Sikhs.
    As BC mentioned the Hindko speaking peoples are a complex amalgam. According to one book now out of print (‘The Greek Sunga period of Indian History)
    the genealogy of some Pashtun tribes is ascribed to Hindu origins e.g. Mohmand were originally Madhumant. Suwat is itself a Hindu name deriving from Suwastu, and it was Buddhist once.
    Identities change over time. Your aim at creating a Pakistani identity is laudable, but ignoring the layers beneath is not a good way to go about it. Nehru tried that and failed in India.

    There is no point in getting emotional today about rape by Sikhs of Afghan women. We have a political party in India that keeps trying to get votes over the rapes committed by Afghan soldiers of Hindu and Sikh women two hundred and more years ago. The rapers and the raped are long dead. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s been done all over the world and all the time, most recently by American soldiers in Iraq. The various conventions against it didn’t always exist.
    Sikhashahi may have a bad reputation in the Frontier but equally Pathan rule had a bad reputation among the Sikhs. Lets call it a draw.

  80. ylh

    How was Humayun’s tomb desecrated by the Sikhs waisay?

  81. Very interesting and provocative article, ylh.

    Now cross posted at LUBP / CriticalPPP.

  82. yasserlatifhamdani

    Thanks Mr. Nishapuri. Big fan of your work… I am assuming ofcourse that this is your nom de plume.

  83. PMA

    Hayyer (March 24, 2010 at 10:27 am):

    You have some valid points and I do not dispute. Before Pashtun became Muslim they were Buddhists and Hindus of some sort, that is if my generalization is allowed. My point was that the Punjabi armies of Ranjeet were foreigners in the Peshawar Valley. As you know they were not able to stay there for long. In fact the Sikh kingdom itself did not last more than half a century. I consider Sikh rule of the Punjab an anomaly.

    And of course identities, nationalities, ethnicity, religions of people – all change over time. My one grandfather was from Kohat. My kins in Frontier and Balochistan do not speak Punjabi. My father’s generation identified itself as ‘Muslims’. I do not have any such need. I call myself Pakistani. And my children… well you got the point. But does my newly found identity as Pakistani erase the multiple identities of past generations of mine. No. In my family we are still proud of our Persian heritage. But the fact is that with the development of new identities, the old ones fade away in the distant past.

    I do not have any fight with Ranjeet Singh, and the least because he was a Sikh. He is part of our history. But I refuse to resurrect him and elevate him to the level of our ‘National Hero’. Our new nation transcends many ethnic groups and even if he was a Punjabi hero, I will not impose him on rest of the nation. We must be mindful of the negative emotions Ranjeet and his Sikh gangs generate among our Punjabi Muslims and Pashtuns.

    Yasser in his youthful exuberance has tried to elevate Ranjeet. My friend is still fighting battles with Islamists and Pashtun Nationalists who opposed the Idea of Pakistan, not realizing that time has moved on. It is time for national reconciliation and not for name calling. Look the sort of negative response he has received here.

    Ethnic Nationalism, no matter of what brand is bad for us. It is an impediment in the way of creating and developing Pakistani Nation.

  84. Thank you, ylh. I am honoured. Yes, it is a pen name.

  85. kohestani

    Pashtun were either Zoroastrians or pagans before they converted to Islam. Some of them might have adopted Budhism during the Kushan rule but they were never Hindus.

    Good thoughts but the real life is much different my friend.

    Some invaders must have called the whole region as the Indian Sub-continent and you guys, as usually, took it too seriously. The boundaries of the Indian Subcontinent ends at the eastern bank of the river Indus. The region you are talking about was a part of Afghanistan and its people have historical, racial, linguistic and cultural link to Afghanistan that no-one can deny. Pasthuns have, by and large excepted, the reality and there is no struggle going on for the independence of Pashtunkhwa or its reunification with Afghanistan. There is no dearth of Pashtuns or Bacha Khan hating Punjabis but these people are not worth paying any attention.

    Now please don’t distort my words just in order to say what you are eager to say. Are we here talking about the Afghan rule over India? NO, we don’t. You will be welcome to give your opinion whenever we talk about the Afghan rule over India.

    You seem to understand why Pakistan is in such a miserable condition. The army is the sole reason for the current religious intolerance in Pakistan.

  86. B. Civilian


    “Ethnic Nationalism, no matter of what brand is bad for us. It is an impediment in the way of creating and developing Pakistani Nation.”

    are you suggesting that ‘fighting’ it is equally bad? having stated that it is bad, what is your solution or strategy for it?

    btw, i know one ethnically marwat (pashtun) family who are sikhs as far as their religion is concerned, and have been so for at least two centuries. i know of waziri and other pahstuns in the south who are also sikh.

    in any case, even for punjabi sikhs living in peshawar or wherever in the nwfp, you might consider their rule there an anomaly but i see that you do not consider it being their home to be anything other than entirely natural and proper.

  87. kohestani


    Those Sikhs are ethnically Punjabis who had settled down in FATA and even in Afghanistan centuries ago and have been assimilated well into the Pashtun society and speak Pashto now. They have even adopted Pashtun surnames but racially they are not Pashtuns.

  88. ylh


    I am assuming that the insurgency in NWFP during Ranjit Singh’s time led by Syed Ahmed of Rai Bareily was fomented by the Pakistan Army?

    Pawindah was invented by the PA? Also Ipi?

    (Btw can someone explain why there is a road in our capital named after Faqir of Ipi who waged war against Pakistan?)

    You know you can name NWFP Pakhtunkhwa provided you agree to change the name of Bacha Khan Chowk to Ranjit Singh Chowk.


    It is not Punjabi nationalism. Ranjit Singh was a wall a rock against tribal insurgency.

    Ishtiaq Ahmed – who I have taken to task in my article in Daily Times today- wrote an article yesterday in which he mentioned Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s remarkable contribution to stopping tribal/religious onslaught.

    It should be read …along with my article in Daily Times today.

  89. Hayyer

    Pagan, like Kaffir is a contestable idea-but irrelevant for our discussion. That the people who believed in the Vedic religion migrated into India from the Northwest is generally agreed upon by scholars, as is their kinship with followers of the faith of Zoroaster. Our Sangh Parivar poses the patriotic counter that the Aryan people spread from India to the west but it has no takers.
    The people who inhabit present day Pashtun lands are themselves a mix of various strains. Like most North Indias and Pakistanis they have gone through an intermixing of Aryans, Greeks, Sakas, Kushans, White Huns and what else. Even Persia apart from the original Fars has seen Arabs and other amalgamations mentioned above, plus other admixtures from the west and north.
    The rapes were not just Sikh. Everyone passing army passing through took advantage of the opportunities that war provided. The colour palette varies of course depending upon which set of pigments is predominant.
    That was not my point. It does not matter if you insist on remembering only the Sikhs as rapists. Perhaps it is too close in time.
    Buddhism spread well beyond India into populations that were never Hindu, but eastern Afghanistan was not one of the areas that was never Hindu. It may offend your self hood to imagine Hindu forbears but there is no getting away from it. Hind is certainly the land beyond the Sindh but Hindus lived to the west of the river too. They weren’t all pagans as in Nooristan or like the Kalash in Suwat. North of the Indus in Kargil district a few villages of the Kalash type culture still exist. It is the Batalik sector of the 1999 war.
    Punjabis like Pashtuns are not a genetically fixed people, though the habits of the peoples known over time as Punjabis and Pashtuns seem unchanging over the centuries. The Punjabis of today are not the Punjabis of say 2000 years ago, and it is the same I am sure for the Pashtuns. The original Aryans who inhabited the Punjab moved on into the Gangetic plain and a different set of Punjabis arose. It happens all the time.
    The inhabitants of Southern Punjab around Ludhiana are referred to as Malwais because of the Malvoi tribe that had moved in from North before the CE. The Malvoi moved further South to Madhya Pradesh giving the name Malwa to the hilly tract of Madhya Pradesh, but Malwai is still the term used for inhabitants of the districts around Ludhiana. People move on, legends remain rooted in the soil, and mislead because they are never wholly accurate.
    I was trying to suggest that letting legend and racial memory excite the emotions is not the best guide for rational discussion.

  90. Hayyer

    Sayyed Ahmad of Rai Bareilly was also felicitated and helped on his way by Hindu rulers during the westward march. He stopped at the Scindia court in Gwalior on his way and received money and other support besides hospitality. He also had a pleasant stay at a couple of Rajpootana kingdoms before entering Sind.
    I imagine it was either because the Hindu rulers wanted to encourage their own Wahhabis to emigrate with Sayyed Ahmad, or that they wanted no trouble with their Muslims because of the frenzy that he had built up.

  91. PMA

    B. Civilian (March 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm):

    In order to develop a Pakistani Nation first and most the state of Pakistan must be fair and just to all of its citizens. I mean all. And all Ethnic Nationalist Movements must be equally discouraged at the state level. I will give you three examples of smouldering Ethnic Nationalism from today’s bulletin – Yasser, Hoss and now Kohestani. Go figure.

  92. ylh

    PMA mian,

    As someone who self consciously identifies Urdu as the national language, refuses to speak Punjabi and consider myself a Pakistani first second and last the allegation of ethnic nationalism is hollow.

    I am as much an ethnic nationalist as you are an Islamofascist.

  93. ahmaed

    It’s a very good demonstration of what’s wrong with Pakistan that the Punjabis can decide what name the people in Pukhtoonkhwa can have for thier province.
    Can this happen anywhere else in the world in the 21st century?

    It’s for the people of NWFP to decide what should be the name of thier province.

  94. Ganpat Ram


    Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan are notorious in Hind for their cruel oppression of Hindus.

  95. kohestani


    Talebans are supported by the Pakistani army and the Generals are doing their utmost to keep Talebans in Afghanistan in power, but of course only the good Taleban enjoy their assistance.

    I didn’t know there was a road in Islamabad named after Fakir of Ipi and neither do I understand the purpose of your mentioning the names of these two persons. Fakir of Ipi and Mullah Pawinda fought against the British Imperialists for the independence of FATA.


    Pasthuns were never Hindus and it is a fact. Most of the Pashtuns were either Zoroastrians or Shamanists before they embraced Islam and when the Kushan king Kanishka adopted Mahayana Budhism it became a predominant religon in some parts of Afghanistan and Pashtunkhwa. It can not be ruled out that some Hindus would be living in Southern Afghanistan before the arrival of Islam in this area but Hinduism has never been a predominant religion in these areas as it has been in India.

    Hinduism itself was brought by the Mauriyans from India which is quite different from the Vedic religion that was practiced in Afghanistan in ancient times. And I am also not advocating the purity of the Pashtun race. Every one knows that like all other nations they are also a mixture of many other different people but those Sikhs are still considered Punjabis in Pashtunkhwa.

    You seem to have missed my point, the mentioning of Sikh rapists was in a very different context. Anyway, thanks for your insightful posts. I have nothing more to say on this subject.

  96. kohestani

    {You know you can name NWFP Pakhtunkhwa provided you agree to change the name of Bacha Khan Chowk to Ranjit Singh Chowk.}

    For us it has always been Pashtunkhwa and we don’t need anyone’s permission to rename it. And why should we rename Bacha Khan Chowk to Ranjit Singh Chow who is not our hero. Almost every city in this country has a major road named after M. A. Jinnah, rename one of those road to Ranjit Singh Rd.

  97. B. Civilian

    @kohestani (March 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm)

    i am surprised to see you claim that not only do you know a family that i know better than me, but that you also know them to be liars. what’s more, you seem to know them even better than their own non-sikh cousins, other relatives, clansmen and their common ancestors. it wouldn’t have been as surprising, perhaps, had i mentioned any detail more specific other than that they were marwats.

  98. Hayyer

    It was the Vedic religion that became Hinduism. As Vajra mentioned some time ago, some words in the Rg Veda are not comprehensible without a reference to Avestan. But let that be, the early religion of the Frontier can be easily researched on the net.
    The Arya Samaj movement sought to revive an unalloyed Vedic faith.

  99. yasserlatifhamdani

    Faqir of Ipi fought against Pakistan as well. I feel saddened by a country that cannot honor heroes like Dr. Abdus Salam and Sir Zafrulla- patriots of Pakistan – and Ranjit Singh and Ganga Ram…. but names roads after known insurgents and terrorists like Faqir of Ipi.

    If you don’t need us to rename North West Frontier Province Pakhtunkhwa … then what is the fuss about?

    NWFP is a beautiful name. Do you really want to ruin it by bargaining with those Punjabi ethno-fascists from the PML-N?

    And if you won’t consider re-naming Bacha Khan chowk… how about renaming Charsadda “Ranjitabad”?

  100. yasserlatifhamdani

    “what’s wrong with Pakistan that the Punjabis can decide what name the people in Pukhtoonkhwa can have for thier province.”

    Ahmaed mian …. I am NOT a Punjabi. I am a Pakistani…. some of us are not obsessed with tribalism you know.

    The name of a province may only be renamed through a constitutional amendment and that only the parliament of Pakistan can do with 2/3rds vote… so all- not some- of the people of Pakistan will decide what any part of their country is going to be called.

  101. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan are notorious in Hind for their cruel oppression of Hindus.”

    And Ranjit Singh for that of Pushtuns…

    But that is neither here nor there…. all three gentlemen were remarkably tolerant.

  102. yasserlatifhamdani

    Good news ofcourse…. Shadman Chowk in Lahore has been renamed Bhagat Singh Chowk…

    Now I wish to see Ranjit Singh honored in the city of Peshawar as well.

  103. kohestani

    B. Civilian

    I don’t know that family and neither did I call them a liar but I know very well that those Sikhs who are living in FATA and Afghanistan were originally Punajbi traders who sometime in the past settled permanently in these areas. They are ethnically Punjabis but with the course of time they have adapted local customs and traditions including the Pashto language.

    Pasthuns/Aghans had converted to Islam well before the inception of the Sikh faith and no Pashtun in FATA, rightly or wrongly, can ever dare to convert from Islam to any other religion even if he wants to.


    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, for the British that Bhagat Singh guy must be a terrorist but for you he seems to be a hero. That one eyed dacoit from Punjab was our enemy and we don’t hail our enemies as heroes. Changing Lahore’s name to Ranjitsinghabad will be more appropriate- and easier for you to do, go and campaign for the renaming of Lahore.

  104. B. Civilian


    had you cared to read what i had written, you would’ve seen that i did mention the difference between the ethnically pashtun and ethnically punjabi sikhs. of course, the former is rare. the family i know are not exactly within FATA, but not far away either. their ancestor converted to sikhism in the early 19th century.

  105. B. Civilian

    “I imagine it was either because the Hindu rulers wanted to encourage their own Wahhabis to emigrate with Sayyed Ahmad, or that they wanted no trouble with their Muslims because of the frenzy that he had built up.”[Hayyer]

    indeed. the sayyed had been preaching jihad, while he was in delhi, anywhere and all over india long before he decided to travel all the way to kabul. his rallying a few pashtun badland tribes was just a bit of opportunism, which in any case ended badly for him.

  106. kohestani


    Yes I read carefully what you had written. I grew up in FATA and I spent considerable time in some other parts of NWFP and I know very well what I am talking about.

  107. kohestani

    Many Hindkowans living in the Peshawar valley who speak Pashto call themselves Pashtuns, many Gujjars in Swat also call themselves Yusufzai Pashtuns but those who live in those areas know the reality.

  108. B. Civilian


    the link running from sirhind to swat that YLH argues may seem almost tenuous at times but is unbroken. of course, history has meant that the doctrine has gone through transformations and re-orientations in response to events in history.

    the ISI/Army did not ‘create’ the taliban – in body and in mind – as single-handedly as you suggest. JUI’s sherani had the first basic idea, with no name yet, as far back as the mid-1980s of ‘educating’ afghan child/orphan refugees into, basically, JUI foot soldiers. his emphasis was on the fact that these kids were displaced in every sense of the word (and, conveniently, many were orphans or as good as). with the ISI taking interest in the idea, perhaps 2 or 3 years down the road, came in characters like samiulhaq, who alrady had ‘mujahideen’ in his madrassa… but this was going to be different with the doctrine taken up to the next level.

    but the madrasa-mushrooming period coincided with the afghan war. so the most indoctrinated graduates, and those culturally most displaced by virtue of being too young, were largely not available for that war.

    of course, mullah omar’s little military feat was the needed catalyst. it caught the imagination of the local people and the ISI decided to grab the opportunity. the madrassah graduates were ready to form what was the taliban.

  109. B. Civilian


    you have already admitted that you do not know the family in question. will you quit claiming things about persons you, by your own admission, do not know?

  110. kohestani

    B Civilian

    Don’t you understand what I am saying? I said that I didn’t know that particular family you are talking about but I know very well the background of Sikhs and Hindus living in and around FATA. There are not exceptions in this case. If you don’t believe me you can ask any other Pashtuns from FATA or adjacent areas about the background of those Sikhs.

  111. B. Civilian


    i agree with your generalisations. but can only laugh at your claim that “there are no exceptions”. if i know the family and the local people who, of course, also know the family… i hardly need to ask you anything. end of pointless debate. thank you.

  112. B. Civilian


    your reference to ZAB and his inhumae treatment of wali khan’s family doesn’t really qualify him as a ‘patriot’. just like his army action in balochistan does not either.

    if the people of a federating unit cannot democratically and legitimately decide what name their part of the country ought to have, then this needs to be changed. in a true federation, who should have the right to change a province’s name, if not the provincial assembly.

    the change of name for shadman chowk is just a demand so far, isn’t it? it’s not official, is it?

  113. yasserlatifhamdani

    Agreed… I said it for effect really… and because some PPP supporters suddenly feel the urge to defend Bacha Khan and ANP wallahs.

    What Bhutto did to Asfandyar Wali etc was ridiculous… and a blot on his name.

  114. hoss

    “history has meant that the doctrine has gone through transformations and re-orientations in response to events in history.”

    There is no need to reinvent the history for supporting some ridiculous thesis. ISI and Army have no links with any school. The army created Taliban practically from scratch recruiting some criminals from the FATA. Please don’t try and absolve the Pak army from its crimes.

    Here is what YLH wrote on his FB page about Bhutto. Now he will deny this and edit his FB page too.

    “Yasser Latif Hamdani the reason Bhutto fell was because he would only bugger his opponents …had he cut off their heads he would still be our Prime Minister.

    Tue at 1:58pm via Facebook for BlackBerry · Comment · Like

  115. PMA


    Now I agree with you there. Sir Ganga Ram served Lahore with distinction. He must be honored properly. And Baghat Singh. Please tell us more about him. Incidentally. Is Qala Gujjer Singh still there?

    And Kohestani:

    Glad that you are on this board. You are the right kind of person we need it here. Please give us your definition of ‘Pashtun’. Looking forward to hear from you. Thanks.

  116. B. Civilian


    You’re confusing TTP (post 9/11) with Mullah Omar’s original taliban (circa 1994). since the TTP itself did not ‘start from scratch’, your extra credit to PA/ISI is baseless. as for common criminals being bribed into jihad, that has been happening since 1979.. nothing new. but there is ideology involved too. it need not be any more than what a virtual illiterate like baitullah mehsud can understand. indeed, whether the hakimullahs can know anything about any ideology is irrelevant to the ‘masterminds’. hakimullahs job is to kill, not ask questions. the more murderous you are, the more amenable you are to ideologies of nihilism anyway.

    re. ZAB

    he reserved the worst of his ruthlessness for his friends; enemies got off lightly, in comparison.

  117. kohestani

    The biggest terrorist in this country is the army, the other minor terrorists and criminals are just on its payroll. Everybody knows that the Talebans are a creation of those thousands of Madrasas that were opened in Pashtunkhwa (NWFP/FATA for the hate-mongers from Punjab) at the behest of the Army and its Masters in Washington to produce gun-fodders for Afghan war. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Pashtun kids were indoctrinated with religious intolerance in those Madrasas. Army didn’t create the Talebas directly but without its assistance they could have never control the whole Afghanistan. The Army is still supporting the Talebans, but only the “good Taleban” though.

    I don’t think I need to tell you the definition of Pashtun. What is the real point you want to discuss?

  118. kohestani

    Fateh Jalalabad Hameed Gul, who was the chief of the notorious ISI back then, had planned a campaing to capture Jalalabad from the Afghan forces to provide Taleban a base. In that military campaign the regulars of the Pakitsan army and Osama and his “Mujahedeen” had also participated but the Afghan force didn’t only repel them successfully (most of the followers of Osama were killed) but they had also destroyed the post of the Pakistan army at Torkham.

  119. PMA

    kohestani (March 26, 2010 at 2:40 am):

    I just want to know according to you who is a Pashtun and who is not. I mean what is the check list to qualify as Pashtun. I want to have a meaningful dialog with you and learn from you. Trust me. There is no ‘gotcha’ here. I hope you do accept this invitation.

  120. B. Civilian

    @kohestani (March 26, 2010 at 2:57 am)

    are you suggesting that hamid gul was directing the taliban siege of kandhar out of retirement!? he reired in 1992 (as corps commander multan; he was no longer head of isi after 1989).

    you probably mean hekmatyar’s siege of kandhar which turned out to be a much tougher ask than anybody had originally expected. hamid gul was still head of isi then. an act of hekmatyar’s own beastial cruelty and treachery contributed greatly towards hardening the determination of the city’s defenders.

  121. B. Civilian


    i don’t know what it is that you want me to go figure. if only i had the wherewithal.

    all i see so far is that you want to develop some kind of sterilised idea of pakistani nationhood, through a careful, protective and deliberate programme, rather than a natural, free-for-all, rough and tumble which develops stronger immunity to pollutants and worse as it grows up and achieves some kind of maturity through a robust and repetitive process of open debate and challenge. all it needs is democracy. if it cannot survive and make it as a free, civilian democracy, it was never meant to be. except, i believe that a free, civilian democracy not bothered with any official or semi-official ideology of nationhood or identity is the only way it will survive. and since i’ve already digressed this far, let me add that anything that is thought worthy of being ‘saved’ at the cost of democracy is not worth saving at all.

  122. kohestani

    B. Civilian.

    Sorry, my mistake-I have mixed up some events. You are right. In the late 80’s they wanted to install a puppet mullah government there but failed miserably. But Osama and his followers and some regulars of the Pakitan army had participated in that campaign and the Afghan forces had also destroyed the Pak army check post at Torkham.

    Talebans got their attention when they captured Hekmatyaar’s arsenal at Spin Boldak near Chaman.

  123. kohestani


    We will talk about it some other time.

  124. PMA

    B. Civilian (March 26, 2010 at 3:30 am):

    I wanted you to read what these three gentlemen are saying and then from there figure out which direction we as a nation are heading. That’s all. No there is no such thing as “sterilised idea of Pakistani nationhood”. What I think is that we never had a ‘national dialog’. We got a country but forgot to make a nation suitable for that country. Yes through careful planning and deliberate programming we can develop a nation. It is called ‘nation building’. Not through imposition of ideas from above, but through dialogs and mutual give and take, something what you are rightly calling democracy. I want to reach out to all ethnic groups and listen to them. I am sure we can come out with a common theme and consensus. At this moment we are all stuck in our own ethnic muddy pools. Some one has to take the lead. Let it be us. Otherwise we are doomed to be Ethnic Nationalists, and even that half baked. There can not be a Punjabi Nation because the other half is in India. There can not be a Pashtun Nation because the other half is in Afghanistan. I think you got my point. So let us make the best with what we got. Let us embrace our countrymen across the Indus and make a truly Pakistani Nation. Shell we.

  125. PMA

    kohestani (March 26, 2010 at 3:37 am):

    I hope you will return to have a dialog. I mean it.

  126. hoss

    “You’re confusing TTP (post 9/11) with Mullah Omar’s original taliban (circa 1994). since the TTP itself did not ’start from scratch’, your extra credit to PA/ISI is baseless.”

    Might I suggest that you are mighty confused. They are the same thing just two different names after the US attack on Afghanistan. Same people, when they operate in Afghanistan they call themselves Afghan Taliban and then become Pak Taliban after they cross borders in to FATA.
    Drone attacks by the US in Fata are for a reason.

    “he reserved the worst of his ruthlessness for his friends; enemies got off lightly, in comparison.”
    regarding ZAB
    I am glad you don’t agree with the idea that he should have “cut off their heads he would still be our Prime Minister” as suggested by your friend.

  127. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hoss mian…

    One can either rule by consensus or coercion.

    Consensus is better … but there is no such thing as measured coercion.

    Bhutto would have been better off respecting the constitutional rights of all opponents… but he chose instead to harass them… In doing so he played a deadly game… one which he lost in the end. Once decided on a Stalinist course, he should have gone all out.

  128. yasserlatifhamdani

    ‘Here is what YLH wrote on his FB page about Bhutto. Now he will deny this and edit his FB page too.

    “Yasser Latif Hamdani the reason Bhutto fell was because he would only bugger his opponents …had he cut off their heads he would still be our Prime Minister.”‘

    Why would I deny it or edit it? I completely stand by this statement … I have already elaborated it further. It was as much a comment on the unfortunate course Bhutto chose half heartedly as it was a statement of fact.

    The only thing I will edit is my friends’ list.

  129. B. Civilian

    “They are the same thing just two different names after the US attack on Afghanistan”[Hoss]

    of course they are the same thing in non-historical terms. but we were talking strictly of history. one was championed by naseerullah babur, the other happened when babur had long retired out of public life. kindly go back and re-read the points of debate. these were strictly historical in nature. hakeemullah is omar’s governor in waziristan. but, historically, hakeemullah was a little boy when omar was leading his military campaign against the ex-mujahideen/warlords. sherani’s idea and the kunduz air bridge are different parts of the same bloody phenomenon, but they are two entirely distinct events in history.

  130. B. Civilian


    i see what you mean. but, regrettably, democracy and, therefore, national or any other kind of debate was derailed, almost right at the outset. we are where we are today. you’ve asked kohestani to engage with you on a question of ethnicity, which no doubt might well expand as the engagement starts, which i hope it will. but you have also seen his views on PA. the trust deficit is huge.

    i know you claim that the whole elite and not just the military establishment is to be blamed. but how do we mount a practical challenge to this elite? where do we start? i think those who clearly subverted the constitution and have done so repeatedly – and most despicably considering their paramount duty, solemn oath and legitimate firepower – must make themselves answerable before the law. that would be the first step towards putting the system of rule of law back on some kind of road to recovery. more importantly, it would address the more dangerous trust deficit that kohestani’s view of the PA displays, but which, at least for now, you have not engaged with. why can’t the PA apologise to the nation for FOUR of its leaders subverting the highest and most sacred law of the land?

  131. PMA

    B. Civilian (March 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm):

    Yes I do. I live with my people. I know them. Blaming army (military?) for all of our ills is plain ridiculous. It is a cop out. Our army is a reflection of us. In a family if one brother is an army officer then other brother is a bureaucrat, and a third one is a professional. But each brother looks after other’s interest – in or out of the army. It is called nepotism. But let me ask you this question. When did we stop giving our daughters and sisters as brides to a man just because he was an army officer? What we have is not just army but a privileged upper middle class which has monopolised and abducted all the resources of the country for its own benefit and left nothing for the lower middle class or the poor. Some time back here at PTH I wrote a story about Iskander Mirza and his girl friend. Wrapped in that story was a picture of our military-bureaucrat-political class. Iskander Mirza is a personification of all of these three groups. Please read it if you have not already done so. I am afraid it is not the army alone. It is the system. Of course now we are moving away from the subject of Ethnic Nationalism and entering into class struggle. And by the way, yes there is a link between Ethnic Nationalism and Army. It has to do with who joins the army and who does not. But it is an other subject that I will pick up on some other day.

  132. B. Civilian


    I’m afraid you have not answered my question: where do we start? there is one breaker of the law above all others in terms of the crime being in broad daylight and self-confessed even at the point of commission. i think we should start with upholding the law, instead of making excuses about the criminal being one of us, or not being the only criminal.

    my question was about the utter trust-deficit expressed by kohestani. i, as a civilian, can assure him only so much about the military establishment that has repeatedly subverted the law. the right gesture from the military establishment itself is badly needed. i suggested an apology for the 5 occasions – at least – of subverting the highest law by four of its supreme leaders. any institution would be rightly expected to so, as a minimum to have any real hope of restoring confidence.

    as for the army being from us, what makes you think kohestani himself is not military or ex-military or does not have family and friends who are members of the PA? i’m reasonably sure he has no issue with the brave soldiers dying for their country fighting the taliban, even if he thinks – as he has stated – that the taliban are some kind of a bogey. i would expect he thinks them no less heroes than any other pakistani… or non-pakistani.

  133. hoss

    “The only thing I will edit is my friends’ list.”

    You are most welcome! With friends who think like that, who needs them.

  134. PMA

    B. Civilian (March 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm):

    I make excuse for no one. Not even for myself. Your question: “where do we start?” and answer, “I think we should start with upholding the law” are equally valid. Let us hope next time Army Junta overthrows an elected government, the Supreme Court Chief Justice and his full bench declares it an illegal criminal act and does not hide behind the Doctrine of Necessity. Let us hope Black Jackets come out in the streets and demand for the restoration of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. Let us hope no Zulfiqar Ali, no Jonejo, No Sharif, no Pervez Illahi joins hand with the criminals and form a ‘civilian’ government. Did I mention the role of Bureaucracy, Industrialists, Feudal Lords in these criminal acts. I guess not.

    You see my friend, we are all in it. We could start at any one place.

  135. B. Civilian

    “You see my friend, we are all in it”

    but only one of us in it is holding the gun. standard issue gun – to add insult to injury. how many judges do you expect to prefer to go home? or flee on foot like safdar ali shah did? why do you choose to forget those who resign? or politicians and/or political workers being hunted down, tortured, incarcerated. even hung. please name me one general who even had to endure the discomfort of appearing before a court of law.

    the military regime can keep harassing and discarding politicians until they find the scum that will prop them up. is it more surprising or worrying that a country has many politicians who think nothing of the law or four star generals who think nothing of trampling all over it?

    esp, when the ghq can and do make anyone they want into a politician. can anyone other than the generals themselves turn anyone into a general? that the people of pakistan do not wish a direct confrontation with their army in the streets is your only excuse for me not to single them out as the worst law breakers for all the reasons (not an exhaustive list) that i’ve alluded to above?

  136. B. Civilian

    “We could start at any one place”

    since i don’t agree with your sentence preceding the one above, it follows, quite logically, that i don’t agree with this either. the biggest threat to my country is not the state of law and order, or corruption or corrupt politicians or judges, or poverty or even the total disillusionment of some or ethnic nationalism. some of these are ills that do not and have never brought states down. the military destroying every principle of rule of law makes these ills much worse. others are mere symptoms. the root cause is a lack of acceptance within the ghq that its allegiance is to the constitution of pakistan and nothing else. if they wish to act on (some supremacist idea of) their loyalty to pakistan rather than to the constitution of pakistan, then they must first do the last act of duty under the constitution of pakistan and that would be to take off their uniform (and return their weapon). they are free to do as they please after that, and must not believe that they will not be subject to the law of the land just because they choose to ignore or reject it.

  137. PMA

    OK my friend. You win the argument. Just remember. I am with you. Not against you.

  138. B. Civilian

    “I am with you. Not against you.”

    PMA, i have never been in any doubt on that score nor ever forgotten it. and it kind of defeats my argument too. well, i tried.

  139. kohestani

    Can somebody tell me why Afghania is unacceptable to the hate-mongers of Punjab? That dumb politician of PMLN doesn’t seem to know that the letter ‘A’ in Pakistan stands for Afghania. These people have learned to speak Urdu like Biharis but otherwise they are still as illiterate and narrow-minded as ever before.

  140. yasserlatifhamdani

    Khoestani mian,

    Can you tell me why Qazi Anwar has not been thrown out of ANP yet?