Pakistan seems to be increasingly teetering on the verge of a split once again. After the Balochistan and Sindh, the Islamic republic is now seeing another armed group being set up in the North West frontier province of the country.
The region, vastly inhabited by Pashtuns, has demanded that they be set free from Pakistan so as to set up their own country ‘Pashtunistan’. Pakistan has long contested the issue of citizenship of Pashtuns with the neighbouring country of Afghanistan.
Pashtuns remain divided between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, Pakistan has long claimed them in their entirety even contesting the Durand line that divides the two countries. The line, cuts the Pashtun-inhabited areas between the two countries, something that is unacceptable to Pakistan.
The province that remains part of Pakistan, however, is woefully developed, without even the very basic of necessitites. A hotbed of extremist activities, the region has been constantly targetted by Pakistani and foreign attacks. Residents, however claim that Pakistan is purposefully using the region to cultivate terrorists and are demanding to be freed from the clutches of the failing state.
In a bid to do so, the province has launched the ‘Pashtunistan Liberation Army’, an armed struggle along the lines of the Balochistan Liberation Front and Sindhudesh Liberation Army. Speaking to the agency ANI, a Pashtun activist requested that global powers, including India, help the liberation of the region.
The Pashtun activist, Umar Khattak, further elaborated, “Pakistan has kept hundreds of Pashtun girls in Lahore as sex slaves, kidnapped girls from SWAT & Waziristan. Pakistan Army has bulldozed several of our houses, looted markets and raped women.It’s a catastrophe. According to UNHCR about 5 lakh people from the area have fled to Afghanistan to escape atrocities of Pak Army.”
Adding that Pakistan was not a country, he said, “Pakistan has misled Pashtuns enough, now we won’t be fooled. Pakistan wants to use the area for terror camps hence wants to evict us. We are forming a Pashtunistan liberation army, we will launch an armed struggle against Pakistan. This Pashtunistan liberation army will put an end to terror. We appeal to the global community to support us. Pakistan is not a country, its a project of the western imperialists, destroyed identity of local ethnicities. Pakistan can use nuclear weapons against us.It’s a nuclear black market selling such weapons to rogue nations.”
While India has supported the liberation of Balochistan, it remains to be seen whether it will support the Pashtun cause.We are forming a Pashtunistan liberation army, we will launch an armed struggle against Pakistan: Umar Khattak,Pashtun activist