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Stop Treating Pashtuns Like Step-Children

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Pashtuns as a nation have been worst victims of propaganda before and after the partition and they were kept backward on many fronts, including education, economy and peace.

Before partition, there were no proper arrangements of formal education for the Pashtuns and those who wanted to educate their children would take them to the masjid and the local mullah would teach them the basics of religion and nothing else.

When the Great Britain came to the subcontinent, they established new schools for the people of subcontinent and the Indians were equipped with modern education. But the Pashtuns were kept backward in education and there was no formal education system for them. Although Pashtuns were discriminated against by the invaders (English rulers) but on the other hand Mullahs also played their cruel role in preventing the Pashtuns from getting the modern education.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in his book “My Life and Struggle” says “the ruler of Great Britain had paid the Muslim mullahs for preventing the Pashtuns from getting the modern education through propaganda and unfortunately they got success in their motives”.

According to Abdul Ghaffar Khan, mullahs were told that if the Pashtuns get the modern education they would become aware and it would stop their influence on the Pashtun society which would harm their hold within the society too.

Before partition, the education provided to Pashtuns was not in their native language and a planned propaganda was played out against Pashtuns. It was called the language of hell by the paid mullahs and this was one of the reasons that Pashtuns were deprived of getting education in their native language Pashtu.

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Beside discrimination in education, Pashtuns are also ignored in the social justice system. Many citizens hailing from Pashtun communities have become the victims of extrajudicial killings in fake encounters and unlimited numbers of them have been abducted by the security forces and the state is yet to take action.

This injustice with Pashtuns has been highlighted by many human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Even Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has also expressed reservations over this issue and asked the state to take prompt action, otherwise it would portray a bad picture of Pakistan before the rest of the world.

The discrimination has caused a huge loss to Pakistan in the form of “Fall of Dhaka” in 1971 but still the Pakistani state has learned nothing from that sad tragedy and now a Pashtun Tahafuz Movement has also come into being because of a pre-planned discrimination and injustice with the Pashtuns which has unveiled the hollow claims of Pakistani state regarding providing equal rights to its citizens.

If the state of Pakistan wants avoid another tragedy like 1971, all the citizens and ethnicities must be treated equally.

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