Harmony between Mullah and Nationalist

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Naseebullah Khan
Mullaism and Nationalism in the Pashtun society are two dominant and extreme factors in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The religious parties have manifestos based on religious sentiments, anti-nationalism, anti-West, and anti-America with their ultimate goal of the proliferation of political power__while on the other side, nationalistic politics revolves around the sentiments of people on the slogans of anti-fundamentalism, national values, and against mullaism. These two flamboyants have been integral parts of the Pashtun society for decades__where the bitterness and difference of opinions have radicalized the supporters of both sides. The peak of disgruntlement started during the reign of King Amanullah Khan in Afghanistan, followed by the emergence of Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan and Abdul Samad khan in the present Pashtun-dominated areas of Balochistan and the KPK. The acrimonious further cemented after the partition of United India. In Afghanistan, during the era of King Zahir Shah, the Wish Zalmian Party, Noor Muhammad Tarakai, and its colleagues strongly opposed the clergies after launching the PDPA in 1967_and when Noor Muhammad Taraki came into power, the bloody tussle accelerated between the clergies and nationalists. After the pullout of the USSR from Afghanistan, the hassle ballooned and took bloody shape for a power struggle. The Pashtun-dominated religious group Hizb e Islami headed by Gulbadeen Hikmatyar attacked Kabul where a Pashtun nationalist Dr. Najibullah was in power. Subsequently, with the emergence of the Taliban, who grasped Afghanistan in the 90s, the scuffle between clergies and the nationalists is at its peak to date. The situation in Pakistan differs from that of Afghanistan except for the case of the TTP. The religious and nationalist parties have been tough contenders in local and national parliamentary elections. This tussle between the ANP, the PKMAP, and the other religious parties such as the JUI, the JI, and the other religious parties have been observed for decades. Both sides have differences in policies, opinions, and manifestos_ and the plus point is that these disagreements have not been converted into inter parties bloody clashes. A grievous reality is the emergence of the TTP, which is against parliamentary politics and has been a bitter opponent of nationalism particularly the ANP, whose countless leaders have been killed since the war on terrorism. Is reconciliation over the common issues faced by the Pashtun as a nation between the two extremes possible? Would a dialogue like that of inter-faith be possible? The answers are uncertain_but some rays of hope should be taken into consideration.Better late than never. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, a religious party Hizb_e_Islami who has been led by Gulbadine Hikmatyar has surrendered to the Afghan government a couple of years ago and its party also participated in the present Presidential election of Afghanistan. This party was famous for its armed struggle against the USSR, the government of Dr.Najibullah, the USA and, the Afghan governments of President Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani. Another important group is the Taliban. Although it has been an armed group that has been struggling against the foreign forces and the Afghan governments since the 1990s. The hopeful development was the interview of its spokesperson recently who said that the Taliban agree to lay down arms and participate in parliamentary politics provided that Mr. Ashraf Ghani stepped down. Denouncing each other has never been sanity. Blaming and labeling have not worked. The reconciliation between the two extremes is although challenging but not unattainable. They can attune at least on some common issues which have been facing by the Pashtun as a nation__to whom both the extreme struggle for. At least, the utmost point of unanimity may be a peaceful coexistence between both sides__which we have been witnessing among the religious parliamentary parties in Pakistan and the nationalist parties. The same can also be applied in Afghanistan and in the case of the TTP in Pakistan too. For that, it is a must that both sides should have an inter harmony dialogue. Who will through a stone in the ocean? As the burden of history is on the shoulders of leaders of both sides particularly on religious leaders.