03242017Headline:

Ethnic profiling in Punjab by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

Following press statement was issued by former member of PTI Chairman Advisory Committee and Central Tarbiyati Council Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi:

Social media has been in a sort of frenzy about ethnic profiling of Pashtuns in Punjab. But is this the first time such thing has happened. A few years ago similar ethnic profiling was initiated in Karachi when operation Zarb-e-azb started. KP has done its own ethnic profiling when IDPs arrived. Bengalis complained similarly when they were Eastern part of us. In other words, we have a long history of ethnic profiling and one of the main reasons we have not emerged as one Pakistani nation. I condemn in strongest possible terms ethnic profiling anywhere in Pakistan against any community.

Pakistan was founded on the idea that Muslims were a separate nation in sub-continent. But after the independence, we need a new social contract to stay together as a nation which is missing so far. The 1973 constitution is divisive rather than uniting the people and requires a major overhaul. The most fundamental question we have to answer is whether our cultural identity should be linked to a geographic territory. Does a Pashtun living for three generations in Sind should remain a Pashtun or become a Sindhi? Is a Punjabi living in Peshawar for many generations remain Punjabi or become a Pashtun because of his location? Should those migrated from India 67 years ago still be considered Mohajir or should they now call themselves Pakistanis? Same is the situation with Baloch and Sindhis.

One key reason for opposition to a referendum on FATA to decide whether it should become a province or merge with KP is the fear that it could inspire others to demand the same. A referendum in FATA could become precedence for those campaigning for Hazara, Bhawalpur, South Punjab, South KP, North Balochistan and Karachi provinces.

I understand that these are politically difficult situations to handle but that is what leadership is all about. We can’t delay it any longer as it is preventing us building a stronger nation. We have to allow people to have a voice in these political decisions and respect their choice. Only then we can emerge as a united and stronger nation. I have no doubt that people of Pakistan love their cultural diversity and consider it a strength of the nation. They are the ones that should be credited with staying together while our politicians have been dividing them for their own short-term benefits.

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