It was only matter of time before PML(N) would have capitulated to the name Pakhtunkwa. PML(N) knew it, ANP knew it, and the rest of the parties knew it as well; the outcry was all part of the political point scoring. Initially refusing to accept pakhtunkwa was form of point scoring by PML(N), it was making sure that the clear message was being sent to the people for whom it supposedly refused to accept the name in the first place. There was similar outcry when Shahbz Shairf begged Taliban to spare Punjab. The potential audiences got just the right message in these two situation– PML(N) voting base, despite loud protests by some.
All the provinces in Pakistan are not close to being homogeneous, but at the same time they have the name of certain linguistic or ethnic group residing in that province. Balochis are about 55% of Balochistan’s population, but the province is called Balochistan. Sindhish are about 59% of Sindh’s population, but the province is called Sindh. Punjabi are 75% of Punjab’s population–that is if one doesn’t count Seriakis’ as ethnic Punjabis, but the province is called Punjab. The similar is true for pakhtunkwa, Pakhtuns are between 65% to 75% of the province’s population, depending on who you believe, the estimates vary–in this sense people of pakhtunkwa rightly demand their province to be named after Pakhtuns, the majority ethnic group in the province.
If we look into demographics of pakhtunkwa, it shows that the province is no way near made up of just one ethnic group. It has three distinct region. The region to the north of Islamabd/Rawalpindi region, bordering Punjab, is called Hazara division. It consists of three very important cities, Haripur, Mansehra, Abbotabad. The majority people belonging to this area are ethnically, linguistically and culturally similar to people of Punjab. The language spoken in the area, Hindko, is similar to Punjabi, and Mirpuri of Azad Kashmir. The rest of the Pakthoonkhwa is majority Pashtoon, with Pashto being the majority language, expect Dera Ismail Khan region. Although the majority people in Dera Ismail Khan are Pashtoons, but because it borders Punjab, the majority language spoken is Seriaki and not Pashto.
The only people who have major problem with pakhtunkwa being named pakhtunkwa are the people of Hazara division who speak Hindko. The Hindko speaking are about 20 to 25% of Paktoonkhwa’s population. And this is where PML(N) and its political point scoring comes into the picture. The Hazara division has total 7 NA seats. In 2008 general elections, PML(N) won 4 out of 7. It won both NA seats from important city of Abbotabad; it won one from Haripur, it also won one from Mansehra. PML(Q) won two out of three remaining seats, and an independent won one.
After their stance on pakhtunkwa, if PML(N) wins all seven Hazara division NA seats in next general election, it wouldn’t be a surprise. One has to drive through Hazara division to find out how passionately people feel about pakhtunkwa issue. And PML(N) was making sure people in Hazara were listening. PML(N) had no choice but to agree to the name Paktoonkhwa, and it knew it. It was making sure that people in Hazra heard its opposition to the name pakhtunkwa loudly and clearly.