PML-(N) leverages Pakhtunkwa debate for Votes in Hazara

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.



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16 responses to “PML-(N) leverages Pakhtunkwa debate for Votes in Hazara”

  1. Teeth Maestro Avatar

    Great analysis yet again – makes perfect sense, I too was wondering whats the mystery behind these feet dragging

    1. Aamir Mughal Avatar

      Dear Alvi Sahab,

      Past Record of "Pakhtoonkhwa: Renaming of the NWFP" [Nawaz Sharif's second government 1997 – 1999]

      The issue of renaming the North Western Frontier Province has sparked an acrimonious argument between the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group). A resolution on renaming of the province as Pakhtoonkhwa was passed by majority in the NWFP assembly on Nov 13 1997. The resolution later became controversial due to a tough resistance by several political parties of the province against the backdrop of an aggressive campaign launched in its favor by the ANP and some other nationalist groups. By February 1998, the situation in the NWFP reached a point of acute polarization between the pro-Pakhtoonkhwa campaigners, particularly those from the ANP, and the opposing group led by veteran Muslim Leaguers.

      The ANP leader, Khan Abdul Wali Khan says that (a) changing the name of the province was no longer an issue as the matter was settled by the NWFP Assembly and (b) that they were discussing with Mian Nawaz Sharif whether Punjab should accept the NWFP resolution. Wali Khan argues that the question of Pakhtoonkhwa was not the question of change of name but of safeguarding the provincial autonomy. The ANP President, Senator Ajmal Khattak has clarified that his party wanted that except for foreign affairs, defense, currency and communications, which should remain with the center, all other subjects should be handed over to the provinces.

      The PML (N) parliamentary party of NWFP on Feb. 20, 1998 rejected the ANP demand for renaming the province as Pakhtoonkhwa, but empowered the Prime Minister to suggest any other "non-controversial" name. The PML (N) members stressed that Frontier (Sarhad) was a good name for the province. But if at all, renaming the province was needed, then it should be named as Khyber or Abasin. The NWFP Chief Minister, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, said that the will of the people should be taken into account while resolving the Pakhtoonkhwa issue and referendum could be one way of ascertaining what the people wanted.

      However, the Awami National Party (ANP) leadership rejected the offer of holding referendum on the issue. The ANP also disapproved "Khyber" to be the new name of the province and it had told the government that it would get its demand accepted or would leave the coalition with the PML both in Center and the province. READ THE DETAILS: Pakhtoonkhwa: Renaming of the NWFP On the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Pakistan Abdus Sattar Ghazali Presents ISLAMIC PAKISTAN:

      ILLUSIONS & REALITY A comprehensive and detailed political history of Pakistan

      17. Colonial NWFP or Pakistani Pakhtoonkhwa? By Prof. Em. Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani [Frontier Post, Peshawar – 15-2-1998]

      18. Ibid.

      19. Ibid.

      20. Ibid.

      21. Ibid.

      22. New hopes, old fears by M.B.Naqvi – Dawn 12.1.1997

  2. mr salman jafri Avatar

    i think if someone as a party says that they are going to put a referendum in nwfp with additional names the hazara area and pakhtun will possibly go for another name and a competition for names on the referendum, whichever does that will pick up seats up in national and provincial level where ppl have a choice to pick and win of possibly several seats.

  3. Talkhaba Avatar

    This article by Rahimullah Yousufzai is must read,

    In my view PakhtunKhwa is Khwamakhua for both ANP and PML N &Q. ANP consider is Khwamakhua, that of Persian and Pashto which means indispensable and KhwamaKhua, that of Urdu. I wouldn't repeat what has alerdy been said, but would certainly comments on the ridiculous stance of Majeed Nizami and his newspaper. The Name like Afghania, Pukhtoonistan and PakhtunKhwa will make this region part of Afghanistan. This is not going to happen but the Punjab dominated army's operation against Pukhtoons has certainly to do it. Both ANP and PML N don't care about that.

    Being a Pukhtoon I just appeal “Don’t name me PakhtunKhwa or any other name but please please please don't kill me for the crusaders directed &controlled by the churches in England and USA."

  4. junaid Avatar


    The probolem is not because its a Panjab dominated Army.

    The problem is its the children of those people, who sold Syyed Ahmed Shaheed to the Sikh Rajas, which are dominating the Na-Pak Army.

    If people of NWFP wants to name NWFP as Pahtunkhwa, so be it. I don't have any issue with that.

  5. Tayyab Mahmood Avatar
    Tayyab Mahmood

    Dude, take a chill pill…NWFP Name is now changed… I think we as a Nation are cursed not to enjoy any thing for even a second… why can't we hold our bashing guns / tongues for a day or so & Enjoy the Happiness for Pakhtuns & Pakistanis.

    People of subcontinent Regardless of religion / race are simply Jack Ass.

    1. Tayyab Mehmood Avatar
      Tayyab Mehmood


      Now u have got Chill pill and now ur bloody pakhtoon khwa mukha goverment members fare to enter in Hazara Provine.

      If they have courage and justification why don't till date they could announce a your bloody pakhtun khua mukha jashan in Hazara provimce.

      I wish one of ur brother also died in extra juditiol killing in peace full abbottabad, so that you can understand feelings of Hazara people.

      Long live Pakistan…..

      Jan say Pyara Sooba Hazara.

  6. Nazia Avatar

    So now all are happy on puktoonwa kyber identification.

    Would it bring peace back to at least minimum in the province?

    I hope this all time revolutionary name restore the power supply in this province which is facing 18 to 20 hrs daily load shedding.

    Literacy rate surely would jump to maximum by changing this name.

    Now extremely rich leaders of PPP, PML and ANP and MMA would brought their money back to province and sooner it would act like Singapore of Pakistan.

    Now our all leaders would arrange their political meeting in Peshawar instead of Dubai and London.

    What a blow our political leadership did to British rulers after 63 years?

    We again proved that democracy is best revenge to people of Pakistan by its political cartoons under miltiary supremacy.

    1. jamal Avatar

      so far the problems are concerned in our country,they are faced by all the provinces such as the load sharing is faced by all provinces but the issue of identity is something different.the absence of identity affect the dignity of a nation as a whole.if hazara want separate province,they can have but not at the expence of pushtoonkhwa seats in the national the same time there should be a province of saraiki,bahawalpor,pashtoon in baluchiston and mahajir is karachi. so that national assembly strenght could be divided will help unity in the nation.

  7. Tayyab Mahmood Avatar
    Tayyab Mahmood


    sorry to say.

    Again a typical mindset…. in 1950s West Pakistan (Bengali's) only asked us to acknowledge Bengali as National Language along-with Urdu… we refuse to accept it, called them traitor… then in 1971 they were so fed-up by us that they Fought with Army & created a new Courtnay…. People want their identity. Want their say in National Matters……

    1. Nazia Avatar


      Nothing to sorry

      Having a typical mindset is a sin or crime in state laws.

      I have developed this mind set as same game is going on around us since the creation of Pakistan.

      Bengalis didnt know that Pakistan was planned by urdu speaking group and most of them having rich and elite backgrounds.

      Poor made sacrifices of their lives when Pakistan was announced.

      Most of last generations of creators of Paksitan were awarded by British rulers through awards and property rewards.Same they did here through their influence.

      So they considered these Benggalis as kamme kammen like class.

      They are also same typical mindset people who created ethnic groups in urdu speaking community and created state violence through them in one of economical hub of Pakistan.

      So now pukhtoons are trying to be happy by giving them lollipop of such identification after destroying their identity and real lifestyles first on the name of jihad war and then war on terror and this process is going on for last 20 years.

      so if I use your ID AS MAHMOOD TAYYAB then it does affect your way of expression in this forum.

      if you think then try to practice it and then see our acts,words and handling procedures that produce complement and complexes in human attitudes Which ultimately lead toward anarchy in civil set up.

      Such kind of political stunt is showing impotency of political structure who couldnt rehabilitate the war areas of swat, couldn't stop drone attacks, didn't solve a single civic problems in 10 years but surely distributing sweets on such useless objectives that wouldn't contribute enough to hide their failures or even corruption records.

    2. jamal Avatar

      i agree with the gentleman that each nation want identity. social science book are replete with subject that all nation require identity that is why pustoon must identity in pakhtookhwa so that they could contribute more to the nation building.

    3. Tayyab Mehmood Avatar
      Tayyab Mehmood

      @ Tayyab Mehmood,

      If u wana go into history dont forget your be trador forefathers, who always have dream to become a part of ur beloved india.

      And even dont want to be burried into Pakhtun's land, that was people of Hazara who gave vote for Pakistan.

      We dont want to be part of betrator Pakhtun's.

      Shame of all those who never accepted Pakistan.

  8. fatima.ahtesham Avatar

    I would say that its a wonderful article and i really like it

  9. takhalus Avatar

    pakhtuns are 73% of NWFP by language as per the 1998 census

  10. Muhammad Ali Avatar
    Muhammad Ali

    Hazrat Muhammad(P.B.U.H) said that nation involves in nationalism is liable for misery. What they (ANP) achieve by renaming province on basis of language and enthic.

    Now our parliment give licence to so called majority (In reality Hindko speakers were more than 70% of Peshawer and rest of hazara Division and Kohat ratio of non pashtoons are 80%) to expolite the rights of non pashtoons.

    Shamfull acts by PPP and PML- N for promoting hatered inside peacefull area.

    Let put some light on orginal inhabitants powerfull tribes of Hazara like Karlals, Tanolis, Jadoons, Swatis and Gujjars. Histry is full of their bravery and nobleness.

    The Physchie of Hazarawals is live and to let live others.If some one try to indulge their right they were very dangerous.

    My last sentences reflects light on blunders commited by politicians and their criminal ideology. Now things were seems to be irreconciable with pastoons. They try to take our identity and dominate our will for their fake esteem.

    May God bless Pakistan.