PESHAWAR: The Pakhtunkhwa Jamhoori Tarun (PJT) here Friday rejected the new compound name for the NWFP and sought explanation from the Awami National Party (ANP) for suddenly accepting Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against its previous stance.
“If we had to agree to a hyphenated name for the province, we could have achieved it 20 years ago,” said Sikandar Sherpao, convener of the PJT. The PJT is a conglomeration of political parties and civil society organisations formed to remove wrong perceptions about the Pakhtuns and to address the root-causes of extremism and the problems faced by the Pakhtuns.
Speaking at a press conference, Sikandar Sherpao along with other leaders of the movement said that they were unable to understand as to what forced the ANP to change its stance on Pakhtunkhwa. “The leaders of the ANP were resolving to stick to their stand about Pakhtunkhwa during the deadlock. But we wonder as to why they agreed and what compelled them to accept the name Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” he argued.
Sikandar Sherpao said that Pakhtuns should be given a name in accordance with their culture and identity. The PJT rejected the new name and demanded the one-word Pakhtunkhwa as the new name for the NWFP. He argued that the NWFP Assembly had called for renaming of the province as Pakhtunkhwa. The assembly is the highest forum for making decisions but the resolution passed by it for the name-change has been dishonoured, he added.
The PJT convener said if the principle behind the new name of the NWFP was to be followed then Punjab should be renamed as Lahore-Punjab, Sindh as Karachi-Sindh and Balochistan as Quetta-Balochistan.
“We had not heard about Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa before. It came to the fore for the first time as it had never been discussed earlier,” he claimed. The PJT leader criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the ANP for mutually deciding the name of the province without consulting other parties. He said it was not only the matter of renaming the province but giving it the centuries-old name.
If some Pakhtuns are unhappy with the hyphenated name, the majority in Hazara division also disapproves of both Khyber and Pakhtunkhwa. Drawing analogy between the British and the ANP-PML-N, the PJT said the former imposed upon the Pakhtuns the name of the NWFP and the latter chose Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against the wishes of the people.
“Khyber is not a part of the NWFP. The prefixing of Khyber with Pakhtunkhwa is violation of Article 247 of the Constitution,” said Asad Afridi, hailing from Fata. He said the federal government was administering the Fata but the prefixing of its popular mountain pass to Pakhtunkhwa to coin a new name for the province was surprising.
Shahab Khattak, representing poets and scholars, said they were disappointed by the new name. He said the PML-N had conveyed a wrong message that it would not allow the people of other provinces to have their will in the decisions about issues specific to them.