The title is somewhat misleading, because the 18 ( 32 in some reports) killed in Bara, Khyber Agency are not the only 18 (or 32) that have been killed since 2009 nor is this the first incident of mass killing in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). Several similar incidents have gone unreported due to the fact that there is no media access to FATA. Journalists who dare to bring out the true picture of FATA are silenced. This time though, the people of FATA decided to protest in front of Governor House Peshawar, probably inspired by the recent protest by Hazara Community in Quetta. Without going into the details of this particular incident, as many people have already written about it, I would like to write about the things that Pashtun Nation must learn from this incident.
Most importantly, Pashtuns must stop seeing themselves as the wretched of the earth and start seeing themselves as rebels with a cause, start taking a proactive stance against their oppressors. Nobody is gong to come and help us. We need to help ourselves. To achieve this, we must liberate our minds from the victim-hood psychology encouraged by our oppressors. When we stop seeing ourselves as victims, we would not expect others to help us. We should be very clear about the fact that our ‘leaders’ have destroyed us by bowing down to the interests of our oppressors. They have ignored the plight of their people and are championing the interests of our oppressors, sacrificing innocent souls just so they can be in power a little longer.
The provincial government of Awami National Party that claims to be the representative of Pashtuns and claims to follow the ideology of peace showed its true face when it attacked the peaceful protesters sitting in front of Governor House Peshawar at mid night. To show us the essence of Pashtunwali, they confiscated the coffins with dead bodies inside, loaded them to a truck and transferred them to a cold storage – all this without the consent of the families of the victims. Not a single representative of the Awami National Party came to listen to what the people of Bara had to say, may be because they are not their voters so that makes them lesser Pashtun than those living in Swat, Mardan, Charsadda or Swabi.
We must grow conscious of how the media works in tandem with the agenda of our oppressors. The recent protests in Peshawar have exposed the bias of the media. No news channel except AVT Khyber covered the protests probably because the protesters were pointing fingers at the ‘BIG HORSE’ and you do not name the ‘BIG HORSE’ when they carry out collateral murder (collateral damage for them). If the protesters were to blame Lashkar e Islam, Ansar ul Islam, Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan or XYZ, the media would have jumped in because that is where the ratings are. Bashing the ‘BIG HORSE’ for a crime will not give you any ratings but is surely enough to get you killed.
Last, we need to change our mindset. We must stop being ignorant, foolish, and in love with our oppressors. We must stop searching for external enemies, the real enemy is the ‘BIG HORSE’ and its proxies. They are fraudsters who call for war, who call for hate but eventually kill us in the process to make millions. We must identify them. We should love our tradition but it should not keep us stuck in the past, looking to the past for salvation. We need think and act today. Our ‘leaders’ will never protect us. They will only rob us, exploit us, and devour our political freedoms. We must be fearless in everything that we stand for, this will eventually inspire the people to be fearless as well and we might make a difference.