Is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa better off than NWFP?

Published: July 6, 2010

The name change has only yielded political satisfaction for a paticular party

“Why was naming our province Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the course of ANP’s tenure so crucial?” I have asked my father repeatedly and consequently got into long discussions on why NWFP just had be renamed. Was this the issue that surpassed all our other problems? I don’t think so. When I asked several colleagues the same question one said, “I don’t think I care whether it’s called KPK or NWFP. We’re knee-deep in a serious crisis that needed to be tackled first. This could have been addressed later.”

Over all, the name change was met with a lot of enthusiasm from the pro-Pakhtunkhwa population but has faced a resistence from the Hazara community. What is most disconcerting is that instead of bringing harmony to the province, the new name has led to further bloodshed and acts of terrorism. The government, certainly, has been trying to bridge the resulting gap between the two ethnic groups but that feat has been a hard one to achieve. The government has a long way to go before the grievances of the Hindko-speaking minority can be resolved. 

Furthermore, KPK is home to several different linguistic groups. Pakhtuns are the majority but to deny the Hazaras, Chitralis and the Saraiki-speaking belt their own identity has been a mistake at par with none the recent government has committed.  

While it was undeniably necessary that the province and its population have a representative name just like all the other provinces in the country, the decision was taken emotionally and not rationally. The magnitude of the change should have been foreseen and planned before being implemented. I wouldn’t be wrong if I said the government has been stumped by the amount of work accompanied with a simple name change. It has been a huge monetary loss and has had  effected government institutions, colleges, schools, passports and identity cards.

With the Taliban still plaguing Swat and the surrounding areas, illiteracy rising, next to no resources, and a plethora of other issues the name change has brought no relief to the masses – except for maybe satisfying the political ground of one particular party. Why, than, shouldn’t NWFP or KPK as it is called now, be the seat of further unrest and collapse?

Now, if the government is done celebrating the newly-acquired name of the province, and self-satisfied political leaders are done with erecting congratulatory billboards claiming that this is the greatest accomplishment of all times perhaps they start concentrating on the more important problems at hand.

Bushra Maheen Rahman

Bushra Maheen Rahman

A doctor from Peshawar who writes, blogs at www.pistaye.wordpress and tweets @MaheenRahman

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