Khan was no hero

Khan was no hero – Letters to the Editor

I was rather amused to read the hagiographic representation of Abdul Ghaffar Khan in your magazine (“A Pacifist Uncovered,” by Amitabh Pal, February issue). As a Pakistani citizen, I take strong exception to certain comments that Pal made.

Khan was a Pashtun ethnonationalist whose legacy is the destabilization of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, which in no small way is responsible for the Taliban debacle.

Pakistan can do well to follow the constitutional and secular democratic vision of its founder, Barrister Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who at one time was known as the “Best Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity” and who envisaged an amiable relationship between sovereign India and sovereign Pakistan.

Yasser Latif Hamdani

New Brunswick, New Jersey

As a Pakistani, I am intrigued by the vast exposure that Abdul Ghaffar Khan is getting from the media. However, I would disagree with Amitabh Pal when he said that Khan “has a lot to offer, not least to the leaders of India and Pakistan.”

Undoubtedly, Gandhi’s message of nonviolence and mutual reconciliation between belligerents like Pakistan and India has a lot to offer, but Khan has no politically valuable advice for Pakistan or India.

Khan advocated an anti-Pakistani attitude amongst his people, the Pashtuns. Even if Khan was against violence, he fomented anti-Pakistani protests and civil unrest, which eventually do lead to violence. Separatism is the worst advice that Pakistan and India can pay heed to, and Khan demanded a separate homeland for the Pashtuns, called Pashtunistan.

Nonetheless, Khan’s interpretations of Islam are unique and just and extremely valuable. His humble life and selfless devotion towards this goal are priceless in a region where greed, intolerance, and corruption have wreaked havoc. It shouldn’t be forgotten that he is the first Pashtun in known history to pacify one of the most war-like people in the world. Even if he was a traitor, Pakistanis must not ignore his life and achievements.

Faris Kasim

South Brunswick, New Jersey

COPYRIGHT 2002 The Progressive, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group