NWFP be named Pukhtoonistan: Altaf
PESHAWAR: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain on Tuesday demanded the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) be renamed Pukhtoonistan, saying it was Pukhtoons’ right to have their separate identity.
“If we want to save Pakistan, we have to rename the frontier province,” said Altaf, while addressing the Peshawar Press Club’s Meet the Press programme on the phone from London. He warned that renaming NWFP was inevitable and if the government failed to do so it might cost Pakistan’s geographical borders. “NWFP will be renamed Pukhoonistan — within or outside Pakistann’s territory,” he added. “Punjabis have got Punjab just like Sindhis and Balochis do. Why not Puktoons’ territory be called Pukhtoonistan. The so-called NWFP should be renamed immediately,” he said. Altaf said if NWFP was not renamed, the other three provinces should be renamed. He said the Pukthoons had their separate culture and language but their province’s name was what the British had chosen. “It is a pity that the establishment calls those who make such demands traitors,” he said. Altaf said it was difficult for an illiterate Pukhtoon to pronounce NWFP correctly.
Altaf paid tribute to Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan, calling him a ‘freedom fighter.’
The MQM leader claimed his party had never rallied to the army. Asked what MQM’s stance on the uniform issue was, he said it was not important to get involved in the debate.
“What is more important is whether Sindh, Balochistan and Pukhtoonkhwa are Pakistan’s provinces or not. We need to find a permanent solution to the uniform issue,” he said.
Altaf warned against delaying autonomy to the provinces, saying the time was ripe to start a campaign for provincial autonomy.
The MQM leader directed Federal Minister Syed Safwanullah to ensure that journalists have their own houses. Federal Minister for Communications Shamim Siddiqui, who was present on the occasion, told Altaf that the minister concerned would look into the matter. iqbal khattak