Khan Shaheed’s Legacy of National Struggle and Democracy Lives On

Muzamil Shah Watan yar
On the 25th of October 1956, Forty-nine years old Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai was produced in the district court of Lahore. He was facing sedition charges. Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai in his statement said, “I have spent the best portion of my life in the jails of British and Muslim league regimes. No human being can tolerate this willingly. If my purpose is true, God willing the verdict of time shall certainly be in my favor. True intentions seldom fail because of the paucity of companions but Even if I am no more in this world, many more will come to raise the banner high in exaltation. The caravan of life shall move forward forever.
Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai opened his eyes in district Killa Abdullah of British Baluchistan, at the residence of Noor Muhammad khan, on 7th July 1907. His family had remained the front-line warrior, in defense of the Afghan motherland, for centuries. The Inherited deep sense of belonging to the land, when combined with his commitments, made him a freedom fighter. A freedom fighter who fought colonizers with nonviolence. In 1929 he wanted to join Ghazi Amanullah Khan’s army but got arrested. Soon after his release, he went to Lahore where he attended the annual conferences of All India Congress and other political parties. He visited Mumbai where he met Mohandas Gandhi and gave him a pamphlet in which he had highlighted the issues of British Baluchistan.
After meeting political leaders and assessing his society he realized that the reason behind our poverty, hunger, backwardness, and destruction is our slavery. Nations have never progressed under slavery and no nation opts for development at the cost of their independence. Nations that don’t have a trained army and other resources can achieve their goals only through politics. Khan Shaheed in his autobiography writes, “Oppressed have no other weapon except politics”. Moreover, he writes “Politics is the foundation of consciousness and consciousness is the guarantor of human development”. He knew this struggle would not be possible without a political party, so he founded a political party (Anjuman I watan) in 1938.
Unlike other confused political activists of that era, Khan shaheed had a clear, indisputable, and unequivocal narrative on National struggle and democracy. The nature of Khan Shaheed’s struggle from day first had remained National-Democratic, anti-feudal, and anti-imperialism. This can easily be comprehended from the demands of Anjuman I Watan, which were presented in their first annual congress in 1939. Anjuman I watan demanded
1) The abolition of FCR (Frontier crime Regulation),
2) Provincial autonomy,
3) Abolition of unnecessary Shahi jirga
4) Establishment of the municipal corporation in every city
5) Right to vote (one man one vote)
6) National freedom
7) End labor exploitation
Khan Shaheed struggled for the above-mentioned goals, under the banner of Anjuman I watan, till 1948 when Anjuman I watan got banned by the Muslim league regime.
In 1954 khan Shaheed founded another political party (Wror Pashtun). The core objective of Wror Pashtun was the establishment of Pashtunistan province comprised of NWFP and British Baluchistan. Wror Pashtun was later on merged into National Awami Party (NAP). NAP in its Manifesto had clearly mentioned that it would work for abolishment of one unit and restoration of old provinces. In 1970 NAP agreed to merge British Baluchistan (Pashtun Areas of Current Baluchistan) into Kalat states Union and formation of Balochistan. It was a clear violation of the Party Manifesto. Khan Shaheed Left the Party And Formed Pashtunkhwa National Awami Party.
Khan Shaheed’s vision of national struggle and democracy was by no means acceptable to British colonizers and Pakistani military dictators. He faced numerous impediments in his walk to freedom as he spent almost six years in jails before partition and spent more than seventeen years in jail after partition. He was the first and last detainee of dictator Ayub khan’s regime. He faced sedition charges, propagandas by tribal chiefs, attacks on his public demonstrations, and when the dark forces, involved in the Pashtun genocide, realized that nothing could deviate him from the path of freedom, he was assassinated on 2nd December 1973.
Twenty-five years old Mahmood Khan Achakzai became Chairman of the Pashtunkhwa National Awami party after the assassination of his father, Veteran Pashtun Nationalist and freedom fighter, Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai. He raised the flag, drenched in the blood of Khan Shaheed when nobody was willing to lead the party. He knew that it would cost him a lot as he had already seen his father being captive for dozens of years and he had seen his father’s assassination but Clouds of fear and cowardice could never gather over his head. PkMAP followed the footsteps of Khan Shaheed and remained a frontline warrior against military martial laws. PkMAP is the only political party of Pakistan that has not supported any martial law and always opposed the interference of the military in politics. It has remained part of MRD, APDM, PDM and other Movements for the establishment of rule of law and democracy, on the other hand, it has formed different alliances with nationalist parties such as PONM, Pashtun Rahber committee, PNDA, etc.
PkMAP’s role in different constitutional developments can not be ignored especially the role of Senior deputy chairman of PKMAP Abdur Rahim Mandokhail in the formation of 18th amendment. Former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani once said, “18th amendment would not have been possible without Abdur Rahim Mandokhail.” The path to freedom has always remained full of obstacles. Chairman Pkmap Mahmood Khan Achakzai faced three assassination attempts. On the 7th of October 1983 bullets were fired on Pkmap’s protest against martial law in which four workers got killed and dozens were wounded. FIR of the incident was registered against Mahmood Khan Achakzai and dozens of party workers were arrested. On the 11th of October, 1991 party office was attacked in which five workers, including central secretary Rahim kaliwal, got martyred. According to Mahmood Khan Achakzai in 1992 a tribal feud was used as a means to punish PkMAP for their stance on Afghanistan. In that feud, more than a hundred close relatives, friends, and tribe fellows of Mahmood Khan Achakzai were killed. In April 2000 an operation against party workers was conducted in Pashtun Abad Quetta in which four workers were killed and more than sixty got injured.
Recently Professor Ibrahim Arman Luni and Sardar Arif Wazir of PkMAP were killed for playing an extraordinary role in organizing PTM. On July 21st, 2021 the voice of the oppressed and marginalized segment of society, the provincial president of Pkmap, Usman Khan Kakar was assassinated in his home.
Khan shaheed had rightly said that even if he is no more, others would come and raise the flag high in exaltation. Today Pkmap has become the prominent face of Pashtun nationalism in Pakistan. Khan Shaheed’s legacy of national struggle and democracy lives on.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agree with them.
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