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Naya Tirah

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A hope was kindled in the hearts of many in the aftermath of the massacre at Quetta’s Alamdar road. In response to Lashkar e Jhangvi’s (LeJ) ownership of the killings, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek I Insaaf (PTI), Imran Khan, openly condemned LeJ by taking its name.

In most countries such a condemnation would be the minimum expected from a politician. But in Pakistan most politicians shy away from naming jihadi perpetrators, even when the killers are taking responsibility.

These politicians overwhelmingly belong to the parties from the center and right of Pakistan’s political spectrum. Imran Khan in particular has been called out by many of his critics for failing to condemn terrorism. Therefore, it was significant that he had condemned the LeJ, especially when one also considers his popularity.

But then, just days after his condemnation, Imran Khan repeated the mantra that has earned him the title of “Taliban Khan”.

In an interview, Khan Sahib offered this three-step solution to the problem of militancy:

Step 1: Disengage from the US led War on Terror (WoT).

Step 2: This will rob Taliban of their reason for Jihad, and most Taliban will renounce militancy.

Step 3: Use the tribes of FATA to take on the remaining Taliban.

This very simple solution is based on some very false assumptions. Consider this conclusion where he claims “Qabaili ilaqay k loag Mujahideen say nahi larain gay” i.e. “People of the tribal areas will not fight against the Mujahideen”. To conclude this is to assume the tribes of FATA to be in an alliance of sorts with the Taliban. It is important to analyze this assumption, because this is the cornerstone of PTI’s solution for militancy.

The implications of assuming a tribal-Taliban alliance are huge as it leads to the conclusion that the Pashtuns of FATA are partners in the crimes committed by the Taliban.

Now consider the fact that the TTP’s list of victims spreads across almost every sect and ethnicity in Pakistan. Try telling the relatives of a Punjabi victim of terror that the Pashtuns of FATA killed their loved one in order to avenge US drones. Sympathy is the last thing that should be expected. It is a highly irresponsible statement to be coming from a national leader.

But then this is not just about maintaining Pakistan’s ethnic harmony, as it is absolutely wrong to assume a tribal-Taliban alliance, because a majority of the people of FATA themselves are victims of the Taliban.

For the rest of us, Taliban rule is a fear that is still part of an uncertain future. But for many in FATA this is an every day reality. A whole generation is being raised without the hope that education provides or the lifeline that a health system extends. Ban on polio drops, enforced prayers and beards, lashings and beheadings. This is the life that no one would want, especially not the tribes of FATA who have always prided themselves on being Azad (free).

Contrary to the preposterous claim by the Chairman of PTI, the tribes of FATA are actually already fighting against the Taliban. The proof for that is overwhelming; anti Taliban Lashkars have been raised across FATA and around 1000 tribal elders have been massacred by the Taliban. A survey conducted by CAMP in 2010 asked the people of FATA about their views on the Pakistani Taliban; mere 11% had positive perceptions, similarly only 20% approved of the Afghan Taliban. Another survey of FATA respondents conducted by the New America Foundation in 2010, whose results have widely been used to oppose drones, also showed a mere 20% support for Pakistani Taliban, while only 29% for Afghan Taliban.

Ironically, this 23rd of March, when the PTI was heralding the beginning of a “Naya Pakistan” in Lahore, the assumptions of its anti terror policy were being blown up in the valley of Tirah (FATA).

The people of Tirah were being driven out en masse.  But neither were they being attacked by CIA drones nor chased by US marines. Instead, they were under attack from the Tehreek I Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The same TTP, which the Chairman of PTI assumes to be in alliance with the people of Tirah.

Not only were these “Mujahideen” fighting against the Qabail, but they were fighting in a most despicable manner. Horrific stories are coming out of the area; of an old father shooting his disabled daughter because he could not carry her, and neither did he want to leave her at the mercy of the Taliban. Of men getting beheaded even after they had surrendered.

Imagine being one of these IDPs from Tirah; chased by the Taliban, losing your home and relatives to them, and then being told by a “FATA expert” that you are an ally of the Taliban; just because the US has invaded Afghanistan, and also because your grandfather fought the British. One can only imagine the response.

To an extent the problem also lies in Imran Khan’s romanticized perceptions about Pashtuns. It is very common to hear Khan sahib talk about the tribes of FATA as one would about the Klingons from Star Trek; warrior nation, ready to fight, fearless, undefeatable etc.

Well Tirah was a test case for those abilities; the Qabail did fight but were completely routed by the Taliban. After which they fled to save their lives, just like humans would in any other part of the world. Contrary to popular racist humor, the Pathans of Pakistan are as much insaans as the rest of Pakistan.

The vulnerability of these Pakistanis from Tirah is obvious from their current status as IDPs. Romanticizing their warrior skills is good for works of fiction, but would be ridiculous if done as a policy statement to absolve the state of its responsibility to defend them.

The Pakistanis of Tirah have as much a right to be defended by the state as do the Pakistanis of Bani Gala or Zaman Park, a defense that has very conveniently been declared as “futile” by the architects of Naya Pakistan.

Can we declare our personal freedoms to be not worth fighting for? Would we be ok with a “peace” that comes at the price of polio and illiteracy for our children and of beheading, amputations and lashings for ourselves?

If our freedoms are not worth fighting for then why have we been apportioning the bulk of our budget for defense since independence? What exactly were we planning to defend if not the future of our children?

If our military has failed to contain the Taliban threat, then that asks for the military’s performance review and not that FATA be put up for sale to the buyer with the sharpest knife or the biggest gun. If collateral damage is an issue then that demands a closer scrutiny of military operations and not that our people be handed over to a band of ruthless thugs.

While many Pakistanis are crossing their fingers for a Naya Pakistan, we already have a Naya Tirah. It is a Tirah that is empty of its people, and reeks of rotting dead bodies. It is also a Naya Tirah that is making its residents yearn for the old one.

Lets not end up in a Naya Pakistan that will also make us yearn for this old one.

First appeared in View Point online on the 5th of April 2013


Written by Imran Khan

April 5, 2013 at 5:11 am

Posted in Military, Pakhtunkhwa, Pakhtuns, PTI, Taliban

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Dealing with the Devil

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If the loss of a Pakistani life is the ultimate damage inflicted upon this country, then the Tehreek I Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been far more devastating than any other enemy of Pakistan. Whether its burning buses full of Shias, beheading soldiers, murdering politicians or shooting little children, the TTP has done it all and shamelessly taken responsibility for it. Such has been their onslaught that it has raised our national threshold for shock; bombings with single digit casualties have become somewhat of a norm these days.

But that’s not it, after murdering us in our thousands; the TTP now has the gall to make demands from us. This includes distancing our self from the United States’ War on Terror (WoT) and also that we reform our constitution on more “Islamic principles”.

On the face of it, these demands could seem pretty reasonable to many, as the same is being demanded by parties such as JI, JUI-F, PML-N and PTI.  But while all of these parties would agree on the issue of US’s WoT, one wonders if the Islamic overhaul of the constitution as demanded by the Taliban is the same as that proposed by our political parties?

Afterall, TTP’s Islam doesn’t allow women to get modern education, but the Late Qazi Hussain Ahmad’s daughter has a doctorate. TTP declares democracy to be haram, but Maulana Fazl ur Rehman and his brother are seasoned politicians. TTP considers polio vaccination to be an infidel ploy, but I am very sure that Imran Khan’s sons have been vaccinated.

With these violations the loved ones of these leaders have been guilty of sins as per TTP’s Islam. But then these are “crimes” that we Pakistanis consider to be our basic rights. Conflict is obvious, and so is TTP’s preference for violence as a means of conflict resolution. So then does this threat to our basic freedoms turn this into our war? or is fighting for Atta ur Rehman’s political freedom, Samia Raheel Qazi’s education, and the health of Imran Khan’s sons someone else’s responsibility? While luckily these freedoms are intact for most of us Pakistanis, but that certainly is not the case for many in FATA living under the TTP as well as the “good Taliban”.

However, the emphasis right now is on “negotiating” with the tormentors of FATA. If you listen to the chairman of PTI, it seems like he is suggesting something that has never been tried before. His disappointment is so immense and the look of triumphant vindication so strong, that you wish our rulers had the wisdom to listen to him.

But the Swat accord is not that distant a memory. The people of Swat who had voted for the most secular of political parties were suddenly assumed to be in favor of Shariah. No one ever thought about asking the Swatis, because probably the real fear was that Liberty Chowk or Jinnah Super might become the next Khooni Chowks. Therefore, in the name of “peace”, the Malalas of Swat were handed over to the wolves, just so that the rest of the country could be spared.

It was the TTP’s eagerness to bring speedy justice to the DHAs, E-7s, and Gulbergs of real Pakistan that led to decisive action against them. Ironically it even rang alarm bells among the non-Swati proponents of Nizam i Adl. The TTP apparently had reneged because the deal was to keep the beheadings, lashings and amputations limited to Swat, and NOT Pakistan-proper.

If this is the “negotiation” that we have in mind, and if the Malalas of Waziristan are now to be permanently sacrificed at the altar of the TTP, then we for sure are redefining the word Pakistani.

The freedoms of FATA should be as defense worthy as that of Punjab and Sindh. If the collateral damage from drone strikes is an outrage, then using the same shock algorithm, the subjugation and terrorization of Waziristanis should be a sacrilege. Love for the pathans of FATA shouldn’t only come out when the aggressor is the United States, but also on their continued butchery at the hands of the Taliban, which has been far more devastating than drones.

If military operations are not bearing fruit, then why is it such a taboo to review the army’s performance? Are our freedoms up for sale just because we can’t question our generals? If WAPDA can be blamed for electricity outages, and the police for a lack of crime control, then why can’t Pakistan army be blamed for failures in its military operations?

Lets negotiate but lets not make a distinction between a Waziristani and a Pakistani. Lets think of them as one and then lets choose for Wana what we would choose for Lahore and Islamabad. If it is futile to defend our freedoms then for sure it is futile to have a standing army.

Bad policing requires police reforms, and not that victims be handed over to criminals. Similarly, failures of military operations highlight the needs for accountability of our armed forces. Handing over Waziristan to ensure the peace of Islamabad is not a sustainable strategy, because there is only so much of Waziristan that can be handed out.

An edited version appeared in The News on 15th of Feb 2013.

Written by Imran Khan

February 15, 2013 at 4:55 am

Media Priorities and the Caskets from Bara

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The memory of the martyrs of the Alamdar road massacre in Quetta is still fresh in our memories. The trail blazers of Alamdar Road, did a unique protest that struck a cord with all of Pakistan. So effective was this effort that the provincial government of a province was sent packing because of it.

Well that trend has caught on. Currently, around 5000 protestors from Khyber Agency have descended upon Governor House Peshawar carrying the bodies of the 18 martyrs who were killed as mercilessly as those in Alamdar Road.

There is a chance that you might not have heard about it, and that is because the Pakistani media has different priorities. Apart from the Pashto language Khyber TV, no other channel is giving it as special as a priority as they gave to Tahir ul Qadri today.

This is a look at the major news channels of Pakistan at around 4 pm on 16th of January 2013, only hours after the protestors brought their dead to Peshawar.

1- PTV – Lahore protest against TuQ

2- Express News – Tahir ul Qadri

3- Dunya TV – Lahore protest against TuQ

4- Aaj – Tahir Ul Qadri

5- Geo News – Tahir ul Qadri

6- ARY News – Tahir ul Qadri

7- Waqt News – Tahir ul Qadri

8- Samaa – Tahir ul Qadri

9- NewsOne – News Bulletin

10- Dawn News – Tahir ul Qadri

11- CNBC – Ghar key Baat (Flower decorations)

12- Channel 5 News – Tahir Ul Qadri

13- Din News – Tahir Ul Qadri

14- Apna News – News Bulletin

15- Khyber News – Peshawar protest #JusticeForTribesmen

The 18 dead of Bara demand the same attention, as the ones from Alamdar road.

Lets listen to their complaints as well, not all of Pakistan is lucky enough to only be worried about load shedding and corruption.

Written by Imran Khan

January 16, 2013 at 11:29 am

Posted in Media, Pakhtuns

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PTI’s Taliban Solution

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To get a measure of Malala’s courage one only needs to look at pictures of beheaded corpses on display in Mingora’s “Khooni Chowk”. It was no small achievement to write those diaries despite the gruesome warnings. Therefore, it was no exaggeration when Malala was awarded the title of “The Bravest Girl in the World”.

However, this title can be a bit misleading because her courage surpasses not only that of the girls of this world, but also of grown up men. Men such as the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek I Insaaf (PTI), who confessed on TV that he refrains from criticizing the Taliban for fears of reprisals targeted at PTI.

Fear is a very human emotion and can be a valid reason for maintaining silence, but under no circumstances should it warrant the spreading of disinformation. It is a fact that when Malala was writing her diaries from Mingora and detailing the killings and destruction of schools, the chairman of PTI, from the safety of Islamabad, had declared all such news to be mere “government propaganda”. More than flowers and commiserations, what Mr. Khan owes Malala is an apology for discrediting her efforts.

But expecting such an apology would be a bit too much, because PTI’s campaign of disinformation still continues. Khan Sahib’s proposed solution to the Taliban problem is one such example.

Declaring it as the “only solution”, he presents three main steps towards peace:

Step 1: Pakistan distances itself from United States’ war on terror (WOT), and as a result Taliban lose the reason for their struggle.

Step 2: Convince the tribes of FATA that Pakistan is not fighting the WOT anymore, and thus convince the Taliban to disarm. Mr. Khan believes that 90% of the Taliban would lay their arms down at this point.

Step 3: If the remaining 10% still persist on ideological basis, then a small “chota mota” military operation could be carried out with the help of the tribes of FATA.

This strategy is based on some very flawed assumptions as Khan Sahib assumes the people of FATA to be siding with the Taliban. To back this claim he invokes history and then leaves it at that.

Historical references are important to consider but more important are modern day ones. This “Tribal-Taliban-Unity” straw man stands exposed with the existence of anti-Taliban tribal lashkars that are created through community consensus. These communities have lost centuries old tribal structures to the Taliban onslaught and have endured beheadings of their loved ones on their native soil. As a result rather then being angry with the Americans in Afghanistan, these rational Pakistanis are more perturbed by the barbarians who are unlawfully ruling their villages through fear and intimidation. Why is it that the rebellion of these entirely Pashtun anti Taliban groups does not remind Imran Khan of the indomitable spirit that resisted the British, while he is very eager to declare a motley crew including Chechens, Punjabis, Arabs, Turkmen, and Uighars as “Pashtun resistance”?

Similarly baseless is the claim that 90% of the Taliban are fighting this war because of Pakistan’s support for the WOT.  PTI’s failed attempt to hold a jalsa in Waziristan proves the non-existence of this “90%”. If such an overwhelming number of Taliban agreed with PTI, then PTI would have been embraced as an ideological ally and Khan Sahib would not have been titled as “a slave of the west”.

This “slavery” of Mr. Khan is certainly not about siding with the United States in the WOT, because he has made his opposition quite clear on that front. However, this particular slavery is signified through his beardless face, his approval for female education, polio vaccination and his acceptance of many other freedoms that we Pakistanis consider our basic rights.

It is clear that Taliban’s measure of freedom from the West is for Imran Khan and the rest of Pakistan to be enslaved under Taliban rule. The people of Waziristan and Swat have tasted this and the struggle of Malala was against these exact “freedoms”. The Swat experience showed that Taliban would not settle for anything less than total control and will not desist from expanding through violent means. If the military is not needed to counter such an existential threat, then in my opinion there is no need for a military.

A very common retort to the military option is to ask what exactly have we accomplished through operations so far? But if our military has failed to deliver then that demands that its performance be reviewed, and not that Pakistanis be handed over as hostages to a band of armed thugs.

The bulldozed town of Loi Sum stands testament to the scorched earth and highhanded policies of a military that feels no restraint. The discovery of Osama in Kakul and the presence of Taliban sympathizers within our armed forces raise serious concerns about the inherent weaknesses within our military response. Before declaring the futility of military efforts, we need to consider the overwhelming evidence that indicates both incompetence and/or collusion in the war against Taliban.

If demands are to be made from the Government, then they should be to demand results from the army. If anything the memogate scandal shows that our Government needs support from all political quarters to break the grip that the security establishment has on Islamabad.

The Taliban constitute an existential threat to Pakistan and the Pakistani way of life. Despite the death of thousands of Pakistanis we still lack the resolve to fight this menace. This lack of a resolve emanates directly from the confusion that prevails about this issue. The source of this confusion lies in ridiculous theories that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny.

The price for this confusion is not being equally paid by all of Pakistan. If handing over Swat and Waziristan to buy the safety of Islamabad and Lahore is the “only solution” then it for sure is not a sustainable one, because sooner rather than later Pakistan is bound to run out of these Pashto speaking lesser Pakistanis.
An edited version was published on the 7th of Nov 2012 in The News

Written by Imran Khan

November 7, 2012 at 6:58 am

Posted in Military, Pakhtuns, PTI, Taliban

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For the Love of ATTAN

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So what is Attan? In one word it is a dance. But this is the dance of the Pashtuns; a people who according to some have formed the largest tribal society in the world. Since the dance in some cases also serves as a form of tribal identity (although there are exceptions), the large number of tribes and sub tribes is reflected in diversity in the various forms of Attans in practice. Although it is important to mention that Attan is not indigenous to all Pashtun areas. This “Attan-less” zone includes almost all of the northern districts of Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in Pakistan i.e. Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Dir, Malakand etc and also the tribal agencies of Khyber, Mohmand, and Bajaur.

A peculiar aspect of Attan these days is the rate at which it is being documented. Modern technology is to be accredited for that; the proliferation of mobile cameras has made youtube a treasure trove of attan videos, just typing the word “Attan” in youtube returns approximately 19,700 videos.

This is an attempt to leverage that great resource and identify the types of Attan that are out there and to highlight variations within each type, but first a bit on the history of Attan.

History of Attan

There are various explanations regarding the history of Attan. One version puts its roots in Zoroastrianism; as this dance was supposed to take the early Zoroastrians into a trance like state.

Another version ascribes the Attan to Alexandar’s invasion of modern day Afghanistan. Thus tying Attan to the ancient “Pyrrhic Dance”, a war dance that was part of military training in both Athens as well as Sparta.

V.H.1 Pyrrhic Dance

V.H.1 is quite an original version of the Pyrrhic dance filmed in 1960.

There were apparently four divisions in the dance, which were as follows: the podism or footing a quick motion such as might be required for overtaking the enemy (or for fleeing from him) the Xiphism, or sham fight; the Kosmos with very high leaping or vaulting a training for the jumping of ditches or walls and the Tetracomos a square figure with slow majestic measure

V.H.2: Pyrrhic Dance

V.H.2 is from the Olympic Games ceremony of 2004 that was held in Athens.

There maybe more historical accounts out there that I am not aware of, but for both of the above explanations I could not find any substantive sources to make them authentic enough in my opinion.

But whatever the history, presently Attan is a highly evolved as well as diversified dance form. From a source of tribal identity to an expression of joy as well as protest, the Attan is an integral part of Pashtun society.

Disclaimer and Requests:

Before I present my version of the various types I have to spell out my constraints in carrying out this exercise. Being from Peshawar city I am not native to any Attan styles, so my subjective assessment is influenced by my Attan searches on youtube and more importantly by interactions with friends who have grown up with some of these Attans. For this reason, I have had a lot more input on the Attans from Pakistan particularly for Type B and C (in my listing), but for all the other ones my source has been youtube.

While considering videos, I have tried my best to avoid videos from concerts or ones where the music is being played on a stereo. Instead I have mostly chosen ones with dhols (drums) and rural settings. Having scoured through hundreds of videos on youtube, I have found a few uploaders very useful, they are AttanNations , SrJanNasar and shoaibmasood211.

In determining the tribe of the dancers, I have taken the word of the person posting the video. If any changes are in order, then post your explanations in the comments section while quoting the number of the video.

And now a request; back in 1999, I received a book as a gift. In it was a description of the various types of Attans both in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. The book was published in Afghanistan back in the 70s I guess, and was a very extensive thesis on the various types of Attans out there. The explanation was done entirely in text with almost no pictures. Having not seen the different Attans I could not make any sense of it. But now along with youtube that book could be a great resource in putting pictures to its words. However the problem is that I have lost that book, and cant seem to find another copy. If anyone knows which book I am referring to then kindly do let me know, even if its just the name.

Music Instruments

Before we go into the details of the various types, lets quickly go through the musical instruments needed to make an Attan come to life.

The most essential instrument of course is the Dhol (Drum). But dhols vary by sizes, for some types the size is relatively small. The reason for that could be geographic but the distinction between dhols is apparent among the various types of attans.

The second most important instrument is the Surna (Zurna), although very common, the surna is not essential with every type.

Another instrument that is specific to some styles, is the Baja (Harmonium), given the size and shape of the harmonium it is usually played while sitting on the ground, but for Attans, the harmonium is bound in a shawl that is wrapped around the players back.

A very rare one is the Sarangi just like Baja this one too is supposed to be played while sitting down but for Attan, the musicians strap it in front to walk along the group of dancers.

So without much further ado, to the various types;

Types of Attan

My division of the various types focuses on differences in their style of execution, the steps involved, the beat and also the musical instruments used. Considering these factors I have identified seven separate types of Attans. The distinctions are not set in stone and would love feedback on how to improve them. Furthermore, tribes are not limited to one style and a tribe can appear in two different styles. This is true for the first five types as we will see.

But here is how I have divided the different styles, and the tribes that I have identified for each:

Type A: Wardak, Mangal, Zadran, Niazi

Type B: Wazir, Mehsud, SalmanKhail, Marwat, Bhitani, Miani

Type C: Achakzai, Barech, Kakar, Jafar, Kasi

Type D: Salman Khail, Kharoati, Nasar, Tarakai, Luni

Type E: Zazai, Mangal, Turi

Type F: Khattak

Type G: Mashwani, Tanoli

Note: The tribe names against each style are what I could find on the net, would include links to more and update accordingly if I receive more videos.


Type A: Wardak, Mangal, Zadran, Niazi

Type A is probably the most common in Afghanistan. I say this because of old videos coming out of Kabul TV in the 70s, which predominantly had this type of Attan. The beginning pace is slow where the dancers step backward and then forward with a clap to complete the loop. At later stages the attan goes into a series of alternate clock and anti clockwise full turns. The dhol used is of a smaller size, and thats the only instrument used, usually there are two dhol players.

One of the most famous singers for this style is Daud Hanif, his song “tora da jilkai” was a hit back in the day and was THE Attan song everywhere. Being used to the Type B and C Attans, I found it very difficult to dance to the beat of Type A especially during the last stages, as the music stops abruptly and then restarts to launch the dancers into turns. This break is very distinctive of Type A Attans and separates it from Type B and C although in slower tempo all three are the same when it comes to music.

V.A.1: Wardak

V.A.2: Wardak

Another version, for the faster stages involves a more complicated sets of turns; it begins with three clockwise turn each taking 3 beats, and then a counter clock turn followed by a quick clockwise turn. a very peculiar thing about this version is the presence of a leader. The guy leading the pack coordinates with the drummer, the main decision is when the change is made from claps to turns, and the leader gives his command by quickly touching the ground, the drummer then changes his beat to accommodate for the upcoming turns while the followers also launch into turns.

V.A.4: Mangal

V.A.4 breaks into qataghani dance as well during the attan

V.A.5: Zadran

V.A.6: Niazi

One thing to conclude about Type A could be that it is perhaps the most popular Attan style. Furthermore, because of various reasons I have mentally put it as an Afghan Attan rather than a Pakistani one. But I have found quite a few videos accredited to tribes in Pakistan that are dancing the Type A. This could either be because of the proliferation of Attan (more on that later) and the dancers adopting to a new style, or it could be the case that the style is indigenous to the region; as someone commented on one of the videos that this type is known as “dray makhay” and that it is performed by “khattaks, waziirs’ masood’s paktiawal’s and also quetta side pashtoons!”. It would be interesting to get more proof on that, and therefore I am holding my judgement on it.

V.A.7: Bhittani,

A small change in V.A.7 from the regular Type A are the two leaps, one towards the dhols and a subsequent one away from them. Leaps such as these are a very prominent stylistic feature of the dances in Type B, as we will see in the next section.

V.A.8: Khattak

V.A.9: Marwat


Type B – Wazir, Mehsud, SalmanKhail, Marwat, Bhitani, Khattak, Miani

For this section I had a lot of fruitful input from my good friends, Gulawar Mehsud and Hafeez Ullah Wazir, Gulawar happens to be my ustaad in Attan as well.

The basic steps are back steps consecutively to the left and then to the right, with a forward movement that completes the loop. It is in the later part that the dance takes on various variations.  A distinctive feature of this style is the head banging, for which many dancers grow long hair. The dhol used is larger sized and just like Type A here too, no other instrument is usually used, similarly two dhols seem to be the norm for every performance. The most iconic singer for this type was the late Kamal Mehsud, whose iconic Urdu song tum chalay aao paharoon key qasam introduced Attan to non-Pashtun audiences as well.

V.B.1: Wazir/Mehsud

V.B.1 is a perfect example of the basic Type B attan. The slow paced basic steps taken during the earlier stages turn into quick alternating half circle movements, one clockwise and the other counter clockwise. Between each set of turns there is a back step that serves as an interlude and prepares the dancer for the next loop.

Gadawool or Laibay

The quicker section in the later stages has many variations, these are collectively known as “Gadawool or Laibay”. Laibay are of various types, but in essence they are a series of clock and anti clockwise turns that are carried out in a variety of different ways. The key in all is to build up to these turns in a different manner. One variation is called the “Wardagai”, probably referring to the Attan of the Wardaks (?) i.e. Type A in our listing. But as the videos show this variation is very different from the original Wardak attan.

V.B.2: Wazir/Mehsud

V.B.2 is the example of a popular wardagai style. It begins with a complete turn, followed by a clockwise half turn, which is then followed by anti clockwise half turn and three steps in the back ward direction, this completes the loop and the dancers go through the same again.

V.B.3: Mehsud

V.B.3 is a slight variation to the V.B.3, as during the three backward steps, the dancers put in another turn. This is one of my favorite videos

V.B.4: Wazir/Mehsud

V.B.4 is another interesting variation, in which the dancers  bow in three different directions and then break into a full turn, followed by three half turns, with the first one clockwise while the last two in the counter clockwise direction. Yet another one of my favorite videos.

V.B.5: Mehsud

V.B.5 is similar to V.B.4

V.B.6: Mehsud

Interestingly V.B.6 begins with the same steps as in V.B.5 but then transforms into the Type A (Wardak) attan, at 1:46. Maybe there has been a Wardak link after all?

V.B.7: Marwat

V.B.8: Wazir/Mehsud

V.B.9: Mehsud

V.B.10: Salmankhail

V.B.11: Bhitanai

V.B.12: Miani

V.B.13: Wazir/Mahsud (AK-47 as props)


Type C: Achakzai, Barech, Kakar, Jafar, Kasi

For this section I had input from my friend Abdul Rehman Bhitanai.

Type C is common among the southern Pashtun tribes. The basic steps are the same as that for Type B, i.e. back steps consecutively to the left and then to the right, and then a forward movement that completes the loop. A distinctive feature of this style is the waving of props such as scarves (dusmal) and shawls in the later stages of the attan. Another subtle feature that distinguishes this style from Type B, is that during the slow phase the dancer accentuate each step by small hops to complement the main steps.

Dhols used could be of both small and large sizes with an almost compulsory use of the Surna. It is very rare to find videos of this style without the surna accompanying the dhol. The most iconic singer for this style, and my personal favorite is Mohammad Shafi, this song of his has been in my car’s cassette recorder since last year. Listen to it as a treat every now and then because am afraid of ruining the tape. Its pure goosebumps every time I listen to it. Other major singers include Mohammadullah Katawazi, and Mashal.


V.C.1 is a good example of the basic Type C attan. Just like Type B, this version too takes on various variations in the later stages.


As in V.C.2 one variation in the later stages is where the steps quicken and the dancers start bending their knees to move quicker through the steps and also clap their hands in tandem with the drums. A 360 turn is carried out, but rather than doing a circle, the turn consists of two alternating long steps in opposite directions, the right arm is waved accordingly with the steps to add to the beauty of the move.


V.C.3 is quite different and I had to make compromise on my rule of dhol-only videos for this post. The 360 turns, are done is a very unique manner; the dancers pivot on their right foot, alternating between clock and anti clockwise turns. The upper body moves first while the lower body follows. One of my favorite videos.


V.C.4 is a great example of the Type C in the later stages, the emphasis is on back and forth leaps and the leaps become longer and longer as the beat goes faster. This is one of my favorite videos.

V.C.5: Achakzai

V.C.6: Bareech

A peculiar version of Type C attan is the Bareech Attan, for those who know about salsa, the regular Type C attan is to Bareech Attan, what Salsa is to Cha-cha-cha, i.e. the beat is slowed down to allow for additional steps inbetween. If the regular Type C attan is done to the beat of the Bareech Attan, then it would involve a lot of pauses, the Bareech dancers however, fill in those pauses with small steps.

V.C.7: Balochi Chaap Noshki

Another fact about Barech attan is that it is very similar to the Balochi Chaap. The similarities can be seen from 4:09 onwards in V.C.7 . with the dancers bending over and then responding to the dhol. Also the beginning part of this chaap, is the same as the basic Type-C attan. The co existence of Barech and Baloch tribes in Noshki could probably explain the similarities in these two dance forms.

V.C.8: Kakar

V.C.9: Kasi

V.C.10: Achakzai

Attan without Music

A peculiar feature of this type is the existence of Attan without music. The following two videos were pointed out by ulusyar in the comments section of this post.

V.C.11: Kakar (Waman)

The Waman is danced without music. The beginning part is really interesting as the dancers pair up and after completing the loop hug each other. The hugs are done alternatively to the left and the right. Further there is constant chanting, which is similar to the ones we will hear later on in the section on Jaffar attan, i.e. V.C.J.2 and V.C.J.3, I might be out on a limb here but this too looks like a Baloch influence.

V.C.12: Kakar (Hamaye)

The Jafar Attan

The Jafars warrant a separate section because their Attan is very unique. This uniqueness is a result of  their culture which is difference from that of other Pashtun tribes. To begin with the Jafar’s speak their own language which is called the Jafarki, according to one source 80% of the language is close to Sindhi. This means indigenous Attan songs that are not in Pashto.

V.C.J.1: Jafar

For instance V.C.J.1 has a typical attan tune with the dancers dancing the basic Type C, but the lyrics of the song are not in Pashto. This is one of my favourite videos, just for the quality of the vocals.

Given the location of the Jafar tribe i.e. district Musakhel in Balochistan, Pakistan, their culture has strong Baloch influences as well. The traditional dress of the Jafars is the same as that of the Marri, Bugti and Buzdar tribes. This visual similarity makes the Jafari Attan (also known as Gheemir) look very similar to the Baloch Humu dance.

V.C.J.2: Jafar

Consider V.C.J.2, the beginning part is the same as the basic attan, but the tune being played from the harmonium is distinctly non Pashtun (Baloch?). In the later stages when the beat picks up the dancer walk in the backward and forward directions while clapping. Furthermore there is a constant chant of “Huwa” or “Humu”.

V.C.J.3: Buzdar (Balochi Humu)

Keeping in view V.C.J.2 now consider V.C.J.3, which is a Baloch Humu of the Buzdar tribe. The video is almost identical in dress, chants and also to a large extent the steps.

V.C.J.4: Jafar

The beginning part V.C.J.4 has a pace and steps that are very similar to Balochi chap, especially the bending down to come in for the clap. An interesting presence is that of a Sarangi, which is very rare for the other attans. At 4:10 the group breaks into attan, which is a simple Type C.

V.C.J.5: Jafar Sword Attan

another interesting aspect about Jafar attan is that its done with swords as well. Apparently there is a Baloch sword dance that is very similar to this but I could not find any videos on youtube for it. The dancers break into groups of two and perform moves that definitely qualify as sword practice.


Type D: Salman Khail, Kharoati, Nasar, Tarakai, Luni

This type is very similar to Type A in the slow stages, where the dancers sway back and forth while slowly moving to their right. It is in the later stages that the dance breaks into various variations, most of whom concentrate on extremely fast 360 turns. A distinctive feature of this type is that a dusmaal or a shawl is tied around the waist, this makes the rest of the kameez swell up during the turns. Another thing about this style is that contrary to other styles, in this one the upper body turns before the lower body and the feet then follow the momentum built by the upper body. Similar to Type B, headbanging is a crucial aspect of this type. Just like Type C, scarves (dusmaal) are often used as props, in the beginning stages, one scarf is tied around the waist while quite a few are tucked in the front, as seen in V.D.5 and V.D.11.

Another distinctive feature about this version is that just music is seldom enough, and usually a harmonium and a singer is present, as you can witness in the videos below yourself, the quality of the vocals is amazing in these rural perfomances. Large dhols are used and two drummers seem to be norm for this style as well. Major singers include the legend Khan Qarabaghi, Dawlat Qarabaghi, Qandai Kochi, Kher Mohammad Khandan and this amazing one by Mohammad Shafi could also be associated with this style rather than Type C.


But the most interesting feature that i found in only this style, is that the dancers make ululation sounds, these sounds are made in many regions as an expression of joy but are usually done by women. Listen for it in V.D.1 at 0:12 secs and it keeps repeating after that.

V.D.1: Nasar

V.D.2: Nasar

The main variation in this version is a series of 360 degree turns at the same spot, the concentration is on the delivery of a very fast whirling session. The dancer tries to get into position before that, which is done by taking small steps in forward and backward directions, waiting for the beat to change, after which the whriling begins.

V.D.2 picks up from the lowest beat where the dancers sing along with the drum. Notice how the drummer teases the dancer into building up the tempo during the turns and then suddenly drops it at the end of the whirling to simply a crawl. The change in pace is accounted for by swaying at the same spot.

V.D.3: Nasar

V.D.3 is very similar to V.D.2.

V.D.4: Salman Khail

V.D.5: Kharoati

A slightly different version is V.D.4 where the dancers touch the ground before going into the whirling sessions. One of my favorite videos.

V.D.6: Salman Khail

But the most amazing performance for this type, that I could find on the net, is this little guy in V.D.6 who whirls at blinding speeds and makes sure to let out a war cry before he does his turns. There were videos of him along with a grown up man, both dressed alike, cant seem to find those anymore, if anyone knows what I am talking about then do share the link.

V.D.7: Nasar

V.D.8: Nasar

V.D.8 is a very authentic version, with periodic ululations.


An interesting variation in this type is V.D.9 as in the later stages it has the exact same steps as the “wardagai” for Type B (V.B.3 & V.B.4) but the style of execution is very Type D. One of my favorite videos.

V.D.10: Tarakai


V.D.11 is another example of amazing vocals.

V.D.12: Luni


Type E: Zazai, Mangal, Turi

Type E is different from all the other that we have seen so far, and that’s not only in terms of its steps but also in terms of its music. The dance has some very peculiar aspects to it that are unique to it. If there is to be a “happiest attan” award, then this is the attan that should get it.

V.E.1: Zazai

Here is one version in V.E.1, it starts with “ghaaray” i.e. the dancers singing out loud, interestingly the beat in the background is the attan beat for type A and B. But at around 3:48 the attan breaks into the Type E style. That involves three steps in the forward direction, and then the dancers turn towards the middle and after two steps do a united head butt and a clap followed again by a head butt and a clap, during this phase the music stops and single beats from the drum accompany the head butts and the claps. After doing two of each the loop is complete and you hear happy shouts and the loop begins again. The variations then continue as the music picks up but those are complicated to be put to words. A unique feature is a united shout that the dancers let out to mark the end of the loop.

Here is another one

V.E.2: Zazai

Although there is only one dhol wala in V.E.2 the enclosed compound provides echo that makes the beat very pronounced. It is a great video to realize the difference in the beat of Type E music compared to that for Type A to D.

V.E.3: Zazai

V.E.4: Mangal

V.E.5: Turi


Type F: Khattak

The Khattak Attan or Khattak Dance has been immortalized by the legendary troupes of Frontier Constabulary (FC) on TV as well as in festivals, it is great to see that the tradition is still alive in villages as well.

This type is very different from the attans of the other sort, the beat is also completely different. The Wikipedia entry on Khattak Dance is quite substantive. I will reproduce it here and try to enhance it with videos Would really appreciate corrections:

The Khattak dance has a lot of forms: Shahdola, Bangra, Balballah, Qamar Balbala, chatrali, braghda’ona, tamseeli dana, charri dana and individual performance.

V.F.1: Khattak (Bangra)

Bangra is derived from word Bangrai or Bhangrai (Bangle). This dance have to performed in circle. Bird view of the performance looks like a bangle so this is why it is called Bangra or Bhangra. This is merely an exercise to warm up body muscles it is slow in rhythm and with pauses to hold sword like today soldiers hold rifle in Musketry. In the Bangra, every member swirls while carrying swords. In 1-3 circles, an unlimited number of elders, young, and children, each carrying a sword and a handkerchief, start dancing in a circle having band and surnai in the centre. At the beginning of Bhangra, few performers turn by turn sing love songs or quotations which is called “Takkay” (5-7 Takkay by each, Takkay is commonly popular in sheep herders, they sit on the hills and sing on the top of hill with high pitch, if someone there on other hill he will reply the Takkay in return and some play it with their floats), at a high pitch, which is meant to convey to the audience that they would like to be tipped for their performance. At the end of the song, the drumbeat increases and the dance goes on.

V.F.2: Khattak (Balbala)

Balbala is performed immediately by the same group stage with fast rhythm to swet up body. Balballa is staged without swords.

V.F.3: Khattak (Individual Performances)

Individual performance of Khattak dance comprises 12 steps, which require great skill on the part of the dancers. The dancer alternates between performing solo and synchronizing with the rest of the troupe. Groups of two or four performers carrying a sword and a handkerchief, perform turn by turn, while the rest of the troupe members wait for their turn.

V.F.4: Khattak (Qamar Balbala, Laila, Braghoni)

while Qamar balbala is exercise to get control on stepping and stable the body balance at the top of hill and it is performed with swords. sword is used to keep balance while moving quickly on uneven surface of the hill.

In the Laila, a group of four performers holding two swords each perform stunts while moving in a circle.

Braghoni is the fastest and the most adventurous of all the steps: A single dancer performs with three swords. He swings two swords in the air while holding the third in his mouth.

V.F.5: Khattak

V.F.6: Khattak

V.F.6 is another version with swords but these are most probably soldiers of the FC.

V.F.7: Khattak


Type G: Mashwani, Tanoli

The Mashwanis and Tanolis are hindko speaking tribes in the Hazara Division of K.Pakhtunkhwa their attan is also known as “Khumbar”. The music is very different from the established Attan tunes, and is very close to the typical maidani tunes that is typical of the music of the plains, there are also influences of the Punjabi dances of Sami and Ludi, both in the music as well as the steps.

V.G.1: Mashwani

The dance starts of slowly, with the dancers stooping and moving forward one step at a time. At faster pace, there were quite a few variations that I noticed in just a few videos, for instance, in the one below, which is accredited to the Mashwani tribe, the music changes at around 2:22, and is very similar to the Khattak dance, the steps also change with the dancers doing three step half turns on both sides.

V.G.2: Mashwani

V.G.2 is another version, the free style but in sync dancing in the beginning is something that is similar to Sami and Ludi

V.G.3: Tanoli

V.G.4: Performance by Hazara Police


 Taliban and Attan

The Taliban phenomenon has had a very detrimental effect on Pashtun culture and traditions in both Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.  Attan is no exception and has suffered due to the Taliban’s opposition to music.

T.V.1 : Late Kamal Mehsud on Taliban

T.V.1 is a short report from Voice of America, in which the late Kamal Mehsud speaks about the Taliban phenomenon and its impact on music in general and Attan in particular. Although this report is limited to Waziristan, it is safe to assume that Attan would have suffered in any other part that has come under Taliban influence.

T.V.2: Taliban Attan

But if T.V.2 is an actual video of the Taliban, then it shows the power of Attan as a source of relaxation and entertainment. Despite being brainwashed into beheading people, these men still turn to Attan to have a bit of fun, albeit without any dhols, which somehow lessens the “sin” of the act I guess.

T.V.3: Taliban Attan

T.V.4: Taliban Nasheed

It is interesting to note that like other Pashtu tunes, the Taliban are also leveraging Attan tunes for their nasheeds. The one in T.V.4 is the same as the famous attan song “Sray Stargay Khumaray, Banra May Jalandar The Na… Teek May Daaray Waaray The Charay The Zargar The Na”, sung by the Late Kamal Mehsud in attan tune and also by Bakhtiar Khattak in a non attan one.


Proliferation of Attan:

 Given the entertainment value of Attan, the advancement in modern means of communication especially Television and Internet is greatly facilitating its proliferation. As I said thousands of videos have been put up on youtube alone, but the more formal sources have also had a huge impact on Attan’s introduction to non-native demographics.

TV Channels

In terms of chronology, I think Kabul TV of the 70s might be the first one to make attan videos a regular part of its transmission.

V.P.1: Gul Zaman Attan (Kabul TV

V.P.1 is one of those examples, as the legendary Gul Zaman sings “Shna Shna they Khaloona” surrounded by a group of girls dancing the Type A.

PTV most definitely arrived late in the game but one person who should be credited the most in this regard is Mr. Amanullah Nasar. Living upto the Nasar reputation for being in love with Attan, Amanullah saab has been phenomenal in his devotion to Attan, something that he has continued to do as he has made the switch to Khyber TV.

V.P.2: PTV – Amanullah Nasar

V.P.3: Khyber TV: Bhandar – Amanullah Nasar

V.P.4: Khyber TV – Girls Attan

The video V.P.4 is from Khyber TV showing young girls dancing the Attan, the venue most probably is Peshawar.

V.P.5. Khyber TV Report on Attan in South Waziristan

Cable TV is also playing its own role, as is the norm in Pakistan these days, most cable channels have an illegal channel of their own in which they play CDs and get local advertisements. In Peshawar besides playing Pashto telefilms, these channels also play Attan CDs given the interest of the population. One of the most common face in those videos is that of “Ghamay” and his group.

V.P.6: Ghamay and Group

I tried searching more on him, but there is nothing on the net about his identity. But one thing is for sure that he has had a very positive impact on the recognition of attan in Peshawar atleast. He mostly dances the Type A attan, but includes a lot of his own improvisations. In my extended family I know of some boys who have learnt the attan from his videos. In V.P.6 he is performing with his group in a wedding in Peshawar.


The Pashtun diaspora around the world is also contributing a lot in terms of the visibility of Attan. Again the entertainment value of Attan makes it a necessary addition, whenever cultural diversity is being celebrated at university campuses or otherwise.


V.P.7 is a performance by an Afghan Student Union at some university abroad. Its an excellent performance that includes all major dances of Afghanistan, Attan is the final dance on the list starting at 8:00, they perform Type A on our listing.

V.P.8: Attan in Canada

V.P.9: Attan in Germany

V.P.9 is one of the best videos around for Type A Attan.

V.P.10: Quaid I Azam University

Finally a tribute to my sweet Quaid i Azam University Islamabad, where I was introduced to attan. Since enrollment in QAU is on quota basis, each batch has students from FATA as well as Balochistan. My batch also got attan maestros from both Waziristan as well as Quetta, the result was many like me who got introduced to the joys of attan. Here is a video of my group doing attan at a reunion we organized back in 2010.  We danced Type B followed by Type C.

Looking forward to the feedback and I hope to improve this post further.

Written by Imran Khan

August 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Attan, Pakhtuns

Tagged with , , , ,

Owning a War

leave a comment »

Corruption, illiteracy, epidemics, and fiscal constraints are typical third world problems, ones that Pakistan is no exception to. But one problem that sets us apart from the rest is the unbridled and ever increasing incidence of terrorism.

During 2010 almost 3000 Pakistanis died due to terrorist attacks. These included the more than 100 dead in Lakki Marwat when a car bomber attacked a volleyball match, another 86 were literally hunted down when two Ahmadi mosques were attacked in Lahore, and yet another 50 were killed in the carnage at Daata Darbar.The resulting atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is further aggravating all our other problems; foreign investors are becoming increasingly reluctant, illiteracy is getting exacerbated through the wanton destruction of schools, incidence of polio is on the rise as health workers are under threat, and so on. There is no doubt that this state of affairs needs to change.

Apparently, change is in the air as accredited to the thousands strong jalsa of Pakistan Tehreek i Insaaf (PTI) at Minar i Pakistan.  Many who usually cringe over news of suicide bombings are suddenly upbeat about the “hope” that is Imran Khan. True, the mobilization in Minar I Pakistan was impressive, but in my opinion the rally did not address our main issue i.e. militancy. To Mr. Khan, our biggest problem seems to be that of “corruption”, he even views militancy from the same lens as to him terrorism is simply a response to the American invasion of Afghanistan, an invasion that is facilitated by our “corrupt” Government for the sake of dollars. While there is no doubt that post 9/11 the frequency of terrorist attacks has increased within Pakistan, but is that only because the Americans started bombing Afghanistan?

Before 9/11, we had proudly declared the Taliban as “our boys”, the same boys who were then blamed for supporting insurgencies in India, Iran, Russia, as well as China. If there was much less terror in Pakistan, then it was because we were exporting terror all over the region. Post 9/11 we decided to take a U-turn and the boys who used to be “ours” were not so anymore. What we faced as a result could be termed as the wrath of the proverbial chickens that were coming home to roost. If Mr. Khan is criticizing the crackdown on militancy post 9/11, then he should also defend the support for militancy before 9/11, criticizing both these decisions in the same breath is tantamount to having ones cake and eating it too.

But since Mr. Khan insists on doing both, the question is; what would he have done as a Prime Minister? His current solution is simple; terrorism stops when the US leaves Afghanistan. But then, would his future solutions include the liberation of Kashmir, Kashghar and Chechnya, for terrorism to stop in Pakistan? Because if he is so understanding of the Tehreek I Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) need to reach out to their brethren in Afghanistan, then by the same token he should also be very understanding when the TTP reaches out to help insurgencies in China, Russia and Uzbekistan, as currently Uighar, Chechen and Uzbek fighters are part of the TTP.

What option do we leave China, if an insurgency on its soil is being supported from Pakistan, and we simply refuse to do anything about it? But Kashghar is no Kashmir, and it is highly unlikely that even a Government led by Mr. Khan will allow support for an insurgency in China. Then in that case, would a PTI led government also launch a military operation against “our people”? If yes, then how will that be any different from what the current Government is doing?

It wasn’t long ago that Mr. Khan, demanded investigations into the killings of May 12th 2007, and was willing to go to courts in UK to bring the culprits to justice. But that zeal is certainly missing in his response to the Taliban who are not even denying their crimes, ones that are far worse than those attributed to the MQM. The Taliban have not only subjugated the people of FATA, but they are also using the area as a launching pad for attacks into the rest of Pakistan and our neighboring countries. Furthermore, their prolonged influence has the potential to permanently change the perceptions of those living under their rule. Through forced indoctrination of children they are overseeing the radicalization of a whole generation in FATA, and that in itself presents the biggest threat to our country. If there ever was a reason to justify the existence of an army then this is it, therefore declaring the military option as “futile” is tantamount to declaring the existence of our army as useless.

While the military option is necessary, the way it is being exercised needs a closer scrutiny. The FCR backed scorched earth policy that is currently deployed has resulted in the destruction of whole towns and villages. It is obvious that this strategy is counterproductive, and for that, changes are in order, including a transparent system of accountability and performance measurement for our armed forces. Embedding journalists with our military units as well as allowing media access into FATA will bring out the clearer picture about what the Taliban mean to the people of FATA and also act as a check on the execution of military operations. The need is to fine tune our response to the Taliban; saving our people from getting caught in the crossfire doesn’t mean that we should be content with them living under the yoke of the Taliban.

Our recent history has proven that the Taliban threat cannot be contained through appeasement, if the plan is to handover Swat and Waziristan to buy the safety of Islamabad and Lahore, then it is only a matter of time before the latter two also need rescuing. This is our war, let there be no confusion about it, whether we own it over Swat or Lahore simply reflects the way that we define “ourselves”, a real hope would promise a change in that particular definition and not perpetuate the status quo.

Appeared on the daily The News on 18th of November, 2011

Written by Imran Khan

November 23, 2011 at 6:26 am

Posted in Military, Pakhtuns, PTI, Suicide Bombing, Taliban

Tagged with , , ,

Dharna Dude and Pakhtun Resistance

with 5 comments

Dharna Dude – From Islamabad: Loves X-box, facials, and PTI.

Pathan – From Peshawar: Father died in a bomb blast, brother abducted by the Taliban.

Dharna Dude: Hey Mr. Pathan man! What kind of a Pathan are you? Don’t you know that Waziristan is under attack? Why didn’t you come for the dharna?

Pathan: Well, I can’t understand one thing, why don’t you guys do one against the Taliban? I mean, against all the suicide bombings and stuff?

Dharna Dude: Oh my God! What is wrong with you man? Taliban is a reaction! They are doing all of this because of the big devil dude. Tell me were there any suicide bombings before the Americans came into Afghanistan? Taliban is Pakhtun resistance, PAKHTUN RESISTANCE! NASWAR POWER! wake up khocha! They are fighting for you!

Pathan: err, Taliban kill Pakhtun children and lash Pakhtun girls in public, what exactly are you on about? If the Taliban is “Pakhtun” Resistance than why do they mostly kill Pakhtuns? Can you even count the number of times Peshawar got attacked during the last few years?

Dharna Dude: Haha, well don’t mind my friend, but my daddy says that the real Pathan are the tribal ones, from the mountains. KP etc are not real Pathans you know. FATA are the real Pathans, wait what was that name? oh yes, the Faqir of Iffy

Pathan: You mean the Faqir of Ipi?

Dharna Dude: Yes, him, that dude wasn’t from Peshawar was he?

Pathan: Okay, so when you said Pakhtun Resistance, you actually meant “Tribal Pakhtun Resistance”, because we from KP also call ourselves Pakhtuns.

Dharna Dude: Yeah, whatever man, Taliban are the Tribal Pakhtun Resistance, and they will teach the Americans a lesson, they taught the British a lesson and the Russ…

Pathan: Have you ever heard of the Turis?

Dharna Dude: The what?

Pathan: The Turis, they are a tribe from FATA; Kurram Agency to be exact.

Dharna Dude: Okay, what about them?

Pathan: They are shias…

Dharna Dude: Shia, Sunni, whatever man! We are Muslims you know, all of us, and we have to be united you know, all the Christians are so united, but we Muslims…

Pathan: Hundreds of Turis have died while fighting against the Taliban.

Dharna Dude: Well whatever man, I am just saying that America has attacked Afghanistan and…

Pathan: Which means, that all tribal Pakhtuns from FATA are not part of this “Tribal Pakhtun Resistance”

Dharna Dude: Yeah so?

Pathan: So you said it was Tribal Pakhtun Resistance, the Turis are tribal Pakhtuns and they are anti Taliban.

Dharna Dude: Well whatever man…

Pathan: So its not a Tribal Pakhtun Resistance. Perhaps one could call it a “Sunni Tribal Pakhtun Resistance”?

Dharna Dude: Okay dude, whatever rocks your boat man, they are going to kick America out of Afghanistan and…

Pathan: Ever heard of Ansar ul Islam?

Dharna Dude: The what?

Pathan: It’s a militia of Barelvi Sunni Tribal Pakhtuns, based in Khyber Agency.

Dharna Dude: Like what the hell is a Barelvi?

Pathan: A type of Sunni, who goes to shrines… as in Daata Darbar?

Dharna Dude: Oh I know Daata Darbar, isn’t that where Pappu Saeen lives? He rocks man!… Once he…

Pathan: They are against the Taliban’s version of Islam.

Dharna Dude: Who? Pappu Saeen?

Pathan: Yes, Pappu Saeen, his grand mother, and the Ansaar ul Islam.

Dharna Dude: Dude, why do you hate the Taliban so much man? They are only reacting dude… and they are going to kick America out of Afghanistan… and they…

Pathan: Just saying, that the Taliban can’t even be labeled as Sunni Tribal Pakhtun Resistance, because it’s not all Sunni either. So we can further restrict it to “Wahabi/Deobandi Tribal Pakhtun Resistance.”

Dharna Dude: Haha! Its resistance my friend, I am just saying we need to kick some gora ass man!

Pathan: Ever heard of the Punjabi Taliban?

Dharna Dude: Dude, c mon, lets get over this whole Punjabi Pathan thing man, we are Pakistanis my dear Khocha! And anyway I needed to talk to you about something else…

Pathan: The Punjabi Taliban are also part of this resistance

Dharna Dude: Well good for them man, like America is causing global warming and stuff and they need to leave Afghanistan…. But listen I applied….

Pathan: So what that means, is that this resistance, is not exclusively “Tribal Pakhtun”, it has Punjabis, and also, Uzbeks, Chechens etc as well.

Dharna Dude: yeah so?

Pathan: So it’s basically a Wahabi/Deobandi Resistance, not Wahabi/Deobandi Tribal Pakhtun or Sunni Tribal Pakhtun or Tribal Pakhtun, or simply Pakhtun Resistance.

Dharna Dude: Dude! Haha! You got a lot of time on your hand man, I gotta go home and play the new Call of Duty… its like pure awesomeness… but listen I needed your help…

Pathan: so, I hope we agree that it’s a Wahabi/Deobandi Resistance, and NOT a Pakhtun Resistance.

Dharna Dude: okay okay, now listen to me, I sent you my application essay for that Fulbright thingy, do check it out man, gotta get this thing nailed this time… then its Ca-lee-fornia baby!

Pathan: err…. You do know that the Fulbright scholarship is funded by the USAID?

Dharna Dude: Yeah man, lets kick the yankee out of Afghanistan! Pakhtun Resistance rocks dude!

Appeared in Express Tribune blogs under the title Pathan explains a thing or two to Dharna Dude, on the 1st of October, 2011.

Written by Imran Khan

October 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

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