By Farzana Shah

ANP using Official vehicles and Staff to project the party

PESHAWAR: The first look at the above picture gives the impression of WADPA personnel fixing power transmission line as the sorry state of  the worn-out power cables and transmission lines in Peshawar city is too visible to be avoided. But no, it’s not the case, rather they are installing banners in the city carrying felicitation messages of the ANP ministers over renaming the province.

The vehicle being used is of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), as is visible in the photograph, and probably the staff hoisting the banners would also be from the same department.

In a country where official government machinery is used with complete impunity for personal eulogium and political advancement, such an incident might not be shockingly noticeable by the many, but keeping in view the tall claims of the ANP government of developing the city and elevating the lot of the Pashtun nation in this province, this amounts to be a bad PR for the nationalist party.

PDA might be eager to serve the masters and put up such banners but it must also not lose sight of its prime responsibility of developing the city and keeping it clean too.

The historic city of Peshawar – once famous as the city of flowers, is now adorned by the dumps of squalid and filth and broken, pot-holed roads. A few streets cemented on the political expediency in a few localities have already developed cracks and pot-holes in just a few months of their laying which speaks volumes for the quality of the work and the efficiency of the concerned departments.

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The water supply system with rusted and leaky pipelines are laid at many places along with the sewerage in the drainage lines, causing inter-mixing of the two and giving rise to fatal diseases but PDA and other concerned departments entirely oblivious of the hazard are busy in appeasing their political masters.

Irrespective of the merits or the demerits of renaming the province, the immature manner of merry making and the jubilations of the ANP ministers and other officials in power in this regards has already earned them the bad feelings of the public for the party.

Surprisingly, in the heat of the moment some of them seem to lose their sense of balance and the Senior Provincial Minister Bashir Bilour has chided the people of Hazara to wage a 50-year struggle and then raise their voice against renaming the province or ask for a separate one.

Senator Haji Adeel has gone even a step further in showing emotional outburst over the renaming issue when he not only declared Hindu Raja Dahir as the hero of the Pashtuns over Muhammad Bin Qasim but also gave certain totally unwarranted insulting remarks against Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Ironically, these two officials can hardly speak fluent or flawless Pashto and one has often to listen to their Hindkonized Pashto which happens to be their mother tongue.  But, who can ask them not to be more loyal than the king?!

The celebration functions of music and dance arranged by the ANP activists in different parts of the province and the country at a time when the people of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa are faced with bombs and killings is quite an ill-planned step. There are rumours that one such function is also to be arranged by the ANP in New York to celebrate the renaming and the chief guest there will be none other than the Indian Sonia Gandhi.  If its true then needless to say that it will be the biggest PR disaster for the ANP that is already blamed for supporting India and harbouring separatist tendencies. Such accusations are  harming the party image greatly for many years now despite the fact that once it was led by pragmatic politicians like late Wali Khan.

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The history has proven that people of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa are patriotic Pakistanis and have rendered many a sacrifice for their country. Who can forget the historic referendum of 1947 wherein the brave Pukhtoons of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa had voted for Pakistan ? Hence, this renaming of the province should not be misconstrued in any way for a separatist movement of the Pashtuns.  The people of KP are more loyal to their country than any other neo-liberal Pakistani.

Alas, the great pragmatic politicians like Wali Khan and Ajmal Khattak are no more there to advise the ANP as to how to avoid the PR disasters. , However, it is for the young educated lot in the party to take into consideration all aspects whenever embarking upon any such emotional misadventures.

Farzana Shah is a freelance analyst who has deep focus on SAARC, ECO and Mid-East Regions. She also contributes to Opinion Maker.

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