Pakhtunistan was the only logical name for what will soon be erstwhile NWFP. The rest is all political gimmickry. The name that has emerged is a combination of two names “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”. Those who resisted the name “Pakhtunkhwa” do not belong to the Khyber Agency or the Khyber Pass either. So how does it help the non pakhtuns living in what was the NWFP by having the prefix ‘Khyber’ added to the provincial name? The Khyberite Pakhtuns (Afridis and Shinwaris) have already voiced disagreement to the use of the word ‘Khyber’ with the provincial name. Pakhtunistan, therefore, was the only real name for the province that was so far known as NWFP so that the Pakhtuns could have finally achieved a territorial identity. All the adverse buzz built around that word i.e. Pakhtunistan in the 70s was no longer relevant and should have been ignored.
In my opinion the Pakhtuns have been deprived once again from obtaining their true identity which is the reason for the absence of vigorous celebrations across the province. Whatever celebrations that one witnesses on the media is basically from the political party workers of mainly the ANP. The fear that the name Pakhtunistan would lay the grounds for dissent at some stage and the Pakhtuns living on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border might work their way round to one entity at some later stage is totally unfounded. If that has to happen it will still happen and can happen even around the name Pakhtunkhwa or even without any name at all. But it is not likely to happen as the Pakhtuns have proved themselves, time and again, to be extraordinarily patriotic Pakistanis.
However, it must also be kept in mind by the present and future rulers of Pakistan that it is now time for the Pakhtuns to be given their rightful resources to develop and move forward and be brought out of the backwardness that they have been kept in, endlessly, by the British when they ruled these parts and even after partition i.e. after the creation of Pakistan.
In all fairness I will add here, as a true Pakistani, a similar word for all the backward areas of Pakistan in all the provinces. Believe me, there are places in a city like Karachi where people still get drinking water on donkeys..a shame indeed!! So if the country’s integrity has to be kept intact it cannot be done by keeping this or that name but by ensuring that Pakistan now develops into a modern country on a uniform basis with every part of the country having its share of development and autonomy.
Returning to the land of the Pakhtuns let it be said that it should have been given the name ‘Pakhtunistan’ without any hesitation.