ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Likeminded (PML-L) Senator Salim Saifullah Khan on Friday distanced his party from the demand for renaming the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as Pakhtunkhwa, terming the stance as mere a “political stunt” aimed at pushing the country into an ethnic conflict to detract the public attention from the commitments made by the ruling leadership to them.
Talking to a 15-member delegation of PML NWFP chapter led by its President MPA Sardar Wajih-uz-Zaman Khan, Saifullah said: “Renaming the province as Pakhtunkhwa will open a Pandora’s box and other linguistic groups in the province will not only feel betrayed but it will also strengthen the sense of deprivation in the southern belt as well as Hazara division.”
The PML-L president was of the view that because of the skyrocketing prices, the people were committing suicides while the rulers were fueling “renaming phobia” and suggesting to rename every building in the province. “They don’t rename their own houses but they are pushing the country into ethnic war just for political point scoring. We will foil such attempts at all forums,” he remarked.
Senator Saifullah said such an initiative would provoke other ethno-lingual groups for putting renaming demands in other provinces which would further destabilise the country.
“If NWFP is renamed as Pakhtunkhwa, this will encourage the Pakhtuns in Balochistan and Saraikis in Punjab and Sindh to demand renaming of their provinces. This is all political gimmickry aimed at destabilising the country,” he said “Despite being a Pakhtun, my family has always adopted nationalistic approach and we have always given priority to the national interests rather than ethnic or personal interests,” he added.
The PML-L chief said the rulers have time and again said that the NWFP was in a state of war and fueling the renaming phobia would, however, frustrate internal harmony which was a must to foil the enemy designs.
“It’s high time for adopting astute strategy to take all the people along to fight the menace of terrorism rather than causing further internal divisions. PML-L will not only oppose any such bid but will also approach all likeminded parties for adopting a joint strategy to foil all such bids,” he said.
Senator directed Wajih-uz-Zaman Khan to contact other political parties of NWFP for devising joint strategy to oppose any such bid in NWFP Assembly and elsewhere.