Pak-Afghan clash: Pathan vs Pathan, 1 nation, 2 countries

Rohit Mahajan

Tribune News Service

leeds, June 29

“Yes, I’m a Pathan,” says Najeebullah Shinwari of Los Angeles. “I’m supporting Afghanistan.” It’s easy to guess that he’s supporting Afghanistan. He’s a bear-like man in Afghan colours, with the symbol of Afghanistan, a mosque at its centre, emblazoned on the red shirt —Afghan colour, again — he’s wearing underneath his Afghani coat. No one is likely to take him for, say, an Irishman.

“I’m Pathan too,” says Adil Khan, of Leeds, but of Pakistan before that, and he adds: “But I’m supporting Pakistan.”

Shinwari and Khan, posing for a photo, speak the same language. They eat the same food. They dress the same way. Yet their allegiances are divided. Pathan vs Pathan, one nation two countries — that’s the Durand Effect. 

Durand Effect

In the stands, the mood is festive, but also fractious. The Durand Line divided the Pathans 122 years ago, in 1897. It was the boundary between British India and Afghanistan; when the British went away, the imagined line on ground, enforced with guns, remained. In 1947, the new state of Pakistan — created on the premise of the brotherhood of Muslims — inherited the Durand Line border. Two years later, the Afghan government declared that it did not recognise the “the imaginary Durand Line”, and that all previous Durand Line agreements with the British were void. To this day, the conflict remains — it has divided Pathans, friends and families. The border dispute wasn’t resolved even when the Pakistan-friendly Taliban gained control over Afghanistan. The Taliban insisted that there should be no border between Muslims. The Pakistanis, on the other hand, are keen to make the once-porous border absolutely secure. They’re also nervous about the ‘allegiance’ of Pakistani Pathans; this has grown worse over the recent months. Questions have been raised over the patriotism of Pathans who support the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which claims to fight, peacefully, for the social rights of the Pathans of Pakistan. It has great support among Pakistan’s Pathans; Afghan Pathans love PTM’s leader, Manzoor Pashteen. 

‘Jeevey Jeevey Afridi’

In the stands today, the Pakistan fans changed ‘Jeevey Jeevey Afridi’ when the tall Pathan from Pakistan ran in to bowl to the batsmen. Where I stood among the fans, a young Afghan man shouted back: “We don’t likeShahid  Afridi.”

Afridi was born close to the Durand Line and grew up in Landi Kotal, a village around 5km from the border as the crow flies. Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan captain, once noted that it was just a matter of a few kilometres that decided which side Afridi played for — 5km to the west and Afridi could well have been playing for Afghanistan, bowling to the batsmen of this very Pakistan team. Then the young Afghan fan who didn’t like Afridi would have been shouting “I love Afridi”.

Clashes

If you thought India-Pakistan is complicated — same people divided by religion and politics and a line on the ground —think of this: One people divided by a line on the ground, sharing the same religion, that’s Af-Pak. If Pakistan’s flag has the green from Islam, the Afghan flag has the Afghan symbol, a mosque, right in the centre of the flag. A Pew Foundation research in 2013 showed that 99% Afghan Muslims support making Islamic Sharia the official law; the corresponding number for Muslims in Pakistan was 84%.

Today there were clashes in the stands. Fisticuffs were exchanged close to the sight screen below the media gallery, and some fans were evicted. I asked Sahag Khan, an Afghan fan who was in the stands, how it started. “We were supporting our team, and they started abusing us,” said Sahag. “One Afghan supporter became angry and the dispute became physical.”

Najeebullah Shinwari is right there, acting in the manner of a marshal, trying to ensure peace. “I’m making sure that there is no more dispute,” he says. He weighs about a ton and is around 10ft high — well, that’s the physical presence he projects at least. It does seem that he could maintain peace.

Love and hate

It’s a political match. In the sky, a helicopter flies with a banner that says “Justice for Balochistan”. An advertisement on the street urges Imran Khan to stop the “disappearances of people” in Balochistan. Pakistani supporters chant “Jeevey Jeevey Pakistan”, an Afghan man shouts back: “I hate Pakistan.”

The response from the Pakistanis is curious: “Pakistan Ka Matlab Kya, La Ilaha Illallah!’ This slogan was made popular in the more Islamic times of Gen. Zia in the 1980s; it suggests that Islam is central to Pakistan. Liberals of Pakistan don’t like this slogan.

The police came, men are detained, there will be investigations. The dispute of one people continues — a people divided by a line called Durand, people who now live in the land of Durand, a land that is now their own.

SCOREBOARD
Match #36 June 29: Pakistan vs  Afghanistan
Toss: Afghanistan (Batting)
Man of the Match: Imad Wasim

Afghanistan

Runs Balls 4 6

R Shah c Babar b Imad 35 43 5 0

G Naib c Sarfaraz b Afridi 15 12 3 0

H Shahidi c Imad b Afridi 0 1 0 0

I Alikhil c Hafeez b Imad 24 66 1 0

A Afghan b Shadab 42 35 3 2

M Nabi c Amir b Wahab 16 33 0 0

N Zadran b Afridi 42 54 6 0

S Shinwari not out 19 32 1 0

R Khan c Fakhar b Afridi 8 12 1 0

H Hassan b Wahab 1 3 0 0

M Ur Rahman not out 7 9 1 0

Extras: (lb 8, w 10) 18

Total: (9 wickets; 50 overs) 227

FOW: 1-27, 2-27, 3-57, 4-121, 5-125, 6-167, 7-202, 8-210, 

9-219  

Bowling O M R W

Imad Wasim 10 0 48 2

Mohammad Amir 10 1 41 0

Shaheen Shah Afridi 10 0 47 4

Mohammad Hafeez 2 0 10 0

Wahab Riaz 8 0 29 2

Shadab Khan 10 0 44 1

Pakistan

Runs Balls 4 6

F Zaman lbw b Mujeeb 0 2 0 0

I-ul-Haq st Alikhil b Nabi 36 51 4 0

B Azam b Nabi 45 51 5 0

M Hafeez c Shahidi b Mujeeb 19 35 1 0

H Sohail lbw b Rashid 27 57 2 0

S Ahmed run out 18 22 1 0

I Wasim not out 49 54 5 0

S Khan run out 11 17 1 0

W Riaz not out 15 9 1 1

Extras: (b 1, lb 4, w 5) 10

Total: (7 wicket;49.4overs) 230

FOW: 1-0, 2-72, 3-81, 4-121, 5-142, 6-156, 7-206 

Bowling O M R W

Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10 1 34 2

Hamid Hassan 2 0 13 0

Gulbadin Naib 9.4 0 73 0

Mohammad Nabi 10 0 23 2

Rashid Khan 10 0 50 1

Samiullah Shinwari 8 0 32 0

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