Recent advertisement where Indian Bollywood actress Zareen Khan has represented Pakhtoon team at the T-10 league as the brand ambassador of General Petroleum is not the first time when Pakhtoon identity is used as a cheap tool to gain publicity. Women with a dubious and controversial character like Rehman Khan and Ayesha Gulalia had also been bent upon using their Pakhtoon identity as a tool to gain some sympathy from the nation for their own personal benefits and exposure.
Use of Pakhtoonism as an icon of publicity is on hype these days. This time a Bollywood actress is representing it which is definitely quite a concern for those masses of KPK/FATA who have respect for their identity, and don’t want it to be promoted by controversial figures (especially from across the border). Firstly, if Zareen Khan’s forefathers were from swat, aren’t there other decent people from the same region whom could be offered a brand ambassadorship by the owner of General Petroleum to represent our team?
Secondly, if the government has allowed it on the grounds to develop good relations with India through cricket diplomacy, the government should keep in mind that Musharraf also tried to develop good relations with India during 2005 though cricket diplomacy, but that never worked. Instead, our diplomatic relations with India worsened over the of Mumbai attacks where India blamed Pakistan for direct involvement in the attack by backing jihadist group to destabilize India.
In the context of sports, especially cricket, it’s duty of our influential public figures like Shahid Afridi as well Javed Afridi to strengthen the Pashtoon norm in a way that brings pride instead of embarrassment to the masses who are their fans and supporters and are proud of them. Owners of sponsoring organizations should also take care of the country’s pride, especially, when its a matter of identity. It is my request to the Chief Minister (who remains quite active about Pakhtoon issues) to pass a bill in which punitive action is taken against those who use Pakhtoon identity for cheap aims. So that this trend could be discouraged in future and our identity is not promoted in any indecent way because Pakhtoonism is not for sale.
Peshawar, December 20.