India-Pakistan relations may have more twists in store than meets the eye. Yasmin Nigar Khan, great granddaughter of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, better known as Frontier Gandhi, now plans to meet Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi to urge him to stand by the Pashtuns as he did in the case of Balochistan.
The Kolkata-based 45-year old leader of the Pashtuns living and working in India told HT that she also plans a rally in the city against atrocities of Pakistan on the people of North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
“We are happy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of Balochistan. Similar atrocities are regularly being committed by Pakistan on Pashtuns in NWFP. We want Modi to highlight the plight of Pashtuns and help in their struggle to get freedom from Pakistan. The Pashtun people are equally oppressed by Pakistan,” said Khan on Friday.
Yasmin Nigar Khan president of All India Pashtu-Jirga-e-Hind, an organisation based in Kolkata that has been spearheading a movement for secession of Pakhtunwa area in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan and its merger with Afghanistan. The area is situated near the border of Afganistan and Pakistan.
She claimed there are about 10,000 Pashtuns living in Bengal, mostly in and around Kolkata.
“NWFP were given on lease to the British for 100 years. But more than 120 years have passed by,” she claimed, adding “NWFP has no business staying in Pakistan.”
“Our leaders are holding meetings in Kolkata to press our demand. We are planning to organise a rally against Pakistan in Kolkata after the Pujas at Shahid Minar. By the end of the year we will meet the Prime Minister,” said Khan.
Many of the Pashtuns living in Kolkata have relatives there and they worry about Taliban threats.
“We want to highlight Pakistan’s atrocities in NWFP and condemn attacks on India. Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state by the international community,” she added.
In 1996 after the death of her father Lala Jan Khan, Yasmin took over the mantle of the organisation that looks after the interests of Pashtuns.