Pashtunwali, a strong code of conduct in Pashtun society: Mehran
(ISLAMABAD, April 28, 2012): ‘Pashtunwali’ is an unwritten code of life for “Pashtun” society in tribal areas, which is a mixture of Islamic jurisprudence and cultural ethics of Pashtuns, provides a strong system for day to day matters, said Mehran Ali Wazir, Organizer of Cultural Exploration Program (CEP).
This code ‘Pashtunwali’ is made of laws of equality among ‘Pashtuns’ irrespective of powerful, weak, poor and rich segments of the society, Mehran said during weekly program of CEP. CEP is a special program of FATA Research Center (FRC) with sole aim to explore the rich cultural and traditional heritage of Pashtun society with special focus of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
President Dr Ashraf Ali chaired the session while Executive Director Saifullah Khan, Director Mansur Khan, Project Manager Zaheer Khan besides many others participated in the meeting. Participants thoroughly discussed different segments of “Pashtunwali” and talked about positive and negative aspects of these segments.
While giving a detailed presentation on “Pashtunwali”, Mehran Ali revealed that it was strictly obeyed and followed by the ‘Pashtuns’ whether they live in FATA, in Afghanistan, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, Karachi or anywhere else as the honorable, sacred and holy law. “A ‘Pashtun’ who differ with Pashtunwali or not abide by this code of conduct cannot be considered as Pashtun’, Mehran said.
“A Pashtun must be tolerant and should give honor his guest under Melmastia’ (hospitality) as long as he does not harm or violate Pashtunwali”, Mehran said while quoting Dr Babri Gul Wazir.
‘Melmastia’ is one of the very important tradition of Pashtun society under which a person once came as guest will be protected at any cost, Mehran said, adding that history stores many incidents where people sacrificed their loved ones and not surrendered the guest came under ‘Melmastia’
Elaborating ‘M’rasta’ (cooperation) as one of the important pillar of Pashtunwali, Mehran Ali said that this is very important aspect and helps avoid many bloody incidents. “It is a social obligation which is done without any compensation or reward and it eradicates individualism in Pashtun society and until one abide by Pashtunwali, he can enjoy M’rasta”, he narrated.
He was of the view that ‘Pashtu’ at once is a language and a code of conduct for Pashtun society. There are many codes of ‘Pashtunwali’ but only the basic codes will be mentioned as ‘Rishtia’ (truth), ‘M’rasta’ (cooperation), ‘Melmastia’ (hospitality), ‘Badal Akhistal’ (revenge), ‘Nanawate’ (appeal for forgiveness), courage, kinship, loyalty, love for friend, hostility with enemy, respecting rights, chastity, morality etc., he added.
He said untruthfulness is a form of hypocrisy, cowardice, and thus, against the dignity of the human beings and Pashtun society is not accepting it anywhere.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ashraf Ali said that CEP is positive effort which helps highlight soft image of tribal people in the world and bridge the gap between world and tribal areas. There is a wide communication gap between tribal areas and world, which resulted in isolation of tribal people and once we succeed in drawing a true picture of tribal society the isolation will end and normalcy return, he maintained.
“Under CEP, we will be able to highlight the rich cultural, religious and traditional heritage of Pashtun society”, Dr Ashraf said, adding, Pashtun society is tolerant, hospitable, flexible and totally peace-loving and it is responsibility of every individual to highlight these positive aspects of the society to pass on a strong message across the globe.
Saifullah Khan and Mansur Khan praised the efforts of CEP organizer Mehran Ali Khan Wazir saying that under the aegis of FRC, CEP can help restore the image of Pashtun society which was damaged by some vested interest forces. It will also help end the miseries and agonies of Pashtuns due to war and insurgency, they added.