BATKHELA: Speakers at a seminar paid tribute to Yousafzais’ chieftain Malik Ahmad Baba on his 545th birth anniversary at Chakdara Fishing Hut here on Sunday.
Earlier, engineer Ijaz Khan Yousafzai, managing director Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Highways Authority, inaugurated the mausoleum, constructed at a cost of Rs2.7 million on the grave of Ahmad Baba at Gulungaso Gharai, Malakand.
Members of Ahmad Baba organising committee laid a floral wreath and offered fateha at his grave.
The speakers highlighted various aspects of life and social and political services of the Pakhtun leader for unification of his nation. A documentary showcasing sacrifices and vision of Baba was part of the seminar.
Mr Ijaz said that the mausoleum would be handed over to Malakand University where Malik Ahmad Research Cell would be set up. He said that Baba had made an organised confederacy of Pakhtuns and wanted them to stand for their rights.
Delegates from Afghanistan, Quetta, Karachi, Islamabad, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata participated in the event. Prof Nawaz Tahir, former director Pashto academy, University of Peshawar, was the chief guest while Afghan scholar Habibullah Rafi presided over the daylong seminar.
Services of Yousafzais’ chieftain praised for Pakhtun unity
The participants called upon the KP government to rename Malakand University after Malik Ahmad Baba in recognition of his services. They also appealed to the university authorities to ask a research scholar to conduct a doctorate thesis on the life and political struggle of Baba.
The project was approved during the previous ANP-led provincial government. The speakers said that Ahmad Baba had founded Pakhtunkhwa State in 1515 after defeating Mughal aggressors in the region. They said that he united Pakhtuns against Mughal rulers to fight for their rights.
The speakers said that Baba emerged as an anti-imperialist Yousafzai chieftain who made Malakand the capital of the first-ever Pakhtunkhwa State. He was born in Kabul on May 10, 1470.
They said that Mughal ruler Mirza Alagh Baig invited around 700 elders of Yousafzai tribe to his court in Kabul on the pretext of hospitality, but later killed them and spared only young Ahmad on the appeal of his uncle Sulaiman Shah in 1490.
They said that being a visionary, Ahmad Baba brought rest of Yousafzai families from Afghanistan and settled them in parts of the present day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They said that he wanted Pakhtuns to be united against Mughal exploiters and ordered his close aide Shiekh Mali to distribute the fertile land among Yousafzai clans.
Quoting local sources, Mr Rafi said that women of the nearby villages would light candles on Baba’s grave as they had mistaken it for a Sufi saint, but he pointed out that history had revealed that Ahmad Baba had died in 1530 and laid to rest near Aladhand Derai, Malakand.
He said that Baba in fact wanted Pakhtuns to learn a lesson from the genocide at the court of Mughal king who was raised and supported by his uncle Sulaiman Shah. “The massacre of Yousafzai elders was a great message for Pakhtuns,” Mr Rafi said.
Dr Johar Ali, vice-chancellor of Malakand University, said that a cultural museum would be set up for research and preserving art, literature, heritage and culture of Malakand valley. “It is my vision to encourage local literati, artists, and research scholars to conduct substantive research on every aspect of the area and its people,” Mr Ali said.
Prof Yar Mohammad Maghmoom, Mushtaq Majrooh, Afghan scholar Asif Sameem, Abaseen Yousafzai, Dr Sher Zaman Seemab, Dr Alikhel Daryab, Salma Qasir, Prof Mohammad Islam, Salim Bangash , Ameer Nawaz, Rahimullah Yousafzai, Rokhan Yousafzai, Iqbal Shakir, Parvaish Shaheen, Shaukat Swati, Hanif Qais, Bakht Rawan, Dr Sher Mohammad, Dr Abdul Hameed, Samina Qadir, Arif Tabassum and engineer Shahryar also addressed the gathering.
Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2015