By Angelo Rasanayagam
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Additional resources for Afghanistan: A Modern History
The Pakistanis countered by asking whether the Pashtun population on the Afghan side of the Durand Line would have the right to secede by voting for an independent Pashtunistan straddling the Line. Pakistan had scored a very valid point, underlining the essential weakness of the Afghan position. Tile most proininent proponents of Pashtunistan in British India before Partition had been Dr Khan Sahib and his elder brother, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. The Khan brothers had politically organized the NWFP so well that their party, the Frontier Congress, controlled the provincial legislature.
The draft constitution had been published in Persian, Pashtu, French and English. But the majority of the delegates were illiterate. Radio Afghanistan had for many weeks introduced and explained the major provisions of the draft. But the Afghans have a long tradition of being very articulate in their local shuras (councils). It is a truism that in non-literate communities, verbal skills, including a penchant for oral poetry, are well developed. Examples can be found in all ages and places, from Homeric times to pre-Islamic Arabia.
Amanullah was sympathetic but powerless in the face of their pleas for help, caught as he was between his grandfather's 'millstones'. O n the domestic front, Amanullah's well-intentioned but unsubtle efforts, aimed at the wholesak transformation of an anachronistic society into a modern and secular state, were unsuccessful, and cost him his throne. In 1919 he had established a council of ministers, appointing Tarzi as the first foreign minister in Afghan history. In 1923 a constitution, modelled on the Persian constitution of 1906 and inspired also by the modernizing decrees of Mustafa Keinal Ataturk, was promulgated.
Afghanistan: A Modern History by Angelo Rasanayagam