Name change stirs Pakistan protest

Eight killed in clashes over proposal to change name of North West Frontier Province.

    Non-Pashtun groups are opposing plans to change NWFP's name [AFP]

    The demonstrators were protesting against a parliamentary proposalto change the name of the North West Frontier Province, or NWFP, to Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.

    The name change was pushed in part by the Awami National Party, a Pashtun nationalist group that leads the provincial government in the northwest.

    But the violent protests have temporarily delayed the scheduled presentation of a constitutional reform bill to change the name to the upper house of parliament.

    Heated debate

    Proponents say the bill is designed to strengthen parliamentary democracy and give greater power to the provinces, as well as replace the British-colonial name of North West Frontier Province.

    The lower house of parliament voted through the 18th amendment in a unanimousvote last week.

    But many non-Pashtun groups in the northwest, including the area's ethnic Hazara population, have opposed the idea.

    Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from the city of Abbottabad, said the 18th amendment has become a real problem for Pakistan.

    "The people of Hazara say that renaming the province is going to divide the province," he said.

    "They say that it should remain as the [NWFP], otherwise they say they should have a second province called Hazara.

    "Yesterday, peaceful protesters were out on the streets. But they say the police opened indiscriminate fire, killing eight people on the spot.

    "The protesters ... are saying they will not accept the agenda of renaming this province."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.