By Angelo Rasanayagam

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There were other modest attempts to liberalize the regime, leading to the election in 1949 of a parliament in which 26 AFGHANISTAN: A MODERN HISTOKY some 40 per cent of the 120 members were educated, reform-minded Afghans who took their parliamentary duties seriously. According to the 1931 constitution, government ministers were in principle responsible to parliament for the policies of the government in general and of the ministries under their charge in particular. Ministry budgets had become a notorious source of graft and influence-peddling.

Before Partition in 1947 the British sponsored a referendum in the Settled Districts of the NWFP, giving them the choice of joining either India or Pakistan. The overwhelmingly Muslim population of the Settled Districts voted to join Pakistan. In the five autonomous Tribal Agencies linked to the government in New Delhi by special arrangements, the British sponsored a jirga that also opted for Pakistan. The Afghan governinent objected to this procedure on the grounds that the Agencies belonged to the same category as the 562 self-governing princely states of British India that had been presented with a third option - becoming independent - an option that was not made available to the Tribal Agencies which, like the princely states, had never been directly administered by the British.

One was Ghulain Nabi Charki, the ambassador to Moscow, who with Soviet backing assembled a mercenary force from both sides of the northern border to march on Kabul and restore Amanullah. 4 With the help of his four brothers and a tribal army assembled from both sides of the Durand Line (with the tacit collusion of the British it appears), Nadir Khan defeated the bandit forces and occupied Kabul in October 1929. Bacha Saqqao surrendered, but despite a pledge to spare his life and a promise of safe passage signed on a copy of the Koran by the victorious general, he was publicly hanged with his leading followers a month later.

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