Who is behind Pashtun Tahafuz Movement?
Since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become center of the intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in collusion with Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) to obtain the covert designs of the their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran.
Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these secret agencies support the militants of Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the double game of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are destabilizing Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive activities.
Being the lonely nuclear country in the Islamic Word, and after signing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan has become special target of these foreign agencies which have not only restarted terror attacks in Pakistan, especially in Baluchistan through ISIS and TTP etc., but have also kept alive anti-Pakistan propaganda campaign, including protests-demonstrations so as to create a rift among the ethnic groups of Pakistan in order to achieve their collective clandestine aims against the country.
These external elements which have backed the Baloch protests and Muhajir protests to malign Pakistan Army and its primary intelligence agency ISI are also behind the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).
CIA, RAW and NDS are secretly assisting the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) to manipulate the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).
In this regard, in April 8, 2018, the protesters of the social movement of PTM, led by the young activist Manzoor Pashteen gathered in Pakistan’s capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Peshawar for a mass demonstration to demand the protection of the rights of Pashtuns. Similar protest-demonstrations in solidarity with the PTM were held on the same day in Australia, Sweden, Germany, London, Washington and Afghanistan and along the Pak-Afghan border, which proved the foreign connections of the PTM movement.
The PTM first staged a 10-day sit-in protest in Islamabad in February, this year in response to the killing of 27-year old Naqeebullah Mehsud—what the Pakistani police pointed out as a raid on a terrorist hideout in eastern Karachi. The PTM halted its first Islamabad sit-in protest after the government provided written assurances that it would address the PTM complaints.
In fact, PTM had risen to importance, after it held protests for the arrest of Karachi’s SSP Rao Anwar for the extrajudicial killing of Naqueebullah Mehsud. The incident was fully manipulated by the organization.
However, speaking in the tone of external propagandists against Pakistan, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement is demanding an end to human rights violations by authorities in the country’s tribal regions, removal of military checkpoints in the tribal areas and to form a judicial commission to investigate alleged extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of the Pashtuns in Pashtun-dominated regions of Pakistan.
On the other side, Pakistan’s government rejected false allegations that security forces or its intelligence agencies are responsible for enforced disappearances. Authorities said that military checkpoints are necessary in the tribal areas so as to combat extremist militants, including Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters.
As regards the case of missing persons of the Pashtuns, they were killed in various terror attacks, arranged by the militant outfits like ISIS, TTP and their linked groups, while many Pustuns, without informing their families, also went to Afghanistan to wage Jihad against the occupying forces of NATO. They are, in fact, disappeared persons.
In reaction to the protest-demonstrations of the PTM, on April 2, this year, People in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) took out rallies against PTM. The rallies were organised by a newly formed Pakistan Zindabad Movement, across the FATA and KPK. Anti-PTM rallies were held in Mohmand, Khyber, Kurram agencies, including the KPK towns of Kohat, Shabqadar and Charsadda.
In their speeches, people from different walks of lives praised the sacrifices rendered by the Pak Army and the other security forces in maintaining peace in FATA and the KPK. Protestors termed PTM anti-state and anti-forces.
They also called PTM an agent of RAW and NDS with a mission to defame the Pakistani security forces. The organizers of the rallies warned that if PTM did not let up their foreign agenda the Pashtun people will come after them.
Nonetheless, protests of the PTM cannot be seen in isolation, as these are part of some other developments against Pakistan. In this respect, in the recent past, the US-led entities have launched a controversial and heated debate in Afghanistan whether the term ‘Afghan’ designate, a ‘nationality or ethnic’ group.
This controversy delayed issue of national identity card for people of Afghanistan for years. Influential ethnic groups of Afghanistan which are currently heading the government do not look at the word ‘Afghan’, a nationality for people of Afghanistan, but an ethnic group.
In this connection, history provides ample evidence that the word Afghan has been interchangeably used for Pashtuns. The people who initially inhibited in the south-east of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan, to the west of the Indus River in Pakistan are Pushtuns. The Pashtuns or Afghans primarily speak Pashto language and follow Pashtunwali code of conduct. They are primarily found in Afghanistan and Pakistan and form the world’s largest tribal society, today. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are often referred to as Pathans.
Today, the Pashtun tribes with over 65 million people live in Pakistan, while approximately over 28 Million people in Afghanistan and another 1.5 million or more live in Iran. There are 1.8 million registered and unregistered Afghan refugees who are living in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns.
As regards Pakistani Pashtun, over 26 million live in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), 9 million in FATA, and around 7 million in Karachi alone, 9 million in Punjab, 3 million in Sindh and 6.5 million in Baluchistan. The figure does not include the Niazi tribe of Mianwali who are also Pathans, but fewer speak the Pashto language.
Undoubtedly, Pashtuns are very well knitted in Pakistani society and enjoy power positions in government, civil and military bureaucracy. They also enjoy vast connectivity due to inter-marriages with other ethnic groups. So, it is not difficult to grasp when Pashtun tribes suffer tyranny and ill-treatment in Afghanistan; a large number of Pashtuns and their friends are saddened all over Pakistan.
It regrettable that Pashtuns in FATA are suffering due to drone attacks and Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) which is an outdated and cruel system of collective punishment. Hence, for the first time, they have desired to move away from the concept of “illaqa-e-ghair” (Strange Land) and to completely integrate into Pakistani state, including its legal system.
It is notable that the anti-Pakistan forces which always exploit the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the pretext of Pashtuns are extremely worried over the new development in the FATA and KPK.
It is misfortune of the country that the current government of Pakistan is also showing apathetic and sluggish approach to the new development and is not meeting the demands of Pashtuns.
It is mentionable that in Afghanistan, primarily Pashtuns are resisting American occupation and are, therefore, facing the wrath of the US-led NATO. Therefore, in frustration, America and India which are in connivance with the NUG are behind this new move to differentiate between a Pashtun or an Afghan in order to malign Islamabad.
Besides, as part of the propaganda campaign, these hostile forces are using few politicians and political activists and social workers to slow down integration of FATA into mainstream Pakistan.
In this respect, the PTM, a noble student initiative which was, in fact, launched in 2013 for the purpose of clearing land mines in Waziristan has been de-tracked. The movement rightfully protested the extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by the police force in Karachi.
Apart from the Afghan top political leadership, few crooks of Awami National Party (ANP) and ultra-liberals are also misleading Pashtuns. As part of the propaganda, anti-Pakistan speeches of PTM workers are also attracting wide publicity by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a United States funded organization. Another website Gandhara, and Mashaal Radio is found cultivating suspicion between Pakistan military and Pashtuns. The real aim behind these sinister designs is to create a rift between Pashtuns and Pakistan Army.
In this regard, Saira Bano Orakzai, a proud Pashtun at Research Fellow at Harvard University in her recent article says that the time is ripe for the people of the tribal areas to make a clear choice; to struggle to restore rights and peace or to struggle against this country’s institutions and ideology, only to get entangled in a perpetual conflict.
As a matter of fact, PTM instead of articulating and moving towards a solution for the problems of FATA has stretched its ideology to an unknown “La La land”, and thus, it is derailing an already fragile reforms process for FATA’s future.
These internal and external hostile elements do not want developments in FATA, which can result into progress of their people in various fields. These elements want to continue the past system of the colonial era at the cost of Pakistan.
It is a good sign that in the budget 2018-2019, the government has proposed Rs.24.5 billion for FATA. To bring FATA in the mainstream, a ten-year FATA development plan with total outlay of Rs.100 billion has been approved. During 2018-19 Rs.10 billion are proposed to be provided.
It is the right hour that without further loss of time, the government of Pakistan should immediately merge FATA with KPK and implement FATA reforms.
The alleged killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by Rao Anwar be immediately resolved, because inquisitive forces are manipulating the situation.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) must monitor and check the hostile propaganda against the unity and interests of Pashtun people on national and international media.
The media anchors, analysts and writers, including leaders of all the political parties must counter the anti-Pakistan activities of the external entities which are backing the PTM. They should also give a matching response to some internal elements which are supporting the illegitimate demands of the PTM such as removal of check-posts etc.
And more rallies and demonstrations must be arranged by the patriot-citizens of Pakistan in response to the PTM anti-Pakistan activities. Thus, external conspiracy against the integrity of the country can be thwarted.