Home Global Village KP government establishes Advisory Committee to address PTM’s “Just Demands”

KP government establishes Advisory Committee to address PTM’s “Just Demands”


News Analysis |

On Tuesday, Ajmal Wazir, spokesperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, addressed a press conference to inform the decision of creating a KP advisory committee to hold talks on several “tribal issues” and to address the grievances of several groups across the region, including the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

“The government is ready to begin dialogues with them (PTM). We are willing to address all lawful and just grievances highlighted by the PTM leadership”, announced Ajmal Wazir at a press conference held in Peshawar. The advisory committee will also tackle other social, administrative, developmental, and political challenges that have emerged from the tribal regions of the KP province.

The locals are losing their bread and butter due to the NLC [National Logistics Cell] dispute in Khyber, and the case of the operations and toll plazas also raises concerns for the locals,” alleged Ali Wazir.

The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), a group advocating for the rights of the Pashtun community, has appealed for the removal of landmines across the tribal regions, along with asking for greater autonomy and freedom for its movements. The group has also appealed for an end to the common malpractice of extrajudicial killings, unjustifiable detentions, and enforced disappearances, along with accountability for those who practice such unlawful tactics through a transparent system of legal action.

Ajmal Wazir asserted that all efforts will be made to address the grievances put forward by PTM. “We are attempting to tackle all the challenges through talks”, he said. The KP government spokesperson stated that the advisory committee will be headed by KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, and it will hold dialogues with the PTM leadership to resolve all grievances alongside the KP Provincial Assembly.

Read more: Pakistan’s befitting reply to Ashraf Ghani: PTM-Afghan nexus exposed?

Wazir commented that the “beauty” of this committee is the fact that it not only represented by the senators and MNAs of the ruling political party PTI, but in fact, it also includes representatives of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), PMLN, and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F).

Before the press conference, a joint session was held at the Governor House, attended by Chief Minister Mehmood Khan and Governor KP Shah Farman. The meeting was attended by multiple senators and National Assembly representatives from tribal regions, and its agenda was to discuss the challenges that have emerged after the recent KP-Fata merge, alongside other key issues across the region. The PTM leadership was not present at the press conference or the KP Governor House meeting.

PTM Not Invited to the Press Conference

Global Village Space reached out to PTM leader and MNA South Waziristan Mohammad Ali Wazir for his comments on the advisory committee, and he informed that “we were not invited or informed of the press conference”.

PTM leader Ali Wazir stressed that we must also work to improve our relations with our neighboring states because peace will only prosper through the region if the surrounding environment is peaceful.

“This committee has been designed to solve the issues revolving FATA, but our issue is not limited to FATA, but in fact, it extends to all the oppressed communities. If our grievances are to be addressed, they must be addressed throughout the country. Our issues are in Karachi, Quetta, throughout Balochistan-recently, FIRs have been registered against 20 of our fellow PTM members”, MNA Ali Wazir responded.

“Our issue is not with the government; our grievances are directed at the security organizations and their interference with civilian organizations and matters. Now that the security operations are complete, all matters must be handed over to the civilian authorities”, he demanded.

When questioned about the scope of resolving PTM complaints through dialogue with the new advisory committee, which contains representatives from all political parties, MNA Ali Wazir alleged that “Corps Commanders and army representatives were present at the meeting”, and “since our grievances are directed against the security forces, it is pointless to hold discussions with jirgas and advisory committees until the security forces rethink their strategies”.

Read more: PTM protesters arrested for chanting anti-state slogans in Karachi

“Our question is why interference of the armed forces necessary. The locals are losing their bread and butter due to the NLC [National Logistics Cell] dispute in Khyber, and the case of the operations and toll plazas also raises concerns for the locals,” alleged Ali Wazir.

PTM leader Ali Wazir stressed that we must also work to improve our relations with our neighboring states because peace will only prosper through the region if the surrounding environment is peaceful.

DG ISPR’s Stance on PTM’s Grievances

In December 2018, DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor issued a warning to the PTM leadership to refrain from “crossing their limits”, while addressing a press conference at General Head Quarter.

DG ISPR noted that Pakistan’s enemies were attempting to exploit the movement. “When fault lines exist, enemies always attempt to exploit the situation. There are efforts to exploit PTM, either with their collaboration or without it”.

DJ ISPR had stated that the PTM leadership had put forward three demands, “the case of the missing persons, clearance of landmines, and a reduction in the check-posts”. “The Pakistan Army has cut down the number of check posts, and the security situation is set to improve once the fence project on the Pak-Afghan border is completed,” DJ ISPR clarified.

He further stated, “43 teams have been assigned to demine several districts, and so far, 44% of the region has been cleared off. However, the troops cannot be called back due to the cross-border security threats emerging from Afghanistan.”

While referring to the case of missing persons, he noted that PTM had put forward an initial list of around 9000 names. DJ ISPR clarified that out of the 7000 cases acknowledged by the Pakistan Army, 4000 cases have been “resolved”.

Read more: PTM: Pro-Pashtun or pro-Afghanistan?

DJ ISPR raised an important question, “How can it be validated that these missing persons do not belong to TTP, which is currently hiding in Afghanistan?” He noted that the PTM leadership has not made any other demand aside from these three initial issues, and the army has dealt with courtesy given the fact that they are “hurt and recovering from the conflict”.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on 26th January, DJ ISPR stated that the Pashtun demands are “genuine” and the state is taking action to resolve them. “As long as the PTM remains peaceful and committed to its genuine grievances, which are understandable considering their post-conflict recovery, the state is determined to address their demands”, DJ ISPR told Arab News.

General Ghafoor also commented on the anti-state elements of the PTM leadership. “Instigating the public against state institution is against the law and public opinion. Once the just and genuine demands have been met, which are already underway, then we will deal with anyone who continues to exploit”.

KP government spokesperson announced that the advisory committee will be headed by the chief minister, alongside representatives for multiple political parties, and senators and MNAs from tribal districts.

DG ISPR noted that Pakistan’s enemies were attempting to exploit the movement. “When fault lines exist, enemies always attempt to exploit the situation. There are efforts to exploit PTM, either with their collaboration or without it”.

PTM’s “Just Demands” to be Addressed

Earlier, while speaking with Dr. Pirzada on his prime time show ‘Live with Moeed Pirzada’, KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai had made it clear that despite several dialogues, “no concrete demand have come forward from the PTM leadership”.

KP government spokesperson announced that the advisory committee will be headed by the chief minister, alongside representatives for multiple political parties, and senators and MNAs from tribal districts. This committee will address the “just demands” put forward by the PTM.

Read more: Manzoor Pashteen, PTM leader – declared a proclaimed offender

Why Anti-state Stance?

The reason it is believed that PTM is being exploited by the anti-state actors is government and arm forces have categorically stated that all the constitutional demands of PTM are being addressed and that their grievances are understandable and justified. Then why PTM needs to chant slogan against the state? PTM could complain and protest, had the government denied listening and sorting their issues. In such a scenario, if not propaganda to malign state institutions, then what PTM is really up to?

Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.

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