Home Global Village Manzoor Pashteen spoke up in Lahore; what’s the solution to their problems?

Manzoor Pashteen spoke up in Lahore; what’s the solution to their problems?

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News Analysis | Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), addressed a rally at Lahore’s Mochi Gate on Sunday despite Punjab government’s refusal to issue a permit for the event.  The date for the rally was announced day ago by the PTM leadership and a campaign was at peak on social media to spread the word. But on the eve of Saturday—a day before the rally—the Punjab police allegedly arrested the PTM leadership in Lahore to cancel the rally. These claims were, however, rejected by the Punjab Police, saying PTM leadership was approached in order to discuss the law and order situation with them.

Manzoor, a confident young Pashtun, spoke to the people and said that it was his ‘heartfelt wish’ to come to Lahore and share his grievances with the people of Lahore. He then talked about the first demand of the PTM that was about the arrest of former SSP Rao Anwar. “Now even the court is saying Anwar is a terrorist and Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was shot dead in a police encounter, has been declared innocent,” he said.

Maryam Safdar, daughter of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while commenting on the alleged arrest of Pashtun leadership by the Punjab Police said that “the arrested activists should be released and the PTM should be allowed to hold its rally. This country is as much theirs as it is ours

But it is important to note that now the demands of PTM  have not been increased but also have become controversial. For instance, the PTM leadership now demands to seek an international guarantee for any agreement with the state of Pakistan. Moreover, slogans like “Yeh jo Dehshat Gardi hay- iss kay peechay Wardi hay” which means that Pakistan army is responsible for the terrorism. This made the movement controversial and gave rise and strength to the conspiracy theories, alleging the movement to be a foreign-backed activity to disrupt peace in Pakistan.

Furthermore, Manzoor also alluded to the recent claim of Justice Javed Iqbal, the head of the missing person’s commission, who had accused former president Pervez Musharraf of handing over 4,000 Pakistanis to the United States.

PTM leader said that “we demand that we should be told the amount for which they [missing persons] were sold. We will collect that money and give it to you so you can bring them back. Do not release them, just give them to the courts if they have committed a crime.”

Read more: Is Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement really staging “engineered protests”?

Finally, Manzoor said that although they are peaceful people yet their patience should not be tested.  “We are very peaceful but do not forget that we are young, and young people do not have a lot of patience.” “Now that we have risen up against oppression, we do not fear for our heads,” the PTM leader asserted.

Ms. Tahera Jalib — daughter of revolutionary poet Habib Jalib — who read out Dastoor, a famous poem of her father; and Amina Masood Janjua of the Defence of Human Rights Pakistan, also addressed the rally in Lahore. During the gathering, it was also announced that the PTM will now hold a rally in Karachi on May 12.

Manzoor, a confident young Pashtun, spoke to the people and said that it was his ‘heartfelt wish’ to come to Lahore and share his grievances with the people of Lahore. He then talked about the first demand of the PTM that was about the arrest of former SSP Rao Anwar.

Read more: US Interest: Kiss of Death for PTM?

PML-N and PPP Welcomed PTM Leadership

Maryam Safdar, daughter of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while commenting on the alleged arrest of Pashtun leadership by the Punjab Police said that “the arrested activists should be released and the PTM should be allowed to hold its rally. This country is as much theirs as it is ours,”

“Attempts to suppress voices rising against oppression and excesses can never have never been successful, nor will they ever be,” she added.

Another PML-N leader Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said that “This is not the time to repeat bitterness of the past, but to learn from them and strengthen national unity.” He was referring to 1971 breakup of Pakistan when East Pakistan got separated from the West Pakistan and became an independent state.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party, tweeted to show his support for the PTM and criticized Punjab Government for not allowing the PTM to hold a rally in Lahore. “All Pakistani citizens have right to peaceful protest. PTM are no different. From the arrest of their organizers and allies, to the continued harassment of students in Lahore, I condemn the high handedness and disregard for the constitutional rights of the people. #VoterKoIzzatDo,” said Bilawal.

Ms. Tahera Jalib — daughter of revolutionary poet Habib Jalib — who read out Dastoor, a famous poem of her father; and Amina Masood Janjua of the Defence of Human Rights Pakistan, also addressed the rally in Lahore.

Army vs. Others?

A tweet by Maryam Safdar reveals the reality behind by the ongoing way of identity politics in Pashtun belt. Identities are generally invoked in multiethnic societies to disrupt relatively peaceful order of the polity to fashion vested political and strategic interests. In the present context, PML-N is not happy with the establishment for not bailing out Nawaz and his family. Hence, all efforts are being made by the party leadership to push the establishment and judiciary into troubled waters. At the same time, international and regional allies and enemies of Pakistan are having their own interests and desire to weaken the morale of armed forces of Pakistan.

Read more: PTM: A Pashtun Spring..?

Sharifs’ vested political interests and the interests of foreign agents at the moment are the same; to weaken Pakistan’s armed forces by decreasing their popular support in masses.   This is, however, in long run a genuine threat to the integrity of Pakistan.

Moreover, there is no denying of the fact that the people of FATA have some genuine complaints and they should immediately be addressed. But under the pretext of those demands a strong security institution must not be targeted. FATA needs a political solution and that is its merger with KPK.


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