News Analysis |
In an interesting development Minister of State for Interior, Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that strict action will be taken against the elements that are hatching conspiracies against the country and challenging the state’s writ.
He was addressing a ceremony at the police lines in Islamabad when he said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will take all the decisions on merit and in the best interest of the country.
This was the turning point with regard to the demands and purpose of a rights movement. Interestingly, a rights movement transformed into an anti-army movement in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that Mr. Shehryar Afridi, on December 12, had said that anti-state activities not to be tolerated at any cost and added that he will embrace Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen if he surrenders and enters national mainstream. The PTM is increasingly becoming anti-state movement led by a young Pashtun.
Background of PTM
Manzoor Pashteen and the PTM came at the scene after the killing of a young Pashtun shopkeeper who aspired to become a model in Karachi. The young man was later on identified as Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud. He was killed in what is generally called a ‘fake encounter’ on the roads of Karachi. Initially, the police official claimed that Mehsud belonged to some banned organization and was killed in an encounter.
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Naqeeb’s family and friends did not buy the official version of the story and demanded an inquiry into the matter. An inquiry team headed senior police officials came up with the claim that Mr. Meshud did not have any contacts with any banned organization. As a result, this murder, according to Pashtuns, symbolizes their fate in Pakistan where ‘many of tribesmen get disappeared and killed without any trial in the court of law’.
Initially, there were five demands presented by the PTM. But as the movement got some momentum across the country, Manzoor Pashteen increased his list of the demand. At the very outset, the PTM demanded to end the ill-treatment of commuters at checkposts, a release of missing persons, the arrest of Rao Anwar in Naqeebullah murder case, and clearance of landmines from conflict-hit areas in North and South Waziristan agencies.
These demands by a rights movement were fair enough. But with the passage of time, PTM leadership started chanting anti-army slogans and bashed at the institution. The PTM leaders alleged the army for being behind all the ‘terrorism’ Pakistan is facing at the moment.
Pashtuns had to face severe hardships due to war on terror but this does not mean that the Pakistan army has intentionally been damaging their houses or unnecessarily stopped them at check-posts.
This was the turning point with regard to the demands and purpose of a rights movement. Interestingly, a rights movement transformed into an anti-army movement in Pakistan. Suspicions got some strength when the western media gave ‘extra-ordinary’ coverage to the movements and its demands. Army Chief of Pakistan also termed the ‘engineered protests’ anti-state and warned the nation to be careful to protect their country.
New Demands of the PTM: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
“Now, we want a truth and reconciliation commission to address all issues facing Pakhtuns in the country,” said Mohsin Dawar. He further alleged that “thousands of people had been missing and only 200 to 300 such people had so far reached home”. PTM leadership accused security agencies for abducting their people extra-constitutionally. It violates the basic human rights of any citizen, argue the PTM leaders.
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Mohsin further proposed that “truth and reconciliatory commission should get the task to look into the target killings, demolition of houses and other problems.” Such demands by the PTM leadership have apparently two problems. Firstly, blaming Pakistan army and security agencies of the country does not qualify the PTM to be called as a rights movement. Pakistan army has played a significant role in the war on terror.
Many of soldiers and officers got martyred during several operations launched by Pakistan Armed forces. Any effort to destabilize the institution of the army will benefit regional and international enemies of Pakistan. Therefore, PTM’s anti-army rhetoric needs a careful and serious introspection.
The young man was later on identified as Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud. He was killed in what is generally called a ‘fake encounter’ on the roads of Karachi.
Secondly, truth and reconciliatory commission against whom? This has not been specified by the PTM leadership. Pashtuns are an integral part of Pakistan army, civil service and other departments in the country. There are Pashtun army generals, secretaries, and media persons.
It is, therefore, not appropriate to allege the state of Pakistan of marginalizing the ethnic community and depriving of their fundamental rights. War on terror is a global phenomenon and Pakistan is one of the most affected countries in the world.
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Pashtuns had to face severe hardships due to war on terror but this does not mean that the Pakistan army has intentionally been damaging their houses or unnecessarily stopped them at check-posts. The context needs to be placed and understood.