The advent of 21st century has seen the world become averse to the violence. Brutal wars of 20th century have transformed into state-on-state conflicts, lethal 1GW to non-violent 5GW / hybrid warfare & violent proxies into non-violent ones. TTP PTM nexus is one such case. Manzoor Ahmed Mehsud Aka Manzoor Pashteen, the founder of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) in 2014, came to limelight in 2018 when his newly founded political party held massive protests / rallies after the killing of NaqeebUllah Mehsud in Karachi. The sudden rise of PTM, its capacity to organize protests coupled with its wide coverage by international media raised suspicions among the intelligentsia and political community of Pakistan. Any political party once founded undergoes through a legitimate struggle of convincing masses of its manifesto and attracting donors before its surfaces on national or international landscape.
However, as a newly established political party, the sudden expansion of PTM into entire NMDs without any legit donor’s list / money seriously casts doubt on its purpose.
PTMs exploitation of Pashtun ethnicity by projecting Pathans as a victim of GWOT and marginalized community in Pakistan are not based on facts but mere propaganda. Pashtuns represent 15% of Pakistani population, however, their share in the govt jobs is close to 31%; and 21% in military alone. Pakistan’s former ruling party PTI mostly hails from KPK province. Moreover, changing name from Manzoor Ahmed to Manzoor ‘Pashteen’ was an effort to attract Pashtun population as Pashteen resembles Pashtun. Similarly changing names from Muhammad Ali to Ali ‘Wazir’ and Mohsin Javed to Mohsin ‘Dawar’ are attempts to gain sympathies from Wazir & Dawar tribes. The PTM came to being after the defeat of TTP from erstwhile NWA and it projects itself to be anti-TTP. However, its demands of removing military check posts, release of missing persons and removal of landmines appear to be benefitting TTP and not at all the Pashtuns or Pakistan. Foremost demand of PTM is to remove all the military checkpoints from the terrorism hit NMDs under the pretext that physical search and especially of women (even by lady searchers) is an insult to Pashtun pride and humiliation of ‘Pakhtunwali code’. However, these checkpoints were established in order to curtail the free movement of miscreants and that too after taking all the tribal leaders into the confidence.
PTM’s claim that military intentionally left the landmines behind in erstwhile FATA after the completion of clearance operations due to inherent prejudices against
Pashtun ethnicity is purely a fabrication as statistics show that a very small number of people got injured due to unintentionally scattered landmines which got drifted due to torrential rains. Even then, Army re-initiated a whole hearted effort to search and destroy the whatever mines were left. PTM’s demand of releasing missing persons is another attempt to provide a relief to banned TTP as most of the detained persons are former TTP fighters and demand of their release is only benefitting TTP. Another interesting fact is that the PTM immediately rose to prominence once the TTP was defeated in NWA. One may question that where was Manzoor Pashteen or its other leaders when Army was engaged in a brutal war against them and poor tribesmen were getting butchered by the TTP? PTM plays on the victimization of Pashtuns by terrorism but terrorism climaxed from 2007 to 2014 and PTM was formed in 2014.
The death of SSP Tahir Dawar, who was abducted from Islamabad and mutilated body found in neighboring Afghanistan provided another catalyst for his sub-nationalist movement. One must condemn the heinous act and may even criticize LEAs in their failure or ignorance of Dawar’s abduction, him been taken into Afghanistan and ultimately his tragic murder. But under no circumstances, can anyone claim that the Army, who has fought the TTP for almost 20 years, colluded with them into his murder. PTM claims so. Moreover, Afghan authorities refused to hand over the dead body to either military officials or any minister. Instead, they insisted on handing over the dead body of SSP Tahir Dawar to Manzoor Pashteen, Ali Wazir or Mohsin Dawar which raises serious concerns about the patronage of PTM, especially keeping in view the facts that PTM holds more influence over border areas adjoining Afghanistan, its sub-nationalist slogan of ‘Lar O Bar Afghan’ (Afghans reside on both sides of border) and strong supporting statements by Northern Alliance led government officials e.g., Amrullah Saleh, Abdullah Abdullah etc.
After going through the above-mentioned facts, one can clearly conclude that Manzoor’s agenda is not pro-Pakistan. It can be pro-himself or in favor of his masters who also sent him money for his election campaign. His futile attempts to paint the recent surge in terrorist attacks as Army’s design to carry out another ‘Pashtun genocide’ clear seems to be a foreign agenda also driven by his desire to remain relevant once his masters (former Afghan government) have been ousted from power by IEA. The narrative of Manzoor as fighting for a Pashtun cause is a myth, he is cleverly weaponizing the scars left by Pakistan’s war on terrorism, injecting enemy’s narrative into the minds of the ethnic population that this war was only against ethnic Pashtuns to get more Dollars. The tweets and hashtags of ‘I am Afghan’, ‘Lar O Bar Afghan’ and even ‘State sponsored terrorism’ by entire PTM leadership coupled with blaming Pakistan for harboring Taliban and their eventual takeover also shows the narrative alignment with former Afghan government. The bottom line is that PTM is a challenge to the state and its policy must change gear from patronage to effective containment of the group.
Global Courant World News & Analysis