While Pakistan has been embroiled in the Kashmir crisis with India when the latter revoked Kashmir’s special status, initiated communication lockdown and started massive curfew throughout the valley, the so-called Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) raised its ugly head again. PTM had been silent for quite some time, particularly since Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir had been imprisoned for anti-state agitation and its leadership defeated in the Tribal Districts of KP elections, its jumping back into action raises alarm bells.
Pashtuns rejected PTM
PTM is known for indoctrinating the minds of Pashtuns with anti-army propaganda. Its entire posturing, including its election campaign was based on propagation of alleged violations of Pashtun human rights, accusing the Pakistan Army of all that is wrong in the Pashtun lands. Despite being offered to come on the table and given free hand by the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) in the last year’s national elections, PTM continued to be a springboard for all anti-state and anti-army narrative. The Pakistan Army’s efforts at repatriation and rebuilding of the erstwhile Tribal areas and its numerous losses in rooting out militants in these areas has been well acknowledged by the Pashtuns. As a result, Pashtuns rejected their sinister propaganda, calling it divisive and biased.
Manzur Pashteen’s second coming
Manzoor Pashteen, the most vocal leader of the PTM has come back into the foray by calling on his followers not to aid the efforts of the Pakistan Army. While Pashteen’s claim of being a representative voice of Pashtuns has already been dismissed, he still believes he is addressing the Pashtuns. His reappearance after more than 2 months of hiding, right when the nation stands united on Kashmir, only tells that his handlers have given him a new agenda: to divide Pakistani population on Kashmir issue and de-moralize Pak Army.
While Pashtuns marched with Pakistan, PTM called 14th August “Black Day”
Pashtuns held numerous ‘show of power’ rallies across the KP Province and the Tribal districts on 14th August in favor of Kashmir and as a response to the call of the National Security Committee meeting held in Islamabad in response to India’s revocation of Article 370. Although these rallies were well-received across the country, PTM marked this day as ‘Black Day’. This not only proved PTM’s anti-Pakistan profile, but also proved that the movement was reactivated on the back of some fresh divisive strategy given by its planners.
Major Gaurav and PTM’s agenda
Major Gaurav Arya (rtd) is a vocal Indian Army veteran and a renowned propaganda strategist who has been on record for calling on the Indian state to seek support from dissident elements among Pashuns and Baloch population and to mobilize them against the Pakistan’s state institutions, particularly its army. When Manzoor Pashteen called on Pashtuns to refrain from supporting Pakistan Army, this is exactly when it towed the lines of the Major Gaurav Arya. The timing of PTM raising its head in such a fashion is most suitable for the Indian major.
PTM and its handlers’ real agenda
Manzoor Pashteen getting back to his usual nefarious antics, right when the country and its armed forces need a most united front from within reveals that Pashteen and PTM are working on two sinister agendas. One, to cause disunity among the ranks of Pakistani population in its response to Indian violations in Kashmir by creating fresh divisions and two, to de-link the Pakistan Army’s moral support from the Pasthuns by attempting to blemish the armed forces image.
Note of caution
Overall, Pashteen’s second coming serves the agenda of his handlers very well, i.e to reduce the unprecedented moral of the nation as a whole. Given the situation in the region and around the world, his handlers have been exposed quite well.
However, since all this reveals that PTM is active under the public threshold, Pashtuns in particular and Pakistanis in general should stay vigilant of new as well as old/ tested propaganda movements to spring up.
FIR against PTM
A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against Manzur Pashteen and more than 204 individuals accused of chanting anti-army and anti-state slogans on the eve of Independence Day on 14th August.