By Nadir Shah Katwazai
This is not the first time when the Pakistani government is creating a hurdle for Pashtun Protection Movement’s leaders and its Members. Mohsin Dawar, a member of the national assembly from North Waziristan, has been stopped at Quetta airport to halt to entry into the city a few days ago. The arrival of Dawar to Baluchistan was to offer condolences to those families who had brutally been killed in a firing incident at the Chaman border before Eid. The Mohsin Dawar and its colleagues have been deporting from Quetta airport to Islamabad since the Baluchistan government has issued a notice that PTM leaders Dawar and Ali wazir are banned to enter into the province for 90 days.
Prior to this, many warnings have been issued to the PTM leaders and members but they didn’t pay any heed to these threats and blamed the state institution behind these threats. On many occasions, the PTM leaders and members have been arrested, tortured, and killed mysteriously. In late May 2019, the incident happened on Kherqamar check post in North Waziristan. PTM leaders were going to attend the protest but the Pakistan army didn’t allow to pass the check post. The skirmishes aroused between the Pakistan army and PTM leaders and its members. 13 people were killed on the spot and a minimum of 40 were injured by firing from the Pakistan army. PTM leader Ali Wazir and its member have been arrested on the spot and put behind the bar for six months. Later Mohsin Dawar has been arrested after some days and has lodged FIR. The stoppage of PTM members and Members of the National assembly from Peshawar to Dubai and Peshawar to Kabul where they were invited to attend the Afghanistan President take oath ceremony.
The PTM (Pashtun Protection Movement) is a social movement that fights for the right of Pashtun, active in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan in Pakistan. it was found in 2014, by eight students of Gomal University in Dera Ismail khan for the purpose of raising the issues of removal of landmines from Tribal areas during an operation conducted by the Pakistani Army. The PTM’s popularity increased in 2018 when Naqeebullah Mehsud was killed in Karachi in Pakistan in a fake encounter by the senior superintendent of police Rao Anwar. After Naqeebullah Mehsud’s assassination, the protest spread in the capital Islamabad that attracted the attention of the government against the extrajudicial killings in Pakistan.
Although, the Pakistan government has invited many times the PTM leaders for a talk but failed without any fruitful result. The government has assured many times but failed to deliver any demands. The PTM leaders believe that the government has no authority to ensure the demands without the will of the Army. Without the army’s guarantee, the talk can’t meet any demands.
No demands of the PTM have been fulfilled such as removal of landmine, justice to Naqeebullah Masood and others, ransom to the damage families in the operation conducted by the Pakistan army in tribal areas, and the hardest demands is the issue of missing persons. The issue of the missing person is very serious that has created distance between Pashtuns and the army.
The Pakistan army spokesperson has severely blamed that Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies are behind the movement. The PTM leaders have many times demanded to expose the evidence to the Nation. The PTM leaders have rejected these allegations and said that the army is diverting the attention of their demands. The PTM leaders have also blamed the army that Terrorism is once again arising in the tribal region. The formation and foundation of new groups in this area are serious concerns of PTM.
This Movement is day by day getting stronger and has a challenge for the Pakistani establishment. The PTM leaders and activists are not afraid of any kind of arrest. They are openly claiming that prison is for us. If the government wants to suppress us, we will become nonviolent, but will not go back one step from our demands. The nonviolent protests are continuing in all parts of the country against the injustice that Pashtuns are facing and will continue until their demands are met.
The traveling ban on PTM leaders is not good news for Pakistan, where an elected parliamentary member can’t travel free in a country. This injustice is a clear indication that the state is once again repeating the debacle of 1971 that are sideling the specific tribes, whereas their forefathers have sacrificed their lives for the sake of Pakistan. Such as these tribal people fought in the Kashmir war and have maintained the patriotic interest first.
The objective of banning PTM leaders from traveling is alarming for a state and has feared that if Baloch’s and Pashtuns made a nexus than it will be tougher for the state to control these movements. The Baloch have also similar demands like missing persons which is not solved since the Musharraf regimes. Now PTM has much stronger than earlier and has a pressurized state to accept their demands.
About the author
Nadir Shah is from Afghanistan and he has done a Bachelor’s degree in political science and worked in the National Museum of Afghanistan for more than three years. He is currently doing an M.A in South Asian Studies (UMISARC department) at Pondicherry University, India. He has written four articles which were published in the Afghanistan times newspaper and delivered more than 20 interviews to various TV channels during his job. He has attended many international conferences and national seminars abroad and inside the country.