PTM: A Foreign Funded Non-Kinetic Threat Igniting Pashtun Spring in Pakistan

Pakistan has mastered the art of kinetic warfare and counter terrorism. The positive developments in erstwhile FATA testify the fact that the state has burnt the midnight oil in true letter and spirit to eradicate terror and terrorists out of that ill-fated region. Pakistan is striving hard to redevelop and rehabilitate the tribal areas. However, her dream of a peaceful and a prosperous frontier area has been critically affected by the wave of foreign designed and foreign funded non-kinetic threat exploiting the ethnic fault line. This non-kinetic threat has been casting a dark shadow over the progress of Pakistan. Foreign elements and anti-state factions-after discovering the kinetic strength and strategic excellence of Pakistan -have tried to hit Pakistan harder by their brain-child called PTM. The movement based on the name of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement has been using the ethnicity card to realize its suspicious designs.

PTM has externalized and internationalized the movement to further portray a negative image of Pakistan. From protests in US to the ones in Europe, PTM’s leadership has gone an extra mile to challenge Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity.

This controversial movement seems to have been funded by the foreign elements. PTM has been investing all its energies to create a negative image of Pakistan, to pitch citizens against their own land, to create a civil strife that may lead towards a civil war, to hamper Pakistan’s progress, to badmouth military establishment, to demoralize the military spirit and most importantly to stigmatize Pakistan. On contrary, government of Pakistan has always welcomed PTM for negotiation and peaceful settlement. The just demands of PTM regarding landmines and missing persons have been approved and accepted. But, PTM appears to have maintained that typical ungrateful behavior and adopted the do more rhetoric. From protesting against check posts to criticizing border security, PTM seems to have raised all the grave concerns of Afghan government. All the unjust demands of PTM collide with the national counterterrorism efforts. Here the question arises why PTM has put such demands that not only reverse the counterterrorism achievements but also make tribal areas more fragile for future terror waves.

Not only this, but PTM has externalized and internationalized the movement to further portray a negative image of Pakistan. From protests in US to the ones in Europe, PTM’s leadership has gone an extra mile to challenge Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity. The fact that most of the people joining the PTM marches and protests have afghan roots has clarified the picture that PTM is a foreign funded proxy and doesn’t actually represent the Pashtuns. The failure in tribal elections also unveils the fact that tribesmen have rejected the mandate of PTM.

By using the ethnicity card, pursuing minority politics, chanting the slogans of sub-nationalism and “Lar o Bar Yo Afghan” (Up and down, we are one Afghan nation) while wearing Afghan caps, demoralizing state institutions, displaying anti-state placards and utilizing the concept of human shield, PTM is working on the lines of a proxy group and appears to have imposed a hybrid war on Pakistan.

What makes PTM as a movement more controversial is a fact that PTM leadership has failed to answer the following questions; why doesn’t PTM raise its voice against the grave human rights abuse of Afghan Pashtuns and pain endured by them owing to the brutality of NATO forces? Why PTM has approached foreign media? Who funds PTM? Who provides PTM the logistic support? Why the flag of Pakistan has been burnt in the PTM protest? If it truly represents Pashtuns, why its mandate has been rejected by Pashtuns in tribal elections? Knowing the fact that check posts are imperative for security, why PTM demands the removal of these check posts? Why the slogans of “Lar o Bar Yo Afghan” (Up and down, we are one Afghan nation) have been chanted by the PTM leadership? Why TTP -a terrorist organization sponsored by RAW and NDS- gave statements in support of PTM and why TTP’s and PTM’s narrative coincides? All these unanswered questions not only make this PTM saga dubious but also highlight the anti-state posture of PTM. It appears that PTM is furthering anti-state agenda.

In addition to this, all the international human rights watchdogs -who have successfully feigned ignorance towards Kashmir issue, Palestine problem, US brutality in Afghanistan and mass genocide across the world-, have been giving an extra and a prejudiced coverage to the PTM campaign. Foreign media calls the genocide in Indian Occupied Kashmir – amid UN’s report enlisting the Indian brutalities- a bilateral issue but doesn’t categorize PTM a domestic one. PTM has been given the media coverage which Kashmir couldn’t enjoy. The prejudiced foreign media –explicitly Indian media, New York Times, Washington Post, VoA- support to PTM strengthens the commonly held perspective that PTM is a  foreign designed tool of a hybrid war and is an unconventional threat to Pakistan. PTM leadership seems to be a puppet in foreign hands. By using the ethnicity card, pursuing minority politics, chanting the slogans of sub-nationalism and “Lar o Bar Yo Afghan” (Up and down, we are one Afghan nation) while wearing Afghan caps, demoralizing state institutions, displaying anti-state placards and utilizing the concept of human shield, PTM is working on the lines of a proxy group and appears to have imposed a hybrid war on Pakistan.

About the Author: Miss Merwah Hamid Qureshi holds an M. Phil Degree from QAU, Islamabad and is also a visiting lecturer for International Relations at National Officers Academy (NOA), Pakistan. She is a freelance writer for online portals including Global Village Space, Geopolitica and Sydney News. Her area of specialization is the changing world International Relations.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Reader’s Review.

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