Manzoor Pashteen has issued a statement highlighting the dire state of affairs the Pashtun community has been subjected to. He recalled the nerve-wracking instance when the retired justice Javed Iqbal made a startling revelation. In 2018, Justice Iqbal alleged that Pakistan had sold around 4,000 Pashtun individuals who were reported missing to the United States during General Musharraf’s era.
Pashteen showed how in Pakistan, a former prime minister (Imraan Khan) could face imprisonment for something as seemingly trivial as selling watches, while another minister (Khawaja Asif) could be incarcerated for holding an Iqama. Yet there are no consequences of selling 4,000 Pashtun. The general doesn’t even receive a day in jail.
No one has ever been convicted of committing such a heinous crime. This stark contrast leads to a disturbing conclusion: the value of Pashtun lives in the eyes of the Pakistani state is significantly lower than that of a few thousand watches.
Manzoor highlighted the pattern of treatment towards different ethnic and regional groups within Pakistan. The tradition of punishing and tormenting leaders and workers of Pashtun, Baloch, Sindhi, Muhajir, Kashmiri, or Gilgit-Baltistan merely for delivering a mere speech to demand their rights has been inherited by the Army from the British, which is still ongoing. However, those who endorse cruelty should listen carefully. There is still time, otherwise, “tyranny and oppressors will perish again.”
The Pashtun nation (Pashtunistan) has been used as a tool in Pakistan’s proxy war. It has consistently been exploited by the ISI and the Pakistani military as a significant instrument of promoting Islamic extremism. The PTM has consistently raised its voice against the heinous actions perpetrated by the Pakistan Army. The Army has executed enforced disappearances, illegal detentions, victim torture, and imposing constraints on freedom of speech and movement. These issues have plagued the Pashtuns and Balochs since Pakistan forcefully annexed their homelands.