The call of Pashtunistan is making waves across Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) headed by Manzoor Pashteen is making strides for the freedom of the region from the clutches of totalitarian Pakistan, that thrived on their land and resources and alienated them from their rights.
It must be noted that PTM, since its inception, has been a non-violent organization which has organized various jalsas from time to time. While mostly, these jalsas have been organized in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, this time a fierce call was made by Manzoor Pashteen to organize the jalsa in Islamabad. PTM called its members and supporters to reach Islamabad in larger numbers for the jalsa on August 18. Soon, the call was made, Pakistan authorities came in action and started to thwart the jalsa.
Pakistan Army along with the other law enforcement machinery made every attempt to stop people coming from across Pakistan. In Khyber -Pakhtunkhwa, the caravans were stopped at various places to make the jalsa unsuccessful. Thousands of participants were arrested by Pakistan Army across Pakistan. Evidently, this underscores Pakistan’s attitude towards people according to which it always tries to suppress the voice of oppressed.
Pashteen raised this concern and said, “Our struggle will continue. We have given the message for all caravans to gather at Tarnol Chowk.” After PTM’s Islamabad rally was successful, nervous Pakistan Army arrested the key leaders of the movement including, former law maker Ali Wazir and human right activists Imaan Mazari.
PTM’s Islamabad Rally Made Pak Army Nervous
Apparently, Pakistan Army was insecure with PTM rally in Islamabad because it holds a significance. First, Islamabad is the national capital of Pakistan. It is for the first time that PTM has come out of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and that too so aggressively with an unparalleled support base. This has shaken Pakistan’s false sense of pride. The Pashtuns were so highly motivated that despite every attempt to stop them, they reached Islamabad in lakhs. Prior to the rally, Islamabad was converted into a fort, every part of the city was barricaded and Section 144 was imposed. After failing to thwart the jalsa, Pakistan tried to portray the rally as unsuccessful and spread a false narrative that only 3000 people had gathered in the rally.
By breaking barriers, Pashtuns made it clear that their patience has a limit and Pakistan should detest from testing it. While addressing PTM’s Islamabad rally, Manzoor Pashteen said, “They (Pakistan) neither believe in Constitution nor Islam, all they believe is indulging in mischievous acts. So listen to Pashtun history and remember what Pashtuns have done to such trouble-makers.”
Secondly, PTM’s Islamabad rally is more important for the Pashtun Movement because Islamabad is in the proximity of Rawalpindi, which is the headquarters of the Pakistan Army. It is a well established fact that Pakistan is ruled by the Pak Army. Anything that happens in Pakistan follows the course defined by the Army. So, by organising jalsa in Islamabad, PTM has directly challenged the Pakistan Army. PTM has out rightly denied the existence of any nation called “Pakistan”. In his address he said, “There is no nation here, few mischievous, goon generals have created a gang through which they have illegally occupied territories. The puppet parliament is just a requisite of these goons.”
Firm Message To Pakistan Army
Pashteen’s statement clearly shows his disappointment regarding the attitude of Pakistan. Since its formation, PTM has always called for the non-violent protests. Its members and supporters have been brutally killed or disappeared by the Pakistan Army. Still it left no stone unturned to achieve its objective while resorting to protests. But, Pakistan Army which works with an imperial and autocratic mindset remained negligent. Consequently, Pashtuns have now become more profound in raising their voice. They are now ready to challenge the establishment. PTM has said that Pakistan is coercing them to incorporate violent practices, which they don’t want to pursue until the last resort is sought.
While warning the Pakistan Army, Manzoor Pasteen took the cognizance of Pakistan’s loss in 1971 war. He said, “Bengalis have pulled your (Pakistan Army) pants, we Pashtuns and Baloch will flay your skin.” He clearly indicated towards the atrocities against Bengalis in the then East Pakistan. During the 1971 war of liberation, Mukti Baahini along with Indian army fought against Pakistan and formed Bangladesh. His statement tends to draw parallel between the conditions of Bengalis with that of Baloch, Pashtuns. Pashteen’s statement is a stern message to Pakistan Army that PTM will now count on every resort which is needed for the freedoms of Pashtuns from the clutches of Pakistan.