Sultan M Hali
PRO PTM cadres in UK and Europe who are involved in over projecting PTM issue predominantly belong to Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and Afghan Diaspora members. It was observed that fissures developed between the Pashtun cadres and the Afghan segments on display of Afghan national Flag during different PTM activities. PKMAP has its roots in the Pakhtun nationalism of Khan Shaheed Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai. It emerged from now defunct National Awami Party (NAP), following differences with NAP leadership over rights of Pakthuns in Balochistan and over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa leadership’s appeasing attitude towards the Centre.
At the time, the party was named the Pakhtunkhwa National Awami Party. Samad Khan was elected an MPA in 1970 from the Chaman-Gulistan seat. After he was killed in a mysterious explosion in 1973, his son Mehmood Khan Achakzai was elected an MPA in a by election. In 1986, the party merged with the leftist Mazdoor Kisaan Party to form the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Ittehad, which in turn was then renamed Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party in 1989. The party participated in the 1988 general elections and won two provincial assembly seats. In 1990, the party won three provincial assembly seats and the party chief was elected as MNA from NA-198 (Pishin). PKMAP’s fortunes continued to improve, so that by 1993 they had three national assembly seats–won by Achakzai, his brother Dr. Hamid Khan Achakzai and Nawab Ayaz Khan Jogezai respectively.
The party also won four provincial assembly seats in the 1993 elections, and became part of the coalition government led by the then chief minister, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi. In the 1997 elections PKMAP won two provincial assembly seats and four seats in total in the 2002 general elections, including one NA seat for Achakzai. The party has also had senators including Senator Rahim Mandokhail, and Senator Raza Muhammad Raza, represent them in the Upper House. PKMAP’s main platform and agenda has been to protect the rights of the Pakhtun population.
As far as foreign policy is concerned, the party believes in an independent and notably, an impartial stance on foreign relations. It is against interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, and strives for the establishment of a federation in which all nationalities including the Baloch, Pakhtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis and Seraikis have equal rights and an equal share in national resources. In fact in 2011, PKMAP called for the merger of 12 Pakhtun districts of Balochistan with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or the restoration of their pre-partition status when they had a separate identity (province) from the Baloch population. PKMAP Chairperson Achakzai has been critical of the country’s intelligence agencies, and asserts that they have no right to interfere in the political affairs of the government. He is opposed to the political role of armed forces and considers such a role an effort to undermine the fragile democratic system in the country.
In 2008, the party boycotted the general elections to deny former president General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf legitimacy, in 2013; it fielded candidates on both provincial and national assembly seats from Balochistan, Karachi and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. In 2018 too it is so far participating in the general elections. The party’s traditional strongholds are considered to be Quetta, Chaman, Pishin, Loralai and other Pakthun-dominated areas of Balochistan. PKMAP demands Baloch-Pashtoon parity in terms of distribution of resources, services and official slots in Balochistan. A new phenomenon has emerged in the shape of Manzoor Pashteen, a young activist of Pashtun Tahaffuz Mahaz (PTM), who initially raised his voice against land mines in Waziristan area but took up the cudgels for Naqibullah’s alleged extra judicial killing. He has also become a critic of Pak Army and torments them through accusations of extra judicial lockups and abductions. Considering PTM to be a potential disruptor tool, anti-Pakistan forces have jumped into the fray to destabilize Pakistan. However, the emergence of Afghan flags in the protest rallies in Europe has been much to the chagrin of PKMAP. In fact there appear to be cracks developing amongst the Afghans as well as Pakistani Pashtun community, since many in British Pakistani Pashtun cadres have openly shown their reservations, anguish and discomfort. Moreover, some have parted ways from attending Pro PTM events as well. The recently held events in Birmingham and Geneva clearly reflected this phenomenon. On June 23, 2018 from 1800 to 2000 hours, a solidarity event was organized by the UK based pro PTM Pathan and Afghan supporters, Falak Naz Khan Yousafzai, Yousaf Ali Khan, Zahid Mohmand aka Faiq Khan. Ziauddin Yousafzai (Father of Malala Yousafzai) also participated in the event.
Ziauddin Yousafzai highlighted history of Mullah Fazlullah in Swat. He stated that Pak Army and intelligence agencies knew that Fazlullah is a Terrorist who continued to operate a radio station for years and conspired to kill civilians and Military persons, yet media houses gave him projection. On the other hand, Manzoor Pashteen is demanding peace and basic rights not for the Pashtun but also other communities. Illogical propaganda against Pakistan Army and ISI by PTM coupled with people like Ziauddin Yousafzai (Father of Malala Yousafzai) on behalf of and along with anti Pakistan elements residing in Afghanistan, and India, needs to be countered effectively. Their narrative against Pakistan is built on fallacy and lies, which must be exposed. By choosing European venues for their protest rallies, they believe they can pressurize Pakistan but patriotic elements nail their lie successfully.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.