IT appears that traitors always find foreign land an easy escape for themselves. By seeking an asylum on far-off territory and later continuing their nefarious designs from there, they find it most convenient to manipulate the agenda. Pakistan unfortunately, continues to suffer from such turncoats and defectors who are always conspiring for Pakistan from outside. Though state announces ban and punishment for such traitors but as they are inaccessible that’s why adversaries also use them for their desired objectives by offering handsome perks. Be it Baluchistan separatist movement, or maligning Pakistan through its ex diplomats write-ups and public debates, opponents leave no stone unturned to propagate against Pakistan through different means. Finding foreign land an easy way to carry out propagandas, foreign media is often found raising the voice of such traitors of Pakistan. Its leaders are mostly asylum seekers, running propaganda campaigns and often come up with new names just to confuse public and gain sympathy for their objectives. In the past we have seen an organization named Balochistan House based in Switzerland with the backing of Swiss advertisers and BLA generated a so- called propaganda or whoopla to free Balochistan. In Switzerland posters and billboards carrying a logo “Free Balochistan” by “Balochistan House” have just become public on every site and even public transport like buses were used to spread malicious cause. Now again in Geneva, Switzerland another such protest is gaining attention of western media.
It was reported by western media that Pashtuns from Pakistan and Afghanistan held protest against Pakistan in front of the United Nations’ building during the ongoing 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Those activists raised anti-Pakistan slogans and alleged Pakistan Army for carrying out atrocities on Pashtun people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and parts of neighbouring Afghanistan. According to reports, with these Pashtuns there were Balochi, Sindhi and Kashmiri people too. Western media reports that this PTM, in recent times has emerged as a grass root movement in Pakistan. According to them, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), has emerged to voice for various human rights issues, including the alleged disappearances of over 32,000 people in Pashtun and majority of them belong to those areas which border Afghanistan.
However, reality is that this PTM and name of its leader Manzoor Pashteen emerged in past few months during demonstration against extra judicial killing of Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud in Islamabad and he alleged Armed Forces for falsely making tall claims of progress in South Waziristan. He tried to gain popularity among youth by social media and created different accounts on face book, twitter and other websites to get sympathies and particularly encourage Pashtun and tribal youth against Armed Forces and Pakistan. Manzoor Pashteen launched false allegations through social media and tried to create uncertainty in the minds of average Pakistani against the role of Armed Forces through demonstrations. Reports have already disclosed earlier that these websites and social media pages are fake and the IP address of sites show Indian hand to pollute the young minds.
The recent protest in Geneva on 25 June, 2018 by PTM has now once again proved that this PTM is anti-Pakistan movement. During the rally flags of Baluch sub nationalists and Afghanistan were raised and anti-Pakistan slogans were chanted. Such activities at the rally have clearly strengthened narrative that external forces are behind this PTM. It is quite notable that apart from separatist movements, flags of India were also held by some. Such melodrama on foreign land clearly exposes another conspiracy by India and Afghanistan in internal affairs of Pakistan. Presence of flags and the kinds of slogans raised during this protest in Geneva clearly show what are the funding sources for PTM. India in the past is always found supportive to such Pakistan opposing movements and now this incident is a clear indication that PTM is working by its outer masterminds who are actively involved in damaging peace and stability in Pakistan.
Interestingly, after this protest leader of PTM is giving explanations that this protest in Geneva has hurt PTM. According to one of released audio messages, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen said that from this gathering and protest we were hoping that it would help PTM in building pressure on state institutions but it has gone wrong for us as it has supported state narrative that other countries and forces are supporting PTM. He said that “presence of flags of BNS, Afghanistan and India have strengthened Pakistan Army’s narrative of external forces supporting PTM and has weakened our narrative of victimhood. We must do something to come out of this debacle. Very close friends of PTM are calling me and telling that probably state was right in calling PTM an anti-Pakistan. I am explaining to them that those bearer of flags may be in support of PTM but are not organized by PTM”. However, some people from PTM are giving clarification that it’s not possible to hold protest in Europe solely in support of PTM and many people are gaining their personal interests from this rally. On the other hand, PTM supporters are requesting Manzoor Pashteen to dissociate from Afghan flag as it will help him building his stance. The question arises that if Manzoor Pashteen is trying to prove that he is not raising anti-Pakistan slogans and knows nothing about Afghanistan flags in rally then how can he defend his stance of not allowing its supporters to bring Pakistani flags in one of PTM protest in Swat, Pakistan where only Afghanistan flags were raised? It is important for state and all institutions to differentiate between friends and foes and timely counter propagandas raised against the country before any kind of damage is inflicted.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.