PTM: Tactic of a grand strategy

Sahibzada M Saeed

RESTORING complete peace in warzones is a lengthy process and it order. On Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, although ceasefire agreement has been signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia but still life is not normal in affected areas. Similarly, in FATA Pak Army has restored peace after multiple military operations and day-to-day life is coming back and things are getting better. But things are not totally better in FATA. As I have mentioned in the beginning that restoring complete peace is a lengthy process but it becomes lengthier when a country shares the porous border with a neighbouring state where, there is no state authority at all. Same thing, Pakistan is facing in its tribal areas. Peace has restored in the area but some terrorists come and try to sabotage peace in FATA and return back to Afghanistan.
It is said that “good fences make good neighbours”. And it is really true in the case of Pak-Afghan border management. Management of Pak-Afghan Border is the dire need of time for long lasting peace not only in FATA but also in the whole country. And it is highly encouraging that our state institutions have cognition of this very issue. Where war and conflict demolishes infrastructure and socio-economic life, there it has certain impact on the human minds. Conflicts make humans fretful and increase frustration in the behaviors of warzone’s inhabitants. In FATA, there was decade long turmoil and because of that turmoil people of FATA left their homes. When the peace has restored they came back but there were many check posts has been established for their safety and security.
If one conducts an analysis of Pashtoon Tahfuz Movement commonly known as PTM then it becomes evident that PTM was basically a student movement spearheaded by its leader Manzoor Pashteen back in 2014. From its inception till the assassination of Naqeebullah Mehsud PTM remained a negligible political movement and could not attract the masses. It is necessary to probe that which factors acted as a catalyst for PTM to mobilize a considerable number of people and attract national as well as international attention. The timeline and chronological proximity of PTM’s rise is very interesting yet dangerous. 2018 is the year in which General Elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan. There are a few regional parties in Pakistan which gather vote and appeal the sentiments of specific ethnic and linguistic communities living in Pakistan. Awami National Party (ANP) claims to be the sole representative of the Pashtoons is being at the forefront of this movement.
Historically, ANP gathered popular vote on ethno-linguistic lines and in the previous General Elections of 2013, it was rejected by the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). ANP was successful in changing the name of North-Western Frontier Province (NWFP) to KP in the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution for one particular reason to remain relevant in the politics of KP and more importantly Pashtoon politics. The demands of PTM and more specifically Manzoor Pashteen can be considered by the government and other state institutions but it is evident that these demands are going to increase once the previous ones are fulfilled. It is the habit of political leaders that they just don’t stop demanding since it is a tactic used by them to keep the people motivated and mobilized. It is a historical fact that Afghanistan was the one that raised the slogan of Pakhtoonistan and mobilized the predecessor of ANP i.e. National Awami Party (NAP) to support the unification of Pakhtoons under the flag of Afghanistan.
Similarly, Indian meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs is not something of a new phenomenon. There are chances that these tactics to hurt Pakistan are part of a grand strategy of great powers and regional powers. One thing is to be noted that why many political parties of Pakistan are supporting PTM’s stance. Likewise, the mainstream academia and scholars are also promoting PTM. It is feared that these people might get momentum due to the involvement of different strata of society. It is quite necessary to persuade PTM leadership to refrain from anti-Pakistan and anti-state slogans. The time has come to calm down PTM using political, economic and social means.
— The writer is IR analyst based in Islamabad.

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