Pashteen champions Pashtun Long March against oppressors

By: | Muhammad Ali Azlan |

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“I urge professional soldiers not to follow the command of the generals and brigadiers. Refuse to obey their orders because they (generals) can get you killed like they did with people of Waziristan and other parts of the country”, shouted an impassioned slender young man in his address to a large gathering, The youngster is seen and now revered as the new messiah for the Pashtun plight in Pakistan.

The excerpt is taken from a Reuters article which can be read here :- https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1HT0WX?__twitter_impression=true

 

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday met with father of Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old youth murdered in a ‘fake encounter’ and assured him support to obtain justice at any cost, ISPR reported.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Army chief Gen. Bajwa condoled and offered prayers for the departed soul.

Speaking to the local tribal elders, COAS said that with the efforts of local tribal’s and Pak army peace has been restored in the region.

COAS urged local elders to not allow anyone to endanger the peace attained at a very heavy cost of blood and money.

“Pakistan has sacrificed financial as well as human loss in wake of peace. We are back in the era of stability and development,” Gen Bajwa added.

COAS thanked tribal leader for their through support with Pak army during the operation.

On the other hand local tribal leaders also thanked Pak army for restoration of peace and development works in the region.

 

A number of politicians, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali, have addressed the sit-in expressing solidarity.

 

 

 

Malala Yousafzai’s also showed his support for the cause,

PTM never raised a slogan against Pakistan. Rather than agreeing to their constitutional demands Pakistan Zindabad Movement is being nurtured against it is a meaningless and laughable step. PTM has uprooted the pitch of terrorism. The leaders in the corridors of power need to work with them to make Pakistan Prosperous.”

According to Wikipedia, Manzoor Pashteen was born in 1992 in Mawla Khan Sarai, a small village near the town of Sarwakai in South Waziristan, Pakistan. He belongs to a poor Pashtun family, from the Shamankhel branch of the Mahsud tribe. His father, Abdul Wadud Mahsud, is a school teacher at his village.

Pashteen spent his childhood in Waziristan, and received his early education at his village’s school. However in 2009, as a result of Operation Rah-e-Nijat, Pashteen and his family were internally displaced from Waziristan to the Internally Displaced Persons camps in Dera Ismail Khan. In 2014, Pashteen founded the “Mehsud Tahafuz Movement”, a social movement mainly focused on clearing land mines in Waziristan. After gaining popularity, it was renamed to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (“Pashtun Protection Movement”). Pashteen received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan.

On January 26, 2018, Manzoor Pashteen led a protest march starting from Dera Ismail Khan, and reaching Peshawar on January 28. Then upon reaching Islamabad on February 1, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement organized a sit-in called “All Pashtun National Jirga”. The jirga condemned the murder of the Pashtun Naqeebullah Mehsud who was shot dead by police force in Karachi during an encounter, and the alleged state oppression against the Pashtuns. Among other demands, the jirga also asked the government to set up a judicial inquiry for Naqeebullah Mehsud, as well as for all the other Pashtuns murdered extrajudicially in police encounters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressive graphics being run on the #PashtunLongMarch live stream, english subtitles and people with Afghanistan’s flag as their profile pictures sharing them on various social media platforms, ‘Impressive’ to say the least.

“We are only against the oppressors,” PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen told a charged audience as he took the stage.

“We are only the ‘agents’ of our nation,” he said, addressing allegations that the movement is being backed by foreign agencies.

“What has happened so far for the missing persons?” he asked. “The mothers and elders whose beloveds are missing should not be coerced.”

“After Rao Anwar (the ex-SSP Malir accused of the extrajudicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud), it is now the turn of Ehsanullah Ehsan (former TTP leader),” he said, demanding that the erstwhile TTP spokesperson should be brought to the courts.

“After Ehsanullah, we will bring [former president] Musharraf to the courts,” he added.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the most alarming of all the developments was  a statement by PTM activist Fazal Ur Rehman Afridi in Geneva who criticized CPEC and threatened Pakistan of urban war and Balkanization if demands are not met.

 

 

“We will go to every village until our demands are met,” Pashteen announced, adding that more jalsas will be held in Karachi, Hyderabad, Loralai and Bannu, followed by a sit-in in Islamabad.

He also announced that a gathering named “Jalsa Raddul Fasaad” will be held on April 22 in Lahore, whereas another one in Swat on April 29 will be called “Raah-e-Raast”.

The Islamabad sit-in would end only after an international guarantee, Pashteen told the audience, reported Dawn.

 

 

The Ministry of Interior ordered closure of Radio Mashaal’s office in Islamabad. This move followed recommendations by the country’s premier intelligence agency.

Radio Mashaal is a Pashto-language radio channel which began operations in 2010 from the headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) in Prague, Czech Republic.

RFERL is funded by the US Congress through defined appropriations. However, during its establishment in 1950 and until 1971, RFERL was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to counter the spread of Communism. This fact is mentioned on the official website of RFERL itself.

During the period 2002 till 2011, RFERL reached a considerable number of listeners in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, airing programs in various Pashto dialects. These programs not only discussed news and current affairs but also managed part of the United States’ “influence operations” reportedly to prevent the resurgence of extremism.

In his book ‘The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietary’s & Contractors’, renowned security analyst Wayne Madsen PhD claimed that CIA used Radio Mashaal’s broadcasts to target Pakistan’s interests. Madsen reveals how Radio Mashaal’s parent broadcaster Radio Free Europe received funding even during and after 1995 from the Hobby Foundation, which itself received hefty donations from the CIA (mentioned in the book at page 308).

Read MoreGenerational Warfare for dummies: Pakistan’s inefficiency to understand and tackle

There are several reports and broadcasts by Radio Mashaal which give voice to elements which consistently accuse the Pakistani state and its military of allegedly supporting terrorism. One noteworthy example is Abdul Hai Kakar, a former BBC correspondent from Peshawar and longtime Mashaal employee in Prague.

Kakar has not only given excessive coverage to disgruntled politicians and activists who vent their angst against Pakistan in one way or the other; the journalist himself has a very negative and biased view of Pakistan Army. In an interview from October 2012, Abdul Hai Kakar presented himself as the person who brought Malala Yousafzai to spotlight, despite being aware of the threats she would face. He also equated Pakistan Army and the Taliban as being one and the same .

Radio Mashaal has also long been observed giving space to fierce opponents of CPEC such as Dr Said Alam Mahsud of Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehrik. The provision of such airspace for dissident voices against CPEC matches the overall aim of the US government to discredit Chinese geo-economic expansion in Asia which runs counter to Washington’s own models.

Security officials familiar with the developments told that the closure of Mashaal’s office was taken after thorough deliberations and activity reviews.

A few decades back there was a woman named Zohra Fona, a woman from Indonesia, pregnant with ‘Imam Mehdi’. She had visited several Islamic countries, it was propagated that rulers had offered prayers in her Imamat.

Many ulema began to claim that the time for Imam Mehdi’s coming had arrived.

Zohra Fona claimed that the child recited Azaan. Reputed ulema like Maulana Okarvi and Ehteshamul Haque met Zohra Fona and listened to the Azaan with ears close to the lady’s stomach. She began to draw huge crowds to mosques and parks where she led prayers. Our reputed ulema would join the prayers.

Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital decided to put the legend to scientific test. It was revealed that the holy woman was not even pregnant with an Azan-reciting messiah but had a recording device tied to her body. She immediately left for Indonesia once the farce was exposed.

A nation brought up on excessive amounts of Bollywood fodder and our inherent gullibility (stupidity) makes us a sucker for good story telling.

Anne Frank is a Jewish girl who has to go into hiding during World War Two to escape from the Nazis. Together with seven others she hides in the secret annex at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. After more than two years in hiding they are discovered and deported to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, is the only one of the eight people to survive. After her death Anne becomes world famous because of the diary she wrote while in hiding.

Anne wrote in her diary that she wants to become a writer or a journalist in the future, and that she wants to publish her diary as a novel. Friends convince Otto Frank that the diary has great expressive power and on 25 June 1947 The Secret Annexe is published in an edition of 3,000. Many more editions follow, also translations, a play and a film.

People from all over the world learn of Anne Frank’s story. Over the years Otto Frank answers thousands of letters from people who have read his daughter’s diary, ‘The Diary Of Anne Frank’.

The Ministry of Defence Afghanistan (MoD) on Friday insisted that Monday’s airstrike did not target a graduation ceremony at a seminary in northern Kunduz province.

Media reports quoted residents and relatives as saying many children were among the civilians killed in the air raid in the Dasht-i-Archi district of the province.

A day earlier, locals told representatives of different media outlets, including Pajhwok Afghan News, that the raid struck the religious school and all victims were civilians.

Reacting to the news stories, the ministry said the Taliban had taken seven journalists of their choice to the site. The reporters were fed lies by the Taliban-briefed individuals, it explained.

In a statement, the MoD said: “There are many madrassas in Kunduz that are duly respected by the Afghan government and security forces.”

The ministry added that no seminary in Kunduz had been attacked; nor would they be struck in future. The raid was conducted on a Taliban meeting in the area, the statement concluded.

Afghan security sources and witnesses have told AFP that AAF helicopters struck a madrassa in Dashte Archi district where a graduation ceremony for religious students was under way.

At least 70 people were killed, including Taliban commanders, according to security sources. Health officials said at least 57 wounded were taken to hospital in the provincial capital Kunduz.

The Taliban issued a statement late Wednesday saying it “condemns in the strongest terms this major crime and vows to take serious revenge against the perpetrators”.

large piles of hats, turbans and shoes that were said to belong to the victims of the airstrike. At least half a dozen freshly dug graves could be seen nearby.

Abdullah, 40, who lives near the compound housing the madrassa and mosque and was invited to attend as a member of the local community, told AFP that he saw the airstrike happen.

“We were about to finish the ceremony at 1:00 pm when (Afghan military) aircraft bombarded innocent children,” he said Wednesday.

“People were panicked. Children and elders were also wounded in the bombardment.”

Government officials in both Kabul and Kunduz have given conflicting figures for the number of casualties, with some denying any civilians had been killed or that a madrassa had been hit.

Afghan officials have been known to minimise civilian casualties.

The Afghan military initially denied civilians were among the dead and wounded, but later blamed the Taliban for shooting them. It said 18 Taliban commanders were killed and 12 were wounded in the airstrike.

On the other hand, Afghanistan has tried to levy their burden on Pakistan’s back making ludicrous claims which have been denied by most parties and eyewitnesses involved, including the Government of Pakistan.

Here is what the Afghans tried to spin: 5 Pakistani advisors among killed in Dasht-e-Archi airstrike

A near and dear Pashtun friend raised a harmless and pertinent question, where is the ‘Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement’ in all this?

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said he is in favour of the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but any change in the status of the region would be made with the consent of all stakeholders, according to tribal elders.

“I myself favour Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after a recent meeting with the youth from the region who unanimously supported the merger plan,” more than two elders quoted Gen Bajwa as having said while addressing a select group of elders in Landi Kotal, Khyber Agency, on Friday.

He said no decision would be imposed from outside and only genuine wishes and desires of tribal people would be honoured, adding that a consensus would be developed on the future status of Fata along with desired changes in the existing administrative system with the army arranging a meeting of pro- and anti-merger elements from the tribal areas in near future.

Says army will arrange meeting of pro- and anti-merger elements from tribal areas

Read MoreModern Warfare: The battle for hearts and minds

The army chief told the elders that some elements were receiving financial assistance from foreign countries to destabilise Pakistan and also sabotage the plan for Fata reforms. He said the army had in the recent past achieved great successes against militants and would not spare those who were planning and coordinating terror attacks from a foreign soil.

“The people of Fata along with the army have rendered great sacrifices in the war against terror and it was only with these sacrifices that peace has been restored and militancy has been controlled to a great extent,” he said.

Gen Bajwa told the elders that he was aware of the requirements of the tribal people for rebuilding their region after sustaining huge loses and said the army would ensure judicious utilisation of all development funds for Fata. “It is time that we focus on the development and rebuilding of Fata as the region has suffered a lot during the last 15 years of militancy and terrorism.”

About the fencing of border with Afghanistan, the army chief said the plan was producing desired results and it would be completed at all cost. However, he said he would try to mitigate the sufferings of local people who had been adversely affected by the implementation of the border management policy at the Torkham border.

A select group of about 40 tribal elders was invited to the meeting with the army chief. The local media and politicians were kept away from the meeting.

The army chief told the tribal elders that intelligence agencies had succeeded in closing in on the murderers of Naqeebullah Mehsud and the army would soon arrest the real culprits. The ISPR said in a statement that Gen Bajwa visited Corps Headquarters in Peshawar and Khyber Agency. It said a detailed briefing on the security situation in Fata/KP was given at the corps headquarters, Peshawar bureau adds.

Personal Comment: I am not trying to play the blame game, neither am I levying allegations, I just tried to spread out some “convenient” dots on the canvas, If they make a picture to you, the reader, then well and good, If not then it is good either way.

Naqeeb’s murder case needs to be resolved with justice and fairness but we must also be wary that a movement started to avenge a murder does not end up getting other innocent people killed, fooled or used.

Bibliography

[1] https://pressroom.rferl.org/p/6092.html

[2] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Radio-Free-Europe

[3] https://www.rferl.org/amp/interview-collaborator-diary-malala-yousafzai-pakistan/24737954.html

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