The unfortunate incident of PTM assault on an army check post in North Waziristan has come in the back drop of Iftar held at Bilawal House in Islamabad, where PTM stalwarts like Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar were encouraged to make statements against the state. Was there a connection between the two events or it was a coincidence? This question may not get a direct answer, but the fact remains that major political party leaders from PPP, PMLN, JUI, ANP and PKMAP have openly or tacitly supported PTM.

The latest development is that Mohsin Dawar, who had openly asked Afghanistan and the US to help PTM in throwing out Pakistan Army from Waziristan, has been arrested by law enforcement agencies. Mohsin Dawar’s rhetoric was to fulfill an old desire of Indian RAW, NDS and TTP. The current hullabaloo by PTM and the resonating voices in the echo chamber of post truth politics in Pakistan have proven that false narratives against Pakistan and her institutions cannot be run indefinitely.

PTM has tried to build on any event (big or small) affecting Pashtun community in Pakistan to create an environment of mistrust and raise ethnic tensions. Some of the events are tabulated below.

Few days back senior counter-terrorism officials said the five alleged terrorists killed in the operation in Hayatabad were highly trained whose next target was to attack the function of a political party in the coming days. The targets included Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister for Tourism Atif Khan and KP Minister for Local Government Shahram Khan Tarakai were their targets. The statement of the militant was recorded in Peshawar’s local court in which he confessed to planning a suicide bomb attack at the Insaf Students Federation (ISF) rally. PTM protested against this operation.

As per reports published in Pakistan Today of 11 Jan, brother of Malik Matorkay held top leaders of PTM responsible for his sibling’s murder in Khaisor village of North Waziristan Agency. Matorkay was the maternal uncle of Shariatullah a man who abducted a Marri Petroleum Company Ltd employee and had given the statement that security personnel had not harassed Shariatullah’s family as was being portrayed by the PTM, claiming that he was present at the time of the raid. He said that the PTM along with a Jirga in Dera Ismail Khan tried to bulldoze their houses but failed to do so; however, they threatened Matorkay of serious consequences.

According to a report on the Khaisor incident which was compiled by North Waziristan deputy commissioner, PTM leaders Manzoor Pashteen, Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir and three others have been accused of murdering Matorkay. Tehsildar Mir Ali had submitted his report to the deputy commissioner.

PTM appears to be trying to follow the Trojan horse strategy, although it is becoming an increasingly failed flop show.

As stated by our colleague Adeela Naureen, supporters of the PTM are mostly Afghans settled in KP as well some trolls operating from overseas. These so called ‘activists’ frequently hold secret meetings on their inland and out of country hideouts. The trend visible from the speeches made by the PTM leadership as well as from their social media campaign indicates that it is an agent of chaos. PTM and her social media supporters are pitched against the Government and the state institutions thus trying to create a wedge between people and national institutions.

Interestingly, their campaigns are supported by international media outlets; Indian and Afghan media are actively projecting PTM. This should leave no doubt that PTM has a foreign sponsored agenda.

State of Pakistan has so far exercised extreme caution in dealing with PTM. Line of PTM agitation suggests that they want bloodshed to revitalize their narrative which lost its strength after FATA’a merger with KP. PTM constantly provokes state institutions for a physical response .They need to understand that it is the responsibility of the state to protect the life, dignity, economy and other basic rights of its citizens and Pashtuns equally deserve all this.

Who is supporting PTM?

The so called anti Establishment section of society is finding it an opportune moment to settle scores and vent their resentment. The support to PTM from the SAATH forum, Altaf Hussain and Tag TV run by some Canada based Tahir Aslam Gora is also not surprising, these anti Army forums were precisely constituted to keep targeting the Army, as it gained successes in the long war on terror.

The centre of gravity during conflict is normally the defence force of that county, and if you attack that centre of gravity, you are actually attacking that country, it’s very simple. Husain Haqqani and his sponsored coterie in the SAATH forum has displayed that a nexus exists between Indian Intelligence, so called sub nationalists and ethno- fascists like Sufi Laghari and Dr Taqi as well as PTM, no wonder one of the major part of this flop show of last SAATH forum was ‘an unequivocal support to PTM’.

While taking help from Adeela Naureen, I would like to ask some additional questions from PTM leadership:

Who is targeting the Pashtuns in Afghanistan?

Why PTM is not talking against Coalition Forces, NDS, RAW and Afghanistan Government for killing Pashtuns? A conservative estimate suggests that half a million Afghans lost their lives in this long war and 50% of this loss was suffered by the Pashtun community. ISIS and its alleged supporters RAW and NDS are killing Pashtuns in Afghanistan but PTM or its Afghan supporters are not voicing concerns on Pashtun Genocide? Why a dichotomy?

Another question intriguing my mind is to contrast old stance of PTM Leadership(the trio of Dawar, Wazir and Pashteen) on TTP when FATA and KP were facing terrorism and TTP was playing football with heads of people vis a vis their new stance. What has been the stance of this PTM leadership in past?

If PTM can raise the slogan of Laro burr Yo Afghan, can the Tajiks and Uzbeks of Afghanistan raise the slogans of Laro burr Yo Tajik and Laro burr yo Uzbek, and if these tendencies are allowed to gain currency, what will happen to the geography of Afghanistan.

PTM and her foreign sponsors must realize that Afghan landscape is changing; the recent talks in UAE, KSA and Russia to advance Afghan peace process are setting the trajectory for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. A coalition unity government in Kabul, including all stake holders, and Taliban may be part of this coalition, will usher in a new era of peace. If all calculations come true, we may have such political dispensation in Kabul by mid of 2019, what will happen to PTM support base in Afghanistan? This is a million dollars question.

Post conflict stage is the most difficult challenge for any country and its leadership. Look at Iraq, Libya and even Syria, it takes a long time to regain state control and rebuild the conflict zone.

Pakistan with the grace of Allah almighty has done exceedingly well in stabilizing the situation in the conflict zone of FATA and we are in advanced stage of its integration.

The Government of Pakistan needs to check these unhealthy trends generated by PTM and help build the old FATA into an area of opportunity, some measures are suggested:

Displaced people should be re-settled and economically supported for at least next five years, integrating in the mainstream. FATA mainstreaming has to be executed by dedicated Civil service, Army and a strong Political leadership.

Bashing of armed forces and intelligence agencies has become a common trend, it needs to be checked at all levels, taking help from existing laws and constitutional provisions as well as taking cue from other countries. If the state feels that PTM has collaborated with foreign powers and an act of treason by its leadership has taken place, PTM should be disbanded completely.