ISLAMABAD - Pashtun rights activists and writers have criticised Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) for instigating Pashtun youth to violence.

They while talking to The Nation on Saturday said that during the ongoing Azadi March the PTI leadership is continuously calling the youth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as 'Pashtun tigers, Pukhtana Zmaryan and Pukhtana Prangaan' and all these names are symbols of violence.

On Thursday last, Syed Muhammad Ishtiaq, PTI's MPA and advisor to chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on environment, while appealing to Pashtun participants of Azadi March in their mother tongue said, "I am going to show to Gullo Butts of Punjab how powerful Pathans are. I foresee unpleasant situation but my courageous and dreaded Pashtuns will be in the frontline if the government opts the use of force." The short and fiery speech of Ishtiaq was followed by a Pashtu song "waya waya da Pakhtano sandari waya" (sing the songs of Pashtuns). Despite scorching heat, the emotional Pashtuns, who were resting under the shades of trees, rushed to the stage area and started dancing with the music. The speech and song were enough to give new life and vigour to Pashtun activists who had reached Islamabad city ahead of all other workers of PTI.

According to Pashtun rights activists and writers, the PTI not only wants to implement Western culture in the country but it is also using Pashtun youth for its hidden agendas. The party leadership is "emotionally blackmailing" them, they added. "Imran Khan calls Pashtun youth as 'my KPK tigers' which is a symbol of violence, but the Pashtuns are peaceful and progressive people," said Amjad Shahzad, the founding head of 'Anti-toy Weapons Campaign' -- an NGO working for the de-radicalisation of youth. "I am a progressive writer, composer and singer but I will never support co-dance of girls and boys the way they are doing during Azadi March. All these activities are against our native cultures," he added.

Talking to The Nation, Jamal Shah, a TV actor and social worker, said, "It is the greatest form of hypocrisy, as in the past PTI supported Taliban, the real enemies of Pashtuns who destroyed their culture, life-style and everything. On the other hand the party claims for the rights of Pashtuns. If Imran Khan is sincere, he should work for the betterment of Pashtuns in KP."

Jamal Shah, who has Pashtun family background, further said, "Imran has jeopardised the whole KP for a few of his (Punjabi) cronies like Jahangir Tareen." 

According to Professor Abaseen Yousafzai, a poet and dean of faculty of Pashto at Islamia College University Peshawar, the PTI is using women and children for its "undemocratic and unconstitutional" activities. Pashtun women, according to history, have taken part in battlefields but the way Imran is using the females is an insult to entire women folk. While criticising PTI for using Pashtuns as frontline fighters in case of unpleasant situation, he appealed to Pashtun activists, "It is not Ghairat (vanity) to fight in frontline for unjustified goal." He said that PTI was using Pashtun people under an unknown and unclear agenda and he requested the people of his Pashtun community not to be used by others as "cannon fodder".

When contacted Masoom Hurmaz, the poet who wrote the song 'waya waya,' said, "I wrote the poem for the entire Pashtun nation and it appealed to them that Eid festival should be celebrated with singing and dancing. The song was not particularly for the PTI but it was adopted by Imran Khan's followers as their party song. I am happy over my song's popularity."

However, he said that he would not like the usage of his writings for enticing Pashtuns for violence. "My poetry gives a message of love and peace", he added.