The PTM: Litmus Tests? – OpEd


The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), a nonviolent organization has survived after many hurdles. The first and foremost impediment was within the party structure, the second was the arrest of Ali Wasir, its major figure and popular crowd puller, and third was its bifurcation when the national democratic movement (NDM) led by one of the proponents of the PTM Mohsin Dawar was formed. But still, the PTM has many litmus tests ahead. 

1. Although, the organization has two prominent figures who have been leading it in the form of Manzoor Pashteen and Ali Wazir, but there is still uncertainty about more leadership as to who would lead the movement in the absence of these two leaders. The tug of power even within local organization is at its peak. History testifies without a leading figure the fate of movements, revolutions, organizations, and even parties is dismal. This leadership crisis will have severe implications on the movement. Manzoor Pashteen must pay heed to it.

2. Though, the PTM is a non parliamentary organization where it sympathizers are from all walk of life including different political parties, still it has huge crises of organizational setup. I personally know that many of its central, provincial, and district members who have proper designations of the PTM belong to other nationalist parties. This is catastrophic.

3. The PTM has been leading in broking the shackles of conservativism in the Pashtun politics when its leading members were women who played admirable role at the beginning in cementing the organization. For instance,  women like Gulalai Ismail, Bushra Gohar, Sana Ijaz, and Wrranga Luni were in the front of resistance. Though, Gulalai Ismail and Bushra Gohar have parted their ways and have joined the NDM but, the silence of Sana Ijaz and Wrranga Luni, their non participation, and sidelining have resulted in many questions as to why they are reticent and are not in the mainstream of the organization. Hopes must be alive with respect to women participation in politics from the platform of the PTM.

4. Many designates of the organization have been using social media in an inappropriate manner. They have been naming and shaming those whosoever positively criticize. They have been even abusing the dissenters. Such tactics will avail nothing rather a bad reputation of the leadership. They have even set aside the legacy of Manzoor Pashteen who has been againt using such words. Will Manzoor Pashteen be successful to formulate a mechanism of using social media for its workers? It is a huge question mark.

The PTM has succeeded in creating conscious among the common Pashtun. It has seen many rise and fall but it is still a strong voice in the Pashtun mainland. There is a dire need of introspection within the organization in the sphere of leadership crisis, women participation, organizational and disciplinary setup. Will Manzoor Pashteen and Ali Wazir lend an ear? The Litmus test of their leadership continues.

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai is a M.Phil scholar and writes as a freelance columnist.

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