Tehrik-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP): An Unholy Threat To Pashtun Society And Culture – OpEd


The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, has unleashed a reign of terror on the people of Pakistan, particularly in the Pashtun regions. Its actions have not only tarnished the image of Pashtun society but have also threatened its culture and traditions. The TTP is not a representative of Pashtun tribal society, as it often claims, but a gang of criminals who have exploited the Pashtun identity to further their archaic and barbaric practices. In this opinion article, we delve into the criminal history and activities of the TTP, examining how it has posed a severe threat to Pashtun society, culture, and the broader stability of Pakistan.

The TTP’s actions leave no room for doubt—it is a gang of criminals responsible for some of the most heinous acts of violence against innocent people in Pakistan. The Army Public School (APS) massacre stands as a haunting reminder of their brutality. But their crimes go beyond that, including the murder of hundreds of tribal elders and Masharan who dared to oppose their militancy. These acts have signaled an unprecedented level of brutality and ruthlessness in Pashtun society, with numerous suicide bombings and attacks on tribal jirgas and Masharan as horrifying testaments to their cruelty.

The TTP has shown a complete disregard for the various pillars of Pashtun society. They have targeted Jirgas, Janazas (funerals), religious processions, mosques, and even festive occasions. These acts are not just violent; they are attempts to undermine the very fabric of Pashtun society and culture. By attacking elders, the TTP sought to replace the traditional tribal system with their militancy, replacing tribal leaders with criminals and rogue elements who would further their hold in the region.

What makes the TTP even more dangerous is its ability to recruit local criminals and turn them into ‘Taliban’ overnight. Individuals like Fazlullah, Mangal Bagh, Baitullah Mehsud, and Hakimullah Mehsud, who were previously ordinary and worthless, found themselves elevated to leadership positions within the TTP. They portrayed themselves as champions of the Islamic cause and Pashtun chieftainship, despite having no formal religious qualifications or chieftain status in Pashtun society. This manipulation of religion and culture for personal gain is a grave injustice.

The TTP has been involved in abductions and kidnappings, targeting wealthy businessmen, aid workers, journalists, and government employees to extort money through ransom. This practice not only puts the lives of innocent Pashtuns at risk but also cripples the economic and social fabric of the region. It leaves people living in fear and uncertainty, a far cry from the values of Pashtunwali. The TTP has used fear tactics to intimidate innocent people in the tribal belt. Their acts of coercion not only undermine the sense of security and freedom that every individual deserves but also lead to a climate of compliance out of fear, rather than genuine support for their cause.

The TTP has shamelessly engaged in drug smuggling and various other illegal and immoral activities to fund their operations. Initially, they imposed taxes on the local population, demanded fees for safe passage, and levied protection taxes on transportation from local mines. These actions clearly demonstrate their lack of concern for the welfare and prosperity of Pashtun society. The TTP has taken pride in the destruction of government property, communication infrastructure, and welfare projects in tribal areas. Their motivation behind these actions is to thwart progress and prosperity in the tribal belt. This senseless destruction not only hinders development but also showcases a complete disregard for the well-being of the local population.

Contravention of Islam and Pashtunwali:The actions of the TTP are not only criminal but also in direct contravention of Islamic principles and the Pashtun code of conduct, Pashtunwali. Their practices are far from the values of justice, hospitality, and respect that are central to both Pashtun society and Islamic teachings. The TTP’s history makes it clear that it is not a Pashtun nationalist movement or a struggle for the imposition of Shariah law. Rather, it represents a Khawariji fitna—a group that seeks power and money through killing and looting their own people. Their actions are far removed from the principles of Islam or any legitimate political or religious ideology.

The TTP, in reality, is the enemy of Pashtun society, culture, prosperity, and development. Its actions have sown fear and discord, causing immense suffering to the Pashtun people. Their attempts to undermine traditional structures and replace them with criminal elements have eroded the rich tapestry of Pashtun society and culture. Despite the adversity brought about by the TTP, Pashtun society has shown remarkable resilience. The people stand with the Government of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the fight against this scourge of terrorism. It is through the dedicated efforts and sacrifices of the LEAs, as well as the unwavering support of the Pashtun people, that this menace can be eliminated.

In conclusion, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is a criminal organization that has wreaked havoc on Pashtun society and culture. Its actions are not only brutal but also contradictory to the principles of Islam and Pashtunwali. The people of Pakistan, particularly the Pashtuns, have suffered immensely due to the TTP’s actions, but they remain resilient and committed to defeating this menace. The fight against the TTP is not just a matter of security; it is a fight for the preservation of culture, tradition, and the very fabric of Pashtun society.

Sudhanshu Roy

Sudhanshu Roy is a student of Asian Studies.

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