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Pak’s Pashtun body refuses to join PM’s J&K rhetoric

Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement has issued a statement on social media supporting India.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 14, 2019, 06.53 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: Pakistan has not only had limited success in mobilising international opinion against India on the Kashmir issue since August 6 but it has also failed to influence some key domestic constituencies.

They include the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, the principal body representing Pashtuns in Pakistan, which has rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent call to come out on the streets in support of Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir, ET has reliably learnt.

PTM, a social movement for Pashtun human rights based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, is gaining in prominence as a champion of Pashtun rights in Pakistan. It organised a long march on January 26 last year, demanding rights and justice for Pashtuns including in cases of enforced disappearances.

The movement’s leaders have refused to agitate against India on the Kashmir issue despite letters from the ruling administration and have instead issued a statement on social media supporting India for its decisions on Jammu & Kashmir. It pointed out in the statement that Jammu & Kashmir is now “free from shackles of Pak-sponsored terrorism and vested interest groups.”

It called on US President Donald Trump to put pressure on Pakistan to shun violence in J&K instead of offering to mediate between the two neighbouring countries.

PTM leaders alleged in their statement that Islamabad has displaced 100,000 Pashtuns from their native place during the past decade and the ISI was behind the disappearance of 3,300 Pashtun youth in recent times.

The PTM advised Imran Khan to learn from India how to handle the crisis in Kashmir without using fighter jets against its own population, according to the statement.

The Pakistan government, according to people who did not wish to be identified, wrote to the founding members of the PTM, demanding that they agitate against India. But the PTM leaders and other Pashtun leaders residing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa claimed in their statement that during the past 15 years, 362 Kashmiri civilians may have been killed at the hands of forces in Kashmir in comparison to the demolition of 120,000 houses of Pashtuns during the past two decades, leading to the loss of scores of lives.

In recent times, the Pakistan army has destroyed 25 markets of Pashtuns in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), impacting the livelihood of hundreds of locals, the PTM has alleged. The Pakistan military allegedly used F-16 fighter jets against the Pashtuns and bombarded 1,200 schools.

PTM has instead presented a list of demands, including creation of a truth and reconciliation commission for all those killed extrajudicially in alleged fake encounters.

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