PTM has Won the War of Narratives Against Skeptics

manzoor

The skeptic says,

PTM is an anti-Pakistan movement engineered by the “enemy” and that Manzoor Pashteen is the agent of RAW and NDS.

But, the skeptic relies only on accusations. They don’t provide evidence in support of these allegations. According to the skeptic, PTM is anti-Pakistan just because it is criticizing the army and its spy agencies for human rights violations against Pashtuns.

Their this argument is the most outlandish.

The skeptic does not substantiate their claim as to why is PTM a foreign-funded conspiracy. They don’t say exactly how RAW and NDS support it? The blames are based on conjectures.

Then, the skeptic asks,

Where was Manzoor when the Taliban controlled South Waziristan? Where was he when the APS school children were murdered?

PTM’s leadership and supporters have given befitting responses to these and countless other funny questions.

Manzoor was a young boy when violence by the Taliban wrought havoc in his home.

When the time came, it was violence both by Taliban and Pakistan army that forced Manzoor to initiate a civil rights movement, first by the name of Mehsud Tahafuz Movement, which turned into the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement at the beginning of last year.

PTM’s narrative is based on facts which defy the possibility of alternative facts that the skeptic falsely claims to possess.

After Naqeebullah Mehsud’s killing in a fake police encounter, PTM exposed the epidemic of extrajudicial killing of 440-plus innocent people just by one police officer, Rao Anwer in Karachi. There could be more which we don’t know of yet.

Reuters says that at least 1,200 (although PTM fears the number to be much higher) people have gone missing and there are 5,000 victims of landmines in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). A few weeks ago, the young Pashtun activist Alamzeb Mehsud went missing for highlighting the plight of the missing persons and their families and the landmine victims.

6 million people from FATA have been displaced due to 10 military operations in the last decade. Schools, bazaars and homes in FATA have been destroyed during military operations.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, from 2005-2016, 82 percent of casualties from terrorist violence took place in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. This is close to 42,000 deaths in a decade in the predominantly Pashtun populated regions.

PTM has brought a plethora of stories of misery and pain from a place that until last year was shrouded in mystery. The Pakistani Media had no access to it for a decade. The only reporting on operations and the situation there came straight from Pakistan army, which claimed to have had cleaned the area from terrorists.

But the story that Pashteen has told the world has refuted the army’s claim of successful counter-terrorism operations. As journalist Umer Ali rightly said, the state is afraid of PTM because “as a movement against state terrorism, it has essentially rendered Pakistani state’s logic behind the war on terror ineffective. How can you justify a war when the people it is supposed to protect accuse you of committing similar atrocities?”

The skeptic in the State, rather than talking to PTM, has repudiated its claims. It has used force, intimidation and violence to silence its workers. The movement’s leaders and supporters are routinely harassed, disappeared, put behind bars and even killed. Last week, the State police allegedly killed a PTM leader Arman Luni in northern Balochistan.

The use of force in response to questions by peaceful protestors means there are no answers with the State. If there were answers, it may not have used violence to deal with PTM protestors. But in this very extremely jingoistic and violent approach of the State lies the victory of PTM’s narrative.

International human rights organizations and the world know that PTM is in the right whereas the State has lost its moral ground because of crackdown on civilized dissent and arbitrary use of force. PTM’s resistance in the future must remain non-violent, and it should keep challenging the State in the war on narratives.

A Native American proverb says,

“Those who tell the stories rule the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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