Pashtun Tahafuz Movement leader Arif Wazir’s murder proves once again that Pakistan’s security establishment is not ready to let go of its dangerous games in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area anytime soon. In the eyes of Pakistan’s real rulers, their policy of strategic depth is far more precious than the lives of the true owners of the land, the Pakhtuns.
The Wazir family, like many in ex-Fata, has suffered enough for demanding peace in their area, for calling the ‘good’ Taliban what they truly are, terrorists. Senior PTM leader and vocal critic of the Pakistani’s army policies MNA Ali Wazir has seen 18 people get killed from his family, including Arif. Their crime was that they named the true handlers of these proxies, the Pakistani generals, and protested for a peaceful life from the platform of the PTM.
The PTM is a mass movement that was formed after the killing of a young Pakhtun man Naqeebullah Mehsud by a notorious Karachi cop Rao Anwar, but it gathered mass support as it became the voice of the people from Pakhtunkhwa who had become fed up of the decades of violence in the Pakhtun areas. They believe in peaceful protest but the security establishment was not ready to listen to their just demands and in fact started a crackdown against them. Hundreds of PTM workers have been abducted and even MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir were jailed. The media has also been issued orders not to give them coverage. Despite all that, Manzoor Pashteen, the founder and charismatic leader of the PTM, has continued to urge for peaceful protests and has not resorted to violence even though he has been provoked numerous times.
The Islamic extremists may be considered strategic assets by the generals in their meeting halls in Rawalpindi, but for those who suffer at their hands on a daily basis, they will always remain bad. The PTM has been clear in their demands: they don’t want any proxy wars in their area. For them, all kinds of Taliban are bad and they demand action against all of them.
The generals are aware of this but, sadly, the safety of the locals is not in their priorities. As long as they have a say in the affairs of Afghanistan through these proxies, they will continue to support them without taking into account the suffering of the people of Pakhtunkhwa. After all, what would they do with good sense when they have the ‘good’ Taliban?