Washington, DC – Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) organized an official launch event at the iconic National Press Club on October 31, 2021. Under the cloud of COVID-19 pandemic, more than 50 participants representing among others Pashtun, Baloch, and Sindhi diaspora, were seated under strict social distancing conditions and there was minimal one to one interaction.
Speaking via Zoom. Abdullah Nangyal, PTM forefront founding member stressed the need for peace in Afghanistan and the neighboring Pakistan areas. He said, “the peace in Afghanistan and Pakhtunkhwa-Pakistan is inextricably linked to each other. There cannot be peace in Pakhtunkhwa without peace in Afghanistan.”
Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen, another founder PTM leader said, “I want to give the message of unity in political struggle, we’ve bigger goals to achieve through PTM and that can only be possible if we can as a united front.”
“PTM is an anti-war movement, we are demanding a truth commission to investigate the war on the Pashtun Land, to pin responsibility on those responsible for bloodshed, enforced disappearances and landmines cultivated during this war. The Taliban have marked their return in the Pashtun belt, they are regrouping and attacking the locals. We demand peace for our land” said Mohsin Dawar, another founder and stalwart of the PTM.
The other prominent speakers of the event were Rasool Khan, Habib Waziri (Pashtun Tahafuz Movement), Sufi Munawar Laghari (Sindhi Foundation), Nabi Bakhsh Baloch (Baloch National Movement).
Gulalai Ismail told the audience that the state authorities, instead of curbing terrorism, are using regressive anti-terrorism, cybercrime and sedition laws to curb voices of dissent in Pakistan.
Muhammad Rasool pinpointed that the war economy of Pakistan has destroyed the lives and economy of the Pashtuns across the Durand Line, and the rogue powers have to be held accountable.
Speaking to IAT, Puneet Ahluwalia, a rising star of the Republican Party (GOP) and leading contender for the elected post of Lt. Governor of Virginia state welcomed the PTM USA launch announcement as a “pragmatic attempt to bring attention to the US leadership and political elite including opinion makers to the plight of Pashtuns and other ethic minorities in Pakistan.”
Ahluwalia, who also belongs to South Asia Minorities Alliance Foundation (SAMAF) noted that “SAMAF is diligently working on issues of religious freedom and minority rights for all in the region. We strongly believe the path is through effective dialogue.”
PTM is a civil rights movement that emerged in Pakistan in response to State-enforced terrorism and human rights abuses of Pakistan’s army and intelligence agencies in the Pashtun Belt of Pakistan including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killing, and landmines.
PTM is a non-violent movement which demands formation of a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ to investigate the war crimes committed against Pashtuns in the past two decades (after 9/11).