The Afghanistan government officially invited Pashtun leadership for the oath taking ceremony of Doctor Ashraf Ghani, which included Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Farhatullah Baber, Afrasiab Khattak and two controversial PTM lawmakers, Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir. The government of Pakistan had no issue with these invitations and allowed all the leaders to take part in the oath taking ceremony at Kabul.
But the controversy surfaced when PTM leaders Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar were reportedly received by Afghanistan’s prime intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS). NDS officials provided a special military helicopter to PTM leaders, whereas, Mohsin Dawar has admitted that Ghani’s oath-taking ceremony was held up following a delay in their arrival to the presidential palace.
Besides, the protocol provided by NDS, the PTM leaders were also spotted in a meeting with former chief of NDS and current vice president of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh, who is famous for his anti-Pakistan stance.
During a gathering at Serena Hotel Kabul, Mohsin Dawar levelled allegations against Pakistan Army. The allegations were inappropriate and was an attempt to appease Afghani establishment. Irrespective of differences, both lawmakers were representing Pakistan and should have kept such matters for domestic consumption. Mohsin Dawar alleged that some quarters in Pakistan were not happy about their arrival to Kabul through Afghan’s Army helicopter. He further claimed that some people in Pakistan were also jealous about his picture with former NDS Chief Amrullah Saleh. He justified his actions by equating it to COAS meeting with Sidhu; an Indian cricketer, completely ignoring Amrullah Saleh enmity towards Pakistan.
This visit has highlighted few important questions. First of all, was the invitation a gesture of commonality between two countries or an attempt to increase ethnic divide within Pakistan. The answer lies in the details of visit, where every comment against Pakistan was received with a loud cheer in the presence of important Afghan government officials.
The second question is; why did PTM leaders malign state institutions on foreign soil for mere appeasement and will PTM be able to maintain its earlier popularity among the tribal Pashtuns? The reality is that both MNAs have lost their credibility and greatly exposed themselves. After the video of Mohsin Dawar speech went viral on social media, the protesters from North Wazirstan took to the streets and chanted slogans against PTM leadership for their anti-Pakistan comments in Kabul. It can be clearly seen that the angry protesters besides chanting slogans against the PTM were also burning the caps of PTM.
The third and most important question is, will PTM facts remain united if its main leadership follows such an irresponsible collision course?
The answer is that according to the sources privy to Manzoor Pashteen, the comments of Mohsin Dawar in Kabul has already created a big rift within PTM leadership. Many PTM leaders are of view that Mohsin Dawar’s comments had greatly harmed the PTM cause and it will have an adverse impact on the survival of PTM.
At the end, it is important to mention that besides PTM leaders, no Pashtun leader made such irresponsible comments in Kabul. PTM leadership needs to realise that it might attract people to its gatherings in Pakistan by following an anti-establishment narrative. However, maligning and marring Pakistan image abroad will do it more harm than good. Pashtuns despite numerous grievances will never tolerate such appeasement and attitude.