The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM)), a non-political movement and self-proclaimed sole representative of the Pashtuns rights was once used to be very popular among the Pashtuns living outside Pakistan and this was the reason that a large number of Pashtuns in Europe, America and other countries of the world were regularly supporting PTM financially for its cause and since it came into being PTM has received millions of Rupees from its supporters outside Pakistan.
However, the foreign aid to PTM from its supporters suddenly stopped which has pushed the movement into a huge financial crisis and has also put a question mark on the status and survival of PTM in upcoming years.
A close aide of Manzoor Pashteen on the condition of anonymity told us that PTM is currently passing through a hard time because the movement is facing many serious issues including financial problems and internal rifts among the top leadership. The source further said that the reason for stopping the financial aid from the PTM supporters living in foreign countries was that many of PTM senior leaders were involved in corruption and embezzlement of funds they received from their supporters outside Pakistan.
The source without disclosing his name further said that Manzoor Pashteen is now planning to hold public gatherings in different districts of the province for the purpose to collect some donations for the movement as they were already facing huge financial crunches.
Furthermore, the so called non-political movement is also facing some internal rifts on many issues as some of its top leadership has developed differences on whether to join Parliamentary politics or remain non-political. Such rifts among PTM leadership had risen even before but, due to interference of the top leadership, the issues were resolved.
However, according to many political experts and sources privy to PTM leadership, the differences have widened more and PTM is likely to face divisions over the same issue in coming days. It is pertinent to mention that in the Pashtun sit-in in Islamabad, Manzoor Pashteen had proclaimed that the movement would remain a non-parliamentary body to avoid controversies among Pashtuns on political grounds. Moreover, sources within PTM have also informed us that PTM’s international supporters are against Parliamentary politics. They perceive that a neutral position could help the movement achieve its long and short-term interests.
On the other hand, in the 2018 general election, two of its top leaders were elected as parliamentarians, violating the same founding principle of the movement. The subsequent development within PTM has led to differences among activists regarding political goals of the movement. Pashteen on many occasions has strongly criticized the two leaders but is still unable to influence PTM activists on this very critical issue.
Another recent issue in PTM which is considered like a bone of contention among the top leadership of PTM especially Manzor Pashteen and Mohsin Dawar is the upcoming Local Government elections as Mohsin Dawar is pushing the leadership of the movement to convince Manzoor Pashteen to announce its participation in LG elections; however, Manzoor and his other close aides are against such stance and do not want to start practical politics.
While commenting on the matter Aizaz Durrani a member of PTM said that the internal rifts and huge financial crisis is likely to affect the narrative of PTM and Manzoor Pashteen in near future because the movement was divided into many parts and every part was trying to influence the other for its personal and political goal.
Talking about the drop in PTM’s international support Aizaz Durrani said that PTM used to be very famous and popular among the Pashtuns living in different countries, but this support has come to its end as most of the PTM leaders have been allegedly involved in corruption and embezzlement in the money sent for PTM’s support by Pashtuns living in USA and Europe.
The development indicates the evolution process within the party and also shows that everything is not as rosy as depicted by its leadership. PTM is extensively criticized by a large population due to its closeness with the Afghanistan government and ethnically exploiting common governance issues.
The question of movement or political party is significant but, if PTM has to survive and retain its support, it needs to base its politics on objectivity. The method of instigation, agitation and politics based on ethnicity has harmed movement pushing away its supporters. It must be noted that many political experts believe that Pashtun Tahafuz Movement is a group of people having different political and personal goals and sooner or later this so-called movement for basic rights will be exposed because it has no clear agenda but to run propaganda against the Pakistan army and security agencies.