The Voice of Karachi chairman Nadeem Nusrat has strongly condemned the allegations of Pakistan Army against Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), saying, the country’s military is a national security institution, not a court of law and that it has no legal or constitutional mandate to brand a “genuine grassroots movement as anti-state.”
Director-General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-General Asif Ghafoor, while addressing a news conference on June 4, said the PTM members were inciting anti-state sentiments.
The VOK chairman said that Pakistan’s Punjabi-dominated military establishment has a long history of branding genuine grassroots movements of country’s oppressed ethnic minorities as “anti-state.” It creates this false pretext to justify brute use of force against these movements.
Terming the remarks as an “insult” to tens of millions of Pashtuns who are “staunch supporters” of the PTM, Nusrat, in a statement, said, “Without any legally permissible evidence, a fair trial and a court verdict supporting his position, DG ISPR’s allegations are nothing but vicious propaganda against a legitimate organization that represents millions of Pashtuns.”
Nadeem Nusrat further said that DG ISPR’s statement looks even “more irresponsible” given the fact that there is substantial presence of Pashtu-speaking low-level officers and soldiers in the army.
The statement noted that alienating Pashtuns and branding their legitimate movement anti-state will create serious restlessness among Pashtu-speaking officers and soldiers.
“Commenting on the DG ISPR’s allegations about the role of social media and the coverage of PTM in international media, Nadeem Nusrat added that Pakistani military establishment has already stopped Pakistani print and electronic media from covering the events of PTM. Now the DG ISPR is attempting to intimidate the foreign media and social media activists and wants them to stop covering the events of PTM.”
According to the statement, Nusrat condemned the killings of peaceful PTM activists in WANA, South Waziristan at the hands of the state-sponsored Taliban.