By Zia Ur Rehman
(1) In order to hold political rallies in Pakistan in general and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular, mainstream political parties depend on the Khans (landlords) and contractors to bring people from their villages and pay for their transport. The PTM organised a successful rally without depending on landlords and contractors and instead ran a fund-raising campaign among the youth and professional class, appealing to the Pashtun diaspora.
(2) In Pakistan, the PTM leaders from the beginning complained about the ignorance of mainstream media to cover their protests and rallies. The formation of the PTM is an outcome of the social media campaign that sought justice for Naqeebullah Mehsud who was murdered in a fake police shootout in Karachi. After realizing its importance, PTM organisers found social media–especially Facebook and Twitter provided them an opportunity to mobilize and publicize the movement’s Peshawar rally.
(3) The PTM attracted the disillusioned Pashtun youth, including a sizable number of young women – who were mainly associated with the ANP and the PkMAP – across the country and abroad. It has also become popular among the emerging professional and middle-class of Pashtun society.
(4) Despite the ANP’s efforts to stop their members from joining PTM rallies, many participants from today’s rally were from the ANP. Similarly, several small-scale protests were organised against the PTM, describing the movement’s leaders as agents of Afghanistan and India, but they did not do well.
(5) A new red ethnic cap – popularly known as Mazari cap – and the word ‘Pashteen’, a pronunciation of Pashtun in Mehsud dialect – became popular among the Pashtun youth – mainly because of PTM founder Manzoor Pastheen. Men and women from Pakistan and Afghanistan are sharing their images wearing the cap to show solidarity with the PTM movement.
The writer is a journalist/researcher at The News International and The New York Times World. He is also author of Karachi in Turmoil (2013)