The brother of a decorated Pakistan Army martyr, Captain Karnal Sher Khan, has barred Manzoor Pashteen and other Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement members from entering his brother’s shrine in Swabi.
The exchange was captured on video on Saturday. Anwar Sher Khan told SAMAA Digital that he did not permit it because he felt that on one hand the PTM speaks against the army but on the other hand, its members came to offer Fateha at the shrine of its martyrs.
A PTM leader, Saleem Khan, explained that Manzoor Pashteen had gone to offer Fateha as Captain Karnal Sher Khan was a hero of the Pushtun and was considered an icon among the youth. He said that a person inside the shrine was carrying a firearm. Manzoor Pashteen left without arguing with Anwar Sher Khan, he added.
Karnal Sher Khan was martyred in battle with the Indian Army on July 5, 1999. He was posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest military gallantry award.
The PTM is a Pushtun rights group that emerged from a groundswell of support for peace in militancy-hit parts of the region formerly called Fata. It captured the sentiments of people who had suffered violence in what was at least ten years of conflict.
The PTM’s rise coincided with widespread public outrage over the extra-judicial murder in a staged encounter of a Pashtun in Karachi, Naqeebullah Mehsud, in January 2018. Pakhtun in Karachi have long faced discrimination and have been wrongfully stereotyped as terrorists.
The PTM’s leader, Manzoor Pashteen, who is from ex-Fata’s Waziristan district, has also been a vocal critic of state institutions. Young disenfranchised Pakhtun have gathered behind the group. Many of them come from places where the Pakistan Army had to conduct military operations to tackle terrorism. This unavoidably led to displacement and immense hardship for hundreds of thousands of families.
Manzoor Pashteen also paid his respects at the grave of Mashaal Khan, a Mardan university student who was lynched in 2017 over fake blasphemy allegations, and met his father in the morning, Saleem Khan said.
The PTM has been on a door-to-door campaign and is inviting people to its Swabi rally scheduled August 12.