Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen, the chief of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), has said that they’re peacefully demanding rights in Pakistan, therefore, the requests for dialogues has been accepted but the government must show seriousness.
In an exclusive interview with VOA, Pashteen while talking about dialogue with the Pakistani authorities said, “We are ready to sit with government, as the PTM believes in achieving its goals through peaceful means. It has no intention to use violence as a way to achieve its objectives.” The PTM Chief said that they have nothing more than pen and voice which they’ll be using until the goals are achieved.
In June, Pakistan’s defense minister, Pervez Khattak, invited the PTM for talks to resolve all outstanding issues. The PTM has responded that it is ready to hold talks with the government, but added, the government should take the process seriously and asked for some confidence-building measures.
He said PTM hasn’t yet presented the demands before talks but they have spoken of building trust before the start of negotiations as in the past, the government has backtracked from the process and resorted to violence. “We have made it a condition for them to restore the PTM’s trust and release Hanif Pashteen so that we know that you (the government) are serious about talks but so far they have not done anything.”
Pashteen said he wants peace on Pashtun soil as they are itself victims of oppression and hence peaceful protests across the country has been started. He added that the pressure of peaceful protesters will keep the Pashtun homeland safe from wars and would make the army to resolve all the issues.
Pervez Khattak had earlier invited the PTM for talks in January this year after the PTM leader called for unity among Pashtun political leaders for consensus on Pashtun issues at a meeting in Bannu on January 7. The PTM had held some jirgas and talks with the government officials, but the PTM said that the government was not serious in talks and only time has been wasted. Earlier, the Pakistani military and government had accused the PTM of taking money from foreign countries for creating instability in Pakistan but the PTM denied the allegations and asked for evidence.
Regarding the reduction in PTM’s activities, Manzoor said that due to the covid-19 outbreak, the PTM has decided to stop protests to contain the spread of the deadly virus. He said there is no reduction in the strength of the PTM and it would continue its struggle for their rights of the people.