Comments Against PTM Beyond Authority, says Pakistan Bar Council
ISLAMABAD: After the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the apex body of lawyers Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has also spoken in favour of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).
The PBC condemned the latest press conference of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG regarding PTM and termed it an intrusion in the authority of civil government.
“The remarks of the DG ISPR regarding [the] activities of a specific political party being beyond his authority and not in accord with constitutional provisions rather amount to intrusion in [the] authority of a civil government and that being so is condemnable,” said PBC Vice-Chairman PBC Syed Amjad Shah in a statement.
He said, “Pakistan, being a democratic republic is supposed to be governed and run under the constitutional mandate which specifically determines and prescribes the role and duties of different organs of State.”
“It is, therefore, the responsibility, under the Constitution, of the Executive to speak about activities of a political party and take an action against it if such activities are found against the interest and sovereignty of the State,” the statement adds.
“Any other institution, in no way, is authorized under the Constitution, to comment upon and take action in that regard,” said Shah.
The ISPR DG in his press conference had accused the PTM of receiving funding from Aghanistan’s NDS and India’s RAW for agitations in Pakistan and against Pakistan Army.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had said that the Pakistan Army wanted to make every effort to resolve the issues faced by Pashtuns in the tribal areas, but the manner adopted by the PTM to voice such grievances would no longer be tolerated.
Addressing a wide-ranging press conference at the General Headquarters in which he talked about the recent tensions with India and the issues of national security, the head of the military’s media wing said, “We want to do everything for the people [of tribal areas], but those who are playing in the hands of people, their time is up. Their time is up.”
“But the instructions of the army chief will be fully followed. People will not face any sort of problem and neither will any unlawful path be adopted,” he said, suggesting possible action against the PTM. “Everything will be done lawfully.”
“You have enjoyed all the liberty that you wanted to,” he said, addressing the PTM leadership.
PTM is a rights-based alliance that, besides calling for the de-mining of the former tribal areas and greater freedom of movement in the latter, has insisted on an end to the practices of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and unlawful detentions, and for their practitioners to be held to account within a truth and reconciliation framework.
“I met with [PTM leader and MNA] Mohsin Dawar, and they had three demands: They said that mines and unexploded bombs still exist [in tribal areas] ….. Their demand was genuine, we created 48 teams and 45 per cent of these areas were cleared. [As many as] 101 casualties of the Pakistan Army also occurred in those areas while clearing them of those mines. We let those casualties happen as they happened in the line of duty.”
“Their [PTM’s] next demand was about clearing away check posts. Pak Army has lost thousands of soldiers at these check posts.”
“[The issue of] missing persons was their third demand [and] they created a list of those missing persons. The list has shortened to 2,500 cases today and the [missing persons] commission is working day and night to resolve those cases.”
“These demands were not even their [PTM’s] demands, the demands are of the people that live there,” he added.
“On the PTM website, they have got a number that states the amount of funds they have collected from Pashtuns around the world. But tell us how much money did you get from the NDS (Afghan National Directorate of Security) to run your campaign? How much money did RAW (India’s Research and Analysis Wing) give you for the first sit-in in Islamabad?
“[Superintendent of Police] Tahir Dawar is killed in Afghanistan, in what capacity did PTM talk to the Afghan government, and say that the [Pakistani] government should not be handed the body and the body should only be given to the Dawar tribe?” he questioned.
“Why did NDS give you funds for Arman Loni’s funeral and the sit-in that followed? If you have these funds, why do you not use these funds for the development?”
“When Arman Loni died, funeral prayers were offered for him in Afghanistan. But how is it that when 10 policemen lost their lives trying to protect 800 students giving police entry exams [in Balochistan], you did not go to the namaz-i-janaza for those 10 men. And no namaz-i-janaza was held for those 10 men in Afghanistan.”
“When Loni died, the Afghan prime minister gave a statement in his favour and you [PTM] endorsed it.”
“I would like to ask the PTM to provide me another list — besides the one of the missing persons — of all the strength of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that exists in Afghanistan, so that I could tally the two to see if any of the missing persons are actually sitting there [in Afghanistan].”