The Pushtoon Tahaffuz Movement has been going through internal conflicts and groupings for some time but what eventually lead Mohsin Dawar to form a new party was disagreements on the future of the movement and its nature. Will it be a political party and participate in parliamentary politics, or continue being a resistance movement? The disagreements became so strong that different meetings would be held to accommodate different leaders.
The new party was announced by Mohsin Dawar at a meeting held at Professor Ismail’s house. It was attended by political workers with progressivist leanings from across the country. In a statement, Dawar said that the meeting was held after consultations with political leaders and workers. He added that consultations are underway for naming the party, its organising committee, and manifesto.
The founding members include Afrasiab Khattak, Professor Ismail, Advocate Fazal Khan, Bushra Gohar, Jamal Dawar and others. Pashteen’s supporters, on the other hand, include workers mostly on the local and regional level.
Disagreements between Dawar and Pashteen were seen when, in a DattaKhel rally, Dawar had said that the Afghan government, too, is asking Afghan Taliban to choose parliamentary politics. To this, Pashteen had replied that Ashraf Ghani is merely asking the Taliban to listen to what the public wants, and said that PTM will remain a non-parliamentary party.
PTM workers divided
Supporters of Dawar and Pashteen are busy criticising each other on social media.
We wish you the best and hope that those in the business of spreading hate will mend their ways, a social media user Hayat Parighal said. He added that everyone has the right to choose a path which does not lead to a clash between institutions.
PTM member Khan Orakzai said that everyone has the right to form a [political] party, and termed the debate on the nature of party as meaningless. He said that this debate will end now, and members will have clarity on what their end goal is.
User Majeed Mehsud, though, feels disappointed. He said that many people had high hopes from Dawar and expected him to “do something for their people”. What does Dawar have to say to them now, he asked.
Another PTM member Usman Wazir termed it a self-serving decision, and said that it was PTM that gave them influence and popularity.
Dawar still a PTM member
Dawar said that PTM’s demands are right but he and his allies needed a platform for parliamentary politics, which was not possible with PTM. He said that it was decided from its inception that PTM will be a non-parliamentary movement. “This is why, after much thought, we formed a new party.”
Commenting on rifts in the movement, Dawar said that the same was said when some PTM leaders contested elections but everything went back to normal after some time. PTM’s constitution says that a member of any party can become a PTM member, and the only condition is that they cannot hold a PTM office.
“I formed PTM, I cannot quit it,” he said. “PTM is a separate
movement while the new party has its own goals.” He said that he has been
associated with politics his whole life and PTM wasn’t the first movement he
joined. Dawar said that other nationalist parties have failed to play their role.
Will Ali Wazir also join his party? Dawar said that he can
make his own decision and will announce it once he is out of jail.
PTM Karachi organiser Noorullah Tareen told Samaa Digital that PTM since its inception was a non-parliamentary, resistance movement and will remain so.
Tareen said that PTM has members of all political parties from the Pakhtun belt and changing the movement to a political party will affect the PTM’s influence and popularity. He said that its main objective is to solve the issues of people affected by security operations and to restore peace in the Pakhtun belt, especially tribal areas.
Pashteen has congratulated Dawar on forming the new party, Tareen said, adding that their only complaint with him is that he announced it at a time when they are facing several other issues. This is synonymous to dividing the movement, he said.
Tareen said that Dawar has contested elections previously
too, and he was never stopped from doing so. The only condition is that no one contest
election using PTM’s name. Its constitution, that Dawar has signed, says that
it is a non-parliamentary movement, Tareen said.
Will the new party’s formation affect Dawar’s relations with PTM? It will depend on Dawar and his supporters because we have never stopped any political party’s worker from becoming a PTM member, and the same holds for Dawar, said Tareen.