Photo: Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) / Facebook
Photo: Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) / Facebook

Redefining citizenship in Pakistan

The PTM movement envisions an alternate relationship between citizen and state.

Hurmat Ali Shah is currently a postdoctoral researcher. He writes on socio-political issues and is particularly interested in core–periphery relations in Pakistan.

Over the past two years, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has defined an alternative future for Pakistan. It has also contributed to the state's anxiety about its own discursive and political power. The Pakistani state has used all the tools in its arsenal, ranging from censorship to arrests and intimidation. The country's military in particular has been accused by the PTM of abductions and extrajudicial killings, and has opened fire on the peaceful PTM protesters.

Upon being released on bail after having spent four weeks in prison on sedition charges, the leader of the PTM Manzoor Pashteen simply said, "Prison was a lot better than my home. Its walls were intact. No one had stolen its iron and bricks. The walls were high. No one entered it without permission and violated its sanctity as is done with our homes. There were no landmines there. It was safe as [opposed to] our homes." The PTM can't be understood without considering the violence that Pashtun lands and bodies across the country have been subjected to post September 11, 2001.

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