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Time is up for PTM, warns DG ISPR

RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday issued a stern warning to Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), saying that time is up for PTM.

Addressing a media briefing, the DG ISPR said that Pakistan Army wanted to resolve the issues faced by Pashtuns in tribals areas, but that the manner adopted by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) to voice such grievances would no longer be tolerated.

“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,” Maj Gen Ghafoor said, referring to the PTM.

He said that the instructions of the army chief will be fully followed. He added that people will not face any sort of problem and neither will any unlawful path be adopted, suggesting possible action against the PTM.

Addressing the PTM leadership the DG ISPR said: “you have enjoyed all the liberty that you wanted to.”

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.

The ISPR chief individually responded to the demands made by the PTM at its rallies and meetings.

“When we took action against the TLP (Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan), people said that why is action not taken against PTM as they speak up too much as well.

“The first person to engage with them [PTM] was me. I was told to engage with them by the army chief and I was given one order by the army chief: ‘Do not use a harsh hand with them.’

“I met with [PTM leader] 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 checkposts. Pak Army has lost thousands of soldiers at these checkposts.

“[The issue of] missing persons were 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.